March 1, 2012
Date: Friday, March 2
Tipoff: 9:00 p.m. CENTRAL
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Arena: Bridgestone Arena (17,576)
* FOX SportsSouth; Dave Baker - play-by-play; Van Chancellor - color analyst
* Georgia Bulldog Radio Network (AM 960 The Ref in Athens and 103.7 FM from Gainesville) Jeff Dantzler - play-by-play
* Georgia's Facebook® Page to Feature ESPN3 Player During Championship Week 2012 (blackout rules apply)
* Live Audio Streaming
* UGA leads USC, 32-6 overall and 2-0 in SEC Tournament
* UGA leads UA, 34-9 overall and 7-1 in SEC Tournament
Georgia rolls into SEC Tourney
The No. 16-ranked Georgia Lady Bulldogs travel to Nashville, Tenn., this week to compete in the SEC Tournament at Bridgestone Arena.
The Lady Bulldogs arrive in the Music City as perhaps the league's hottest team. Georgia won six of its last seven outings to finish at 22-7 overall and third in the SEC with an 11-5 mark. LSU also won six of its last seven but lost to the Lady Bulldogs in the regular-season finale.
UGA will open play on Friday evening at approximately 9 p.m. CENTRAL when the Lady Bulldogs face the winner of Thursday's first-round matchup between sixth-seeded South Carolina and 11th-seeded Alabama. FOX SportsSouth will televise Georgia's contest, with Dave Baker and Van Chancellor handling the play-by-play and color analyst duties, respectively.
The Lady Bulldogs sport a balanced offensive attack, with four players averaging double digits in scoring both overall and in Southeastern Conference action.
Overall, Jasmine Hassell paces Georgia at 13.1 points per game, while Khaalidah Miller contributes 12.2, Anne Marie Armstrong adds 11.9 and Jasmine James chips in 10.5.
In SEC action, Armstrong leads the way at 13.1 ppg, followed by Hassell at 12.3, Miller at 11.1 and Meredith Mitchell at 10.1.
Quoting Coach Landers...
On the wide open nature of the SEC Tournament...
"While we have a champion in Kentucky who has played terrific, the separation and the losses tell you that there is not a dominant team. Everybody is competitive. You go back and look at the last two weeks of the regular season and I'd venture to guess that three out of every four games have been decided by less than five or six points."
On the health and strength of his team...
"We do have everyone healthy for the first time in months. That isn't quite to the point where it's going to pay off the greatest benefits, but it is going to pay some benefits right now. To get the great benefit, we're going to need to get more practices and more game in. I think our strength is probably our balance on both ends of the floor. We have good defenders and they defend well together. On offense, I've watched them play 29 games. When we take the floor, I do not know who our leading scorer is going to be. I think that's a good thing.
UGA's SEC Tournament history
The Lady Bulldogs sport a 43-28 (.606) all-time record in Southeastern Conference Tournament action. FYI, the SEC lists UGA as 41-28...we recognize a couple consolation wins in 1981 and 1982 missing from their totals.
Georgia has won four SEC Tournament titles, doing so in 1983, 1984, 1986 and 2001.
The Lady Bulldogs are a No. 3 seed for the seventh time, including being the No. 3 seed from the SEC East in 1983. Georgia also was the No. 3 seed 1989, 1995, 1999, 2001 and 2006. The Lady Bulldogs won the 1983 and 2001 SEC Tournament titles from the No. 3 slot in the bracket.
In 1983 in Knoxville, Georgia dispatched three top-20 teams in as many days - No. 19 LSU, No. 8 Tennessee and No. 15 Ole Miss - to capture its first-ever SEC title. That squad also became UGA's first Final Four team.
In 2001 in Memphis, the Lady Bulldogs topped Ole Miss, Arkansas and No. 15 Vanderbilt (on Kelly Miller's buzzer-beater with 0.8 of a second remaining) to win the SEC crown.
Georgia is 21-9 in quarterfinal round games of the SEC Tournament.
Series history vs. South Carolina
Georgia leads the all-time series with South Carolina 32-6 overall and 2-0 in SEC Tournament play.
On Feb. 16 in Columbia, Anne Marie Armstrong calmly sank a pair of free throws with 4.8 seconds remaining to lift No. 18 Georgia past South Carolina, 61-59.
Jasmine Hassell led Georgia with 18 points and seven rebounds, and Jasmine James became the 32nd Lady Bulldog to score 1,000 points during the outing.
After South Carolina started the game with a trio of threes to go up 9-0, UGA trimmed that to 31-29 at the half.
Georgia took the lead, 34-33, on a James three-point play and built that to a 44-37 edge. South Carolina pulled within two, 52-50, with four minutes remaining, and then tied the game, 59-59, with 12 ticks left on the clock.
Armstrong connected on two free throws with just under five seconds left before the Gamecocks missed a trey at the buzzer.
The Lady Bulldogs and Gamecocks met in the quarterfinals of last year's SEC Tournament, with Georgia securing a 66-34 victory.
UGA put up the game's first seven points, expanded that to a 19-5 advantage and never looked back.
Meredith Mitchell scored what was then a career-high 18 points to lead Georgia, while Porsha Phillips chipped in a double-double 12 points and 14 rebounds. Markeshia Grant's 13 points led South Carolina.
Series history vs. Alabama
The Lady Bulldogs own a 34-9 lead in their all-time series with Alabama, including a 7-1 mark in SEC Tournament matchups.
Georgia has won 21 consecutive meetings with the Tide since 1998.
On Feb. 5 in Tuscaloosa, Jasmine James and Krista Donald scored 18 points each as they led No. 21 Georgia past Alabama, 81-66.
James came off the bench with 17:39 remaining in the first half when Midfield, Ala., native Meredith Mitchell left the game with a knot on her head after a collision diving for a rebound. James missed the previous five games with a right knee sprain.
After Alabama took its only lead at 25-24 with 5:41 left in the first period, Donald connected on a pair of free throws and Donald and Anne Marie Armstrong followed with back-to-back jumpers to put UGA up 30-25.
The Tide pulled within 40-36 early in the second half, but consecutive jumpers by Donald pu the Lady Bulldogs back up with double digits at 46-36.
A balanced attack
Seven different players have paced Georgia offensively this season.
In fact, six Lady Bulldogs did so in the first six games of the 2011-12 campaign. In succession, Anne Marie Armstrong, Jasmine Hassell, Jasmine James, Meredith Mitchell, James/Khaalidah Miller and Erika Ford/Hassell led the Lady Bulldogs during their first half-dozen outings.
Krista Donald joined that ledger of Lady Bulldog leaders when she tied Jasmine James for top scoring honors at Alabama on Feb. 5.
"We're a balanced basketball team," Andy Landers said. "I thought we would be going, and I think we will be all year. I think on any given night, any one of about seven or eight players could step up and be very, very big for us."
A balanced attack: Take II
Georgia players have a combined 95 double-digit outings in 2011-12.
Five Lady Bulldogs scored in double-digits in outings against No. 6 Kentucky and at Alabama.
Georgia has produced three or more double-figure individual tallies in 23 games to date.
On 11 occasions, four or more players popped for 10 or more.
Georgia hitting its "magic number"
The Lady Bulldogs have furthered one of the greatest statistical indicators in any sport eight times this season.
Georgia has scored 80 or more points on eight occasions and improved to 433-7 when hitting that mark during Andy Landers' 33 seasons in Athens.
That converts to a 98.409090909 winning percentage.
Peach State products on display
UGA will undoubtedly face a Georgia native or Peach State prepster during the SEC Tournament.
All told, 10 teams - everyone but Kentucky and Ole Miss - feature a combined 23 players who are from Georgia or played for a high school in the state.
The Lady Bulldogs' roster sports five home state standouts - Anne Marie Armstrong, Brittney Crews, Erika Ford, Khaalidah Miller and Tamika Willis.
South Carolina's roster features a trio of Georgia natives - Fayetteville's Elem Ibiam, Flowery Branch's Courtney Newton ad Decatur's Charenee Stephens.
Alabama's roster includes four Peach Staters - three active players and a redshirt. Aneesah Daniels hails from Decatur, Kyra Crosby is from Powder Springs and Erika Waters calls Lawrenceville home.
A bet's a bet!
PGA golfer and UGA grad Bubba Watson - who is married for former Lady Bulldog Angie (Ball) Watson - served as guest coach for the LSU game and handled timeout calling.
Watson won his seat next to Andy Landers on the bench in a bet last fall when Watson boasted he could easily hit a golf ball from the goal line at Sanford Stadium over the third deck at the opposite end of the venue.
Success meant Watson could be an assistant coach for a Lady Bulldogs' game of his choice this season.
Failure meant Landers would caddy for Watson at a practice round prior to this year's Master's in Augusta.
Watson proved true on his word...and then some. He blistered several balls - including one over an outstretched Landers laying on the ground in front of him - easily out of the Sanford Stadium.
A little more on Angie
Angie Ball Watson was a three-year starter for the Lady Bulldogs and played on teams that advanced to the 1999 Final Four and won the 1997 and 2000 SEC Championships.
A native of Scarborough, Ontario, Ball missed the second half of her freshman year due to a shoulder injury. She blossomed during the rest of her career and averaged 4.7 points as a sophomore and 7.2 as both a junior and senior. The Lady Bulldogs won a school-record 32 games during Ball's senior season.
Ball earned a spot on the roster of the WNBA's Charlotte Sting before a knee injury ended her professional career.
Equal opportunity thieves
Georgia sports four players with 50-plus steals, a first for the Lady Bulldogs since 1982-83.
Meredith Mitchell's career-high six steals against Ole Miss made her the fourth player to top the 50-steal mark.
Entering the SEC Tournament, Anne Marie Armstrong owns a team-best 69 steals on the year, Jasmine James has 59 steals (and the team's best per-game average of 2.7 spg), Khaalidah Miller has 55 steals and Mitchell sports 53.
The last quartet to have 50-plus steals for UGA was Teresa Edwards (70), Janet Harris (61), Cynthia Collins (53) and Wanda Holloway (52) in 1982-83 - the first of Georgia's five Final Four teams.
This marks the third time four Lady Bulldogs secured 50 or more thefts. The 1980-81 team also had four players with more than 50 takeaways.
Trio earns SEC accolades
Jasmine James, Anne Marie Armstrong and Meredith Mitchell were SEC Players of the Week this season.
Jasmine James was selected on Nov. 21 after averaging 13.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.7 steals in wins over Georgia Southern, College of Charleston and No. 23 Southern Cal.
Armstrong was tabbed on Feb. 13 after she scored a career-high 23 points by connected on 11-of-16 shots from the floor and logged a career-high 40 minutes of playing time against Vanderbilt.
Mitchell was chosen on Feb. 27 after averaging 15.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.0 steals in victories over Ole Miss and LSU in her final two games at Stegeman Coliseum. Her 20 points vs. the Rebels were her most ever in SEC play.
This marks the first time since 1999-2000 that three different Lady Bulldogs have been honored as such. That season, four players - Tawana McDonald, Coco Miller, Kelly Miller and "Tweety" Nolan - won SEC Player of the Week.
All told, 22 different Lady Bulldogs have won SEC Player of the Week 43 times since its inception in 1985.
FOW honors roll in too
Both of the Lady Bulldogs' first-year players have secured SEC Freshman of the Week recognition this season.
Krista Donald was named as such on Feb. 6, a day after she posted game-high tallies of 18 points and nine rebounds in a victory at Alabama.
Erika Ford won the accolade on Jan. 2 after averaging 9.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in a pair of wins over Furman and Arkansas.
Nine Lady Bulldogs have captured SEC FOW honors 20 times since its inception in 2006, including Donald, Ford, Jasmine Hassell, Jasmine James and Khaalidah Miller.
Armstrong leads SEC stats leaders
In stats for SEC games only, Anne Marie Armstrong leads the league with nine top-10 listings among the 13 categories kept as outlined below.
Armstrong is No. 3 in steals; No. 6 in rebounding; No. 6 in defensive rebounds; No. 6 in assists; No. 6 in minutes played; No. 7 in scoring; No. 7 in blocks; No. 8 in FG pct.; and No. 9 in assists-to-TOs..
SEC Only Top-10 Stat leaders
|1.||Anne Marie Armstrong, UGA||9|
|2.||Jennifer George, UF||6|
|Glory Johnson, UT||6|
|A'dia Mathies, UK||6|
|Valencia McFarland, OM||6|
|6.||Tiffany Clarke, VU||5|
|Christina Foggie, VU||5|
James tops 1,000 mark
Jasmine James became Lady Bulldog Basketball's 32nd 1,000-point career scorer with 7:42 left in the second half at South Carolina on Feb. 16.
James is 10 points from the No. 31 scoring tally in Lady Bulldog history of 1,038 points by Saudia Roundtree.
Roundtree, the 1996 National Player of the Year, was at the game in Columbia cheering on her alma mater.
Incidentally, James is the first player to wear Roundtree's "No. 10" jersey since 1996.
20 wins...yet again!
UGA's Feb. 16 win at South Carolina, the Lady Bulldogs notched their 27th 20-win campaign during Andy Landers' 33 seasons in Athens...and Landers' 30th in 37 campaigns as a collegiate head coach.
According to us (Georgia includes his three 20-win efforts at Roane State in his career totals), Landers' total of 30 20-win campaigns ranks third all-time.
According to the NCAA (it doesn't count Roane since it's a two-year school), he's now tied for fourth with 27.
Hassell a double-digit fiend
Jasmine Hassell recorded her 20th double-figure performance of the season at South Carolina, the 26th game of 2011-12.
By contrast, Hassell had 20 double-digit outings in 68 games combined during her first two seasons at UGA.
FYI, Hatchell how has 22 double-figure outings during 2011-12.
Miller joins season threes top 10
Khaalidah Miller joined UGA's top-10 leaders for three-pointers in a season at Alabama game on Feb. 5.
With 66 threes to date, Miller enters SEC Tournament three threes shy of No. 6 Kim Berry's total of 69 threes in 1988-89..
J.J. back with a bang
Jasmine James returned to action for the first time in five games to score a season-high 18 points at Alabama on Feb. 5...and followed that with 17 points versus Vanderbilt.
James had been out of action with a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) in her right knee originally suffered in a victory over Montana State on Dec. 20 and then "tweaked" at Mississippi State on Jan. 15. All told, James missed seven games (two more in December) due to the injury.
After a Feb. 2 win over Mississippi State in Athens, Andy Landers said he was expecting to play James in Tuscaloosa. Her insertion came a little earlier than expected, however, when Meredith Mitchell received a nasty knot above her right eye while diving for a rebound at the 17:39 mark of the first half.
Practice time hard to come by
Andy Landers says he can't remember anything like this in his 33 seasons at the University of Georgia.
To date, Injuries, illnesses and even dental procedures had forced Lady Bulldogs to miss a combined 164 individual days of practice. Landers says a season usually includes 25-30 missed practices.
That tally doesn't even include losing 6-4 Marisela Rodriguez before the year due to a pre-existing knee injury.
A brief recap of each Lady Bulldog's setbacks goes like this...
Anne Marie Armstrong - illness and left ankle
Brittney Crews - Illness
Krista Donald - left PCL and dental
Erika Ford - stress fracture in right leg and dental
Jasmine James - right MCL and family funeral
Ebony Jones - left PCL and right ankle
Meredith Mitchell - eye and right ankle
Only four players are yet to miss a workout due to a health condition - Jasmine Hassell, Khaalidah Miller, Tamika Willis and Danielle Bennett.
"We're calling those four our `birthday party ponies,'" Landers quipped. "They're healthy as horses so we ride them hard for two hours every day."
Mitchell's production up in SEC play
Meredith Mitchell's statistical contributions made significant jumps during SEC action.
Mitchell averaged 7.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 13 non-conference games.
Mitchell averaged 10.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg and 2.8 apg in 16 SEC outings...numbers deflated slightly by the fact that she only played two minutes at Alabama before receiving a knot above her right eye diving for a rebound.
Winning season locked up
In the "modern era" of women's basketball - since the NCAA began oversight in 1981-82 - only four programs have posted a winning record every season - Georgia, Louisiana Tech, Tennessee and Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Georgia secured its 33rd straight winning season - a streak that coincides with Andy Landers' arrival - with a Jan. 22 victory over Ole Miss.
Green Bay and Tennessee reached the magic "16" wins on Jan. 19 and Jan. 29, respectively.
La. Tech was 15-12 entering Thursday's game at Fresno State.
Iron women to the end
Anne Marie Armstrong, Jasmine James, Khaalidah Miller and Meredith Mitchell played all 40 minutes against No. 25 South Carolina.
All told, five different Lady Bulldogs - add Erika Ford - have played 40 minutes 23 times this season.
Conversely, only six opposing players have played every second of a game.