Lady Bulldogs Return To Action Against Illinois
Dec. 27, 2013
Lady Bulldogs Back In Action
The No. 19-ranked Georgia Lady Bulldogs return to action following a weeklong break when they host Illinois on Saturday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum. The contest will tip at 4:00 p.m. ET and will be televised regionally by CSS and also available on espn3.com.
Georgia is 11-1 on the year and looking to bounce back following a 61-58 setback at Rutgers last Saturday. The Lady Bulldogs trailed 59-52 with 22 seconds left before a pair of Shacobia Barbee 3-pointers closed the gap to 59-58 with seven ticks remaining. Following a pair of Scarlet Knight free throws, Khaalidah Miller's 30-foot attempt to tie the game at the buzzer drew front iron.
The loss ended both the seventh-best start in program history and the 20th overall winning streak of 10-plus games in UGA annals.
Individually, Tiaria Griffin leads a quartet of double-digit scoring averages for the Lady Bulldogs at 13.9 ppg. Barbee (12.0 ppg), Miller (11.3 ppg) and Erika Ford (10.1 ppg) also chip in points at a double-figure clip. Barbee is Georgia's top rebounder at 8.5 rpg.
Illinois arrives in Athens with a 7-5 record, with two of those losses coming to ranked foes (Colorado and North Carolina) and two more to teams receiving votes in this week's polls (Arizona State and Georgia Tech).
Illinois features a potent offensive attack with four players posting double figures nightly. Amber Moore leads the Illini with a eye-catching 19.0 ppg scoring average, followed by Jacqui Grant (13.3 ppg), Ivory Crawford (12.7 ppg) and Sarah Hartwell (10.2 ppg). Grant's 6.8 rpg tops Illinois' efforts on the boards.
Keeping an eye on...entering today's game:
Khaalidah Miller is...
Quoting Coach Landers...
On the challenges Illinois presents...
On finishing non-conference play against Rutgers and Illinois...
Series History against the Illini
Georgia and Illinois split their previous four meetings, with each team holding serve on its home floor.
A year ago to the day in Champaign, the Illini upset No. 6 Georgia 70-59 to snap the Lady Bulldogs' 12-game winning streak to open the 2013-14 season.
Georgia rallied from an 18-point first-half deficit and tied Illinois twice in the second period before falling to the Illini at Assembly Hall.
Georgia, which entered the game averaging 13.2 turnovers per game, gave the ball away 26 times, 16 of those in the first half.
Back-to-back threes from Amber Moore ignited a 12-1 Illinois run that put the Illini up 24-12 with 9:54 left in the first half. The lead grew to 31-13 before Georgia rallied. Miller scored seven points in a 13-2 surge that helped close the gap to seven at the intermission.
Georgia eventually tied the contest twice, lastly at 53-53 with 6:27 left.
A pair of Penn three-point plays - the second of which fouled out Jasmine Hassell with 4:36 left - helped Illinois reestablish a 61-57 lead. The Illini scored five more unanswered to put the contest out of reach.
In the most recent meeting in Athens on Jan. 4, 2001, freshman Christi Thomas returned from a four-game hiatus due to a slight bout with mononucleosis to score 24 points in a decisive 100-59 victory. Coco Miller chipped in 23 points for the Lady Bulldogs, who opened up a 50-20 halftime lead and cruised thereafter.
Last Time out...
Khaalidah Miller's 30-foot, 3-point attempt to tie the game drew front iron at the final horn, thwarting a furious Georgia rally and preserving a 61-58 upset for Rutgers over the 16th-ranked Lady Bulldogs at The RAC last Saturday.
The Lady Bulldogs trailed 59-52 following a Kahleah Copper lay-up with 37 seconds remaining. Shacobia Barbee 3-pointers with 21 and seven ticks left pulled Georgia within one.
Tyler Scaife made two free throws with six seconds on the clock to push the margin back to three before Miller's buzzer-beating attempt to force overtime rimmed off.
Barbee finished with a season-high 18 points, 17 of those coming in the second half. Miller chipped in 11 points and Krista Donald grabbed a game-high 11 boards.
The end of the game wasn't the Lady Bulldogs' only rally. Rutgers raced to a 9-0 lead as Georgia struggled to get anything going offensively. The Lady Bulldogs turned the ball over on their first seven possessions and did not even attempt a shot until the 15:41 mark of the first half.
"I was obviously disappointed with the way we started the game," Andy Landers said. "We dug ourselves a deep hole, but we fought out of it and after that opening series played reasonably well."
Georgia entered the game averaging 15.0 turnovers per game but committed 14 in the first half alone, which led to 13 Rutgers points.
All SEC from here on out
Saturday's game against Illinois represents the Lady Bulldogs' final non-conference game.
Georgia begins Southeastern Conference play with a challenging stretch of five games against teams that are currently a combined 50-9 on the season. The Lady Bulldogs open league action at Vanderbilt (10-2) before hosting Tennessee (10-1), traveling to Missouri (11-2) and entertaining Texas A&M (7-4) and Arkansas (12-0).
Lady Bulldogs hit "Magic Number"
Georgia has reached the 80-point plateau four times this season and, in the process, improved perhaps the greatest statistical indicator other than wins and losses.
The Lady Bulldogs are now 429-6 when scoring 80 or more points during Andy Landers' 35 seasons in Athens. That equates to a winning percentage of 98.6206896.
Georgia scored 80-plus points in three consecutive outings against Belmont, Kennesaw State and Lipscomb, the first time UGA has done so since the first three games of 2007-08.
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.
The Atlanta native has since moved up to No. 31 among Georgia's career scoring leaders.
Miller used a 20-point performance against Georgia Tech to pass Anne Marie Armstrong at No. 34, supplanted 1996 National Player of the Year Saudia Roundtree at No. 33 during the George Washington game, inched ahead of Megan Darrah to No. 32 versus Kennesaw State and best Kara Braxton at Rutgers.
Miller's ascension could become even quicker soon.
Miller now has 1094 points for the Lady Bulldogs and enters the Illinois contest 17 points from No. 30 Pam Irwin-Osbolt, 21 points from No. 29 Carla Green (who is now Dr. Carla Williams and Executive Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator for the UGA Athletic Association) and 24 points from No. 28 Cynthia Collins.
UGA Equals Seventh-best start
The Lady Bulldogs' 11-0 start represented the 20th double-digit overall winning streak in the program's history and also equaled the 2001-02 team for the seventh-best start in the program's history as outlined below.
Hempe outscores Owls In first half
Merritt Hempe not only bettered her career high in the first half alone against Kennesaw State, she also outscored the Owls as a team, 14-11, in the period.
Hempe collected 10 points in the first 7:30 of the game by going 3-of-5 on field goals and 4-of-4 on free throws. She bettered her previous career high - 13 points against both Mercer and Belmont this season - at the 1:42 mark of the first half and scored more points (14) than minutes played (13) in the half.
Hempe eventually finished with 18 points in just 19 minutes of PT versus the Owls.
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 versus the Blue Hose. She and Coco Miller are the only two freshmen in Lady Bulldog history to start their debut and play the entire game.
Halle Washington became No. 74 on Georgia's freshman starter ledger five games later 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 507 weeks ranked
Since 1981-82, the Lady Bulldogs have been included in 507 of 583 weekly Associated Press polls, or 87.0 percent of those released.
Of those weeks, Georgia was featured in the top-10 of 268 polls, 46.0 percent of the rankings released during that span.
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