Lady Bulldogs Back In Stegeman to Take on Kennesaw State
Erika Ford

Dec. 13, 2013

Georgia Lady Bulldogs (9-0) vs. Kennesaw State (1-7)
Sunday, December 15, 2013 - Tipoff Time: 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Stegeman Coliseum (10,523)
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Erika Ford

Starting five

  • UGA is facing KSU for the first time. KSU is the lone first-time foe for UGA during the 2013-14 regular season
  • With a win, UGA was equal the 1985-86 SEC Championship team for the eighth-best start in program history
  • With a win, UGA would register its 20th 10-game winning streak all-time
  • Two sets of HS teammates will face off today - Wesleyan's Causwell & Blackmon and Riverwood's Almire and Brooks
  • Khaalidah Miller enters the game 1 point from No. 32 Megan Darrah among UGA's career scoring leaders

Lady Bulldogs Back In Stegeman

No. 16 Georgia returns to the friendly confines of Stegeman Coliseum for the first time in 19 days on Sunday afternoon when the Lady Bulldogs host Kennesaw State at 2:00 p.m.

Georgia is 9-0 on the year. UGA christened the 2013-14 campaign with a successful six-game homestand from Nov. 11-26 but hasn't played in Athens since a 74-58 decision over S.C. State on Nov. 26. Since then, the Lady Bulldogs won the Georgia State Thanksgiving Invitational, practiced for an 11-day span during Final Exams on the UGA campus and bested Belmont on Thursday.

Tiaria Griffin leads a quartet of double-digit scoring averages for the Lady Bulldogs at 15.8 ppg. Khaalidah Miller (11.7 ppg), Erika Ford (11.4 ppg) and Shacobia Barbee (10.4 ppg) also chip in points at a double-figure pace. Barbee is Georgia's top rebounder at 8.9 rpg.

Kennesaw State dropped to 1-7 following a loss at Middle Tennessee on Thursday. The Owls' lone victory was a 70-68 win over Tennessee State on Nov. 11.

Kristina Wells leads Kennesaw State in scoring (12.8 ppg), rebounding (8.8 rpg), assists (16) and steals (17), while Deandrea Sawyers also scores in double figures at. 11.4 ppg.

Probable Starters

Georgia Lady Bulldogs Kennesaw State Owls
1 Khaalidah Miller 11.7 5.0 G 15 Bria Young 4.5 2.4
(5-9; Sr.; Atlanta, Ga.) (5-7; Jr.; Suwanee, Ga.)
31 Erika Ford 11.4 5.4 G 42 Deandrea Sawyers 11.4 3.6
(5-9; Jr.; Atlanta, Ga.) (5-8; Fr.; Nashville, Ga.)
20 Shacobia Barbee 10.4 8.9 G 10 Kristina Wells 12.8 8.8
(5-10; Soph.; Murfreesboro, Tenn.) (5-9; Jr.; Douglasville, Ga.)
15 Krista Donald 8.9 6.9 F 30 Aareon Smith 6.6 4.4
(5-11; Jr.; Lake, Miss.) (5-9; Fr.; Louisville, Ky.)
13 Merritt Hempe 6.8 4.2 F 12 Valescia Dixon 5.1 5.6
(6-2; So.; Fredericksburg, Va.) (5-10; Jr.; Jackson, Miss.)

Keeping an eye on...entering today's game:

Khaalidah Miller is...

  • 1 point from No. 32 Megan Darrah among UGA's career leaders
  • 30 points from No. 31 Kara Braxton among UGA's career leaders
  • 3 3-point FGs from No. 4 Kelly Miller among UGA's career leaders
  • 5 3-point FGs from No. 3 Kim Berry among UGA's career leaders
  • 100 3-point FGAs from No. 2 Kedra Holland-Corn among UGA's career leaders

Georgia is a perfect 8-0 on the season to date

Christening the campaign with a six-game homestand which included solid victories over Ohio State and Georgia Tech before defeating George Washington and Georgia State en route to winning GSU's Thanksgiving Invitational.

Tiaria Griffin leads a quartet of double-digit scoring averages for the Lady Bulldogs at 15.0 ppg. Erika Ford (11.8 ppg), Khaalidah Miller (11.3 ppg) and Murfreesboro, Tenn., native Shacobia Barbee (11.2 ppg) also chip in points at a double-figure pace. Barbee is Georgia's top rebounder at 9.3 rpg.

Belmont is 3-6 under first-year head coach Cameron Newbauer, who spent a half a decade as an assistant coach with the Lady Bulldogs from 2007-12.

Jordyn Luffman paces the Bruins both in the scoring column (15.0 ppg) and on the boards (8.0 rpg). Six other Belmont players average between 5.3 ppg-8.6 ppg.

Quoting Coach Landers

On what the focus was during the break from competition...
"We've been able to refocus on our efforts to get better and not just on winning basketball games. We've been able to sort through some of the things that we've been doing and put them in a better perspective as to when, where and why we should be doing those things. As much as anything, mentally we've been able to refresh. Really, we'd gotten to a point where we were just playing games all the time."

On his team's development and performance to date...
"I've been pleased with our attitude and our effort. I've been pleased with the consistency, both individually and as a team. We come in every day with a willingness to do what we need to do and because of that we have improved. Overall, I've been pleased with our guard play. I think we can still get much better in the backcourt. I'm extremely happy that we have everyone back and reasonably healthy. That's probably something that gets lost a bit because we're 8-0. Since we're winning, no one is talking about that. If we would have lost, everyone would be talking about the people we were missing. I've been reasonably pleased with our front line players. I think they know and we all knew before the start of the season that the development of our frontcourt would be a process. Processes can be painful. They haven't performed like they would like to all the time - although I do think Krista Donald has been consistent. They know we're not where we want to be or where we're going to get to, but I have been pleased that they come in every day and fought the fight to get better."

First meeting between UGA, KSU

Today's game is the Lady Bulldogs' first match-up ever against Kennesaw State.

The Owls are the only first-time foe on tap during the 2013-14 regular season for Georgia.

Last Time out...

No. 16 Georgia raced to an 18-0 lead en route to an 81-55 victory over Belmont on Thursday night in Nashville.

Tiaria Griffin paced the Lady Bulldogs with 20 points off the bench, while Khaalidah Miller added 15 points, Merritt Hempe equaled her career high with 13 points and Krista Donald chipped in 10. Shacobia Barbee added a solid linescore of six points, six rebounds and game-high efforts of five assists and four steals.

Donald scored the game's first points on a short jumper just over a minute into the contest and four other Lady Bulldogs scored as Georgia built its 18-0 advantage and held Belmont scoreless for the first 6:22 of the contest.

The Lady Bulldogs pushed their lead to 27 points less than four minutes into the second stanza. Belmont pulled with 18 points with 8:15 remaining, but Georgia responded with a Griffin 3-pointer. The lead topped out at 28 points with less than a minute remaining.

Georgia shot season-best percentages of 58.2 from the floor, 44.4 from 3-point range and 75.0 from the free throw line and also equaled its season high with eight 3-pointers.

From a historical perspective

With a victory over Kennesaw State, the Lady Bulldogs would improve to 10-0.

That would equal the 1985-86 SEC Championship team for the eighth-best start in the program's history. Georgia's best-ever opening was a 16-0 mark in 2009-10.

A victory also would supply the 20th 10-game winning streak in the history of Lady Bulldog Basketball. Georgia's longest string of success covered 20 games by that same 1985-86 squad when Lady Bulldogs defeated No. 4 Long Beach State on New Year's Eve and didn't lose again until the NCAA "Sweet 16."

Another pair of high school reunions

This afternoon, Lady Bulldog will face a former high school teammate for the sixth and seventh times during the 2013-14 season.

UGA's Hannahkohl Almire and KSU's Gratia Brooks were teammates at Riverwood International Charter School in Atlanta. Lady Bulldog Kaelyn Causwell and Owl Taylor Blackmon played together at the Wesleyan School.

Causwell already played against two more former teammates from the powerhouse Wesleyan program - Kendra Talley of Presbyterian and Holli Wilkins from Furman.

Samantha Glodis and Mercer's Precious Bridges played together at Dwyer High in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Pachis Roberts, who is redshirting this season with Georgia after transferring from Syracuse last summer, played with Furman's Brittany Hodges at McEachern High.

Sydnei McCaskill and George Washington's Hannah Schaible were classmates at Dr. Phillips High in Orlando, Fla., where they won three consecutive state titles with the Panthers.

Lady Bulldogs hit "Magic Number"

Georgia scored 80 points against George Washington and 81 at Belmont...and improved perhaps the greatest statistical indicator other than wins and losses in the process.

The Lady Bulldogs are now 427-6 when scoring 80 or more points during Andy Landers' 35 seasons in Athens. That equates to a winning percentage of 98.6143187.

Miller tops millennium, moves up more

Khaalidah Miller became Lady Bulldog Basketball's 35th 1,000-point scorer during the Nov. 19 victory over Furman. She has since moved up to No. 33 among Georgia's career scoring leaders.

The Atlanta native used a 20-point performance against Georgia Tech to pass former teammate Anne Marie Armstrong into No. 34.

Miller supplanted Saudia Roundtree at No. 33 during the George Washington game.

Miller now has 1063 points for Georgia and enters the Kennesaw State contest just one point away from No. 32 Megan Darrah.

A homecoming for Barbee

Thursday's game at Belmont served as a homecoming for sophomore Shacobia Barbee, who is a proud native of Murfreesboro, Tenn., about 30 minutes from Nashville.

Barbee starred at Riverdale High from 2008-12, helping the Lady Warriors to Tennessee Class AAA state tiles in 2010 and 2012 and a runner-up showing in 2011.

Riverdale also finished ranked No. 5 nationally during Barbee's senior year and No. 27 during her junior season.

Barbee was tabbed Tennessee's Miss Basketball for Class AAA as both a junior and a senior and was named The Tennessean's Midstate Player of the Year as a sophomore, junior and senior. In 2012, she was named the all-sports Female Athlete of the Year by the Nashville Sports Council.

Griffin, Barbee earn tourney honors

Tiaria Griffin was tabbed the MVP of the Georgia State Thanksgiving Invitational, while Shacobia Barbee made the all-tourney team.

Griffin scored team-high tallies of 19 and 14 points in victories over George Washington and Georgia State, respectively.

Against Georgia State, Barbee scored 12 points and registered game-high efforts of 14 rebounds, seven steals and six assists.

Freshman Starter sorority grows

Andy Landers has continued his long-standing penchant of starting freshmen.

Sydnei McCaskill got the nod against Presbyterian in the season opener to become the 73rd freshman to start for the Lady Bulldogs during Landers' 35 seasons in Athens and the 23rd to do so in her collegiate debut.

McCaskill not only started but played all 40 minutes. She and Coco Miller are the only two freshmen in Lady Bulldog history to start their debut and play all 40 minutes.

Halle Washington became No. 74 on the freshman starter ledger against S.C. State. Now eight current Lady Bulldogs - senior Khaalidah Miller; juniors Erika Ford and Krista Donald; sophomores Shacobia Barbee, Tiaria Griffin and Merritt Hempe; and McCaskill and Washington - all started as freshmen. Barbee is one of the 23 to start an opener.

Now up to 505 weeks ranked

Since 1981-82, the Lady Bulldogs have been included in 505 of 581 polls, or 86.9 percent of those released. Georgia also has made 268 top-10 appearances, 46.1 percent of polls during that span.



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