Jasmine James has averaged 13.3 ppg in six NCAA Tournament games for UGA.
March 16, 2012
Date: Sunday, March 18
Tipoff: 12:05 p.m. ET
Location: Tallahassee, Fla.
Arena: Donald L. Tucker Center (12,100)
* ESPN 2; Justin Kutcher - play-by-play, Nell Fortner - analyst
*Georgia Bulldog Radio Network (103.7 FM in Gainesville) Jeff Dantzler - play-by-play
*UGA leads 2-0, including a 75-60 win in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament in Trenton, N.J.
*UGA is making its 29th NCAA Tournament appearance, which ranks No. 2 nationally
* UGA is 17-3 in "first-round" - round of 64 and round of 48 - games in NCAA Tournament competition
Georgia opens NCAA Tourney
For the 29th time in the 31 editions of the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship, the Georgia Lady Bulldogs saw their name appear when the bracket was released on March 12.
The Lady Bulldogs' 29 NCAA bids rank second nationally. And UGA has made the most of those opportunities.
Georgia also is among the nation's top-5 programs in NCAA Tournament games played (80), NCAA wins (52), "Sweet 16s" (19) and Final Fours (5). Top-10 listings in each of those categories can be found on Page 5.
Fourth-seeded Georgia will open NCAA action on Sunday, March 18 when the Lady Bulldogs face 13th-seeded Marist in Tallahassee, Fla. at noon ET on ESPN2. Fifth-seeded St. Bonaventure will face 12th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast in the other first-round matchup at the Donald L. Tucker Center. Sunday's winners will meeting on Tuesday at 7 p.m. for the right to advance to the Raleigh Regional.
The Lady Bulldogs are 22-8 overall and finished 11-5 and third in the Southeastern Conference this season. Georgia is currently ranked No. 17 and No. 21 ESPN/USA Today and Associated Press polls, respectively.
Marist also sports a rich NCAA Tournament history. The Red Foxes have earned bids to eight of the last nine NCAA Tournaments (missing out only in 2005).
Make it 18 straight for UGA
Georgia has now received bids to each of the last 18 NCAA Tournaments, beginning with the Lady Bulldogs' 1994-95 Final Four season.
That represents the fourth longest active streak in the nation.
During that span, UGA has has compiled a 34-17 (.667) record in NCAA play and advanced to:
12 "Sweet 16s" (1995-96-97-99-00-03-04-05-06-07-10-11);
Six "Elite Eights" (1995-96-97-99-00-04);
Three Final Fours (1995-96-99);
The 1996 NCAA title game;
Series history vs. Marist
Georgia is 2-0 all-time against Marist, winning contests during the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons.
The Lady Bulldogs defeated the Red Foxes, 79-62, in the initial matchup in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on Dec. 21, 2004. Georgia used an 11-2 run to push a five-point lead to 14 with 3:57 left.
Tasha Humphrey led the Lady Bulldogs with a double-double of 26 points and 10 rebounds, while Elmsford, N.Y., native Cori Chambers - playing in front of a host of family and friends - added 20 points on 8-of-9 FG shooting.
The following season, Georgia beat Marist, 75-60, in an NCAA Tournament first-round game contested in Trenton, N.J.
Wade Trophy finalists Sherill Baker and Humphrey led the Lady Bulldogs in that outing. After six lead changes in the opening minutes, an Alexis Kendrick three put Georgia up for good at 19-17.
Humphrey scored a game-high 23 points, while Sherill Baker chipped in 20 and nine steals. In the process, Baker broke both Georgia's NCAA Tournament single-game and the SEC's career steals records.
Those Lady Bulldogs went on to defeat Hartford in the second round before falling to Connecticut, 77-75, in the the "Sweet 16."
Quoting Coach Landers...
On making the NCAA Tournament field...
"Just making the Tournament is an accomplishment. It's always a goal when you play at Georgia to play in the NCAA Tournament. Making it in is great and having a four-seed is even better. At this point, we're just excited and anxious and ready to get going with it."
On the Lady Bulldogs' season...
"This is a good basketball team. We have some good wins and we don't have any bad losses. It's a team that's been very consistent and at the end of the season won six out of seven. We played well late, we were consistent all year long, we played a good schedule, we finished third in the SEC and we played well despite a lot of injuries. I thought we were solid."
On the facing Marist...
"In years past, Marist has been a very, very strong, well-coached and disciplined basketball team. We played them up there several years ago and had to play very, very well to win. We played them in the NCAAs the next season and again it was a very hard-fought basketball game. One thing I can tell you without ever looking at a tape is that Marist is a basketball team that won't beat themselves and you have to be very good when you play Marist."
Balanced attack I: The "O"
The Lady Bulldogs' lineup sports four players averaging double digits in scoring, both overall and in Southeastern Conference action.
Overall, Jasmine Hassell paces Georgia at 13.2 points per game, while Khaalidah Miller contributes 12.1, Anne Marie Armstrong adds 11.6 and Jasmine James chips in 10.5.
In SEC action, Armstrong led the way at 13.1 ppg, followed by Hassell at 12.3, Miller at 11.1 and Meredith Mitchell at 10.1.
"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."
Balanced attack II: The "O"
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.
Balanced attack III: The "O"
The aforementioned seven Lady Bulldogs have produced a combined 98 double-digit outings in 2011-12.
Georgia has produced three or more double-figure individual tallies in 24 of 30 games to date.
On 11 occasions, four or more players popped for 10 or more.
Five Lady Bulldogs scored in double-digits in outings against No. 6 Kentucky and at Alabama.
Balanced attack IV: The "O"
Georgia's offensive balance during 2011-12 extends past the Lady Bulldogs' individually to UGA's team point production by period.
Of the Lady Bulldogs' 2052 total points, 1025 were tallied in the first halves and 1027 were notched in the second stanza.
In SEC play, Georgia's 1034 points included 519 and 515 in the first and second halves, respectively.
Balanced attack V: The "D"
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 NCAA 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 2.6 spg), Khaalidah Miller has 56 steals and Mitchell sports 54.
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.
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.
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.
Injuries, illnesses and even dental procedures have forced Lady Bulldogs to miss a combined 164 individual days of practice. As a point of reference, Landers estimates a season usually includes approximately 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.
An extremely abridged recap of each Lady Bulldog's individual setbacks this season 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."
Board battle indicator goes awry
Georgia's SEC Tournament loss to South Carolina marked the first time during the 2011-12 season that the Lady Bulldogs outrebounded their opposition and lost.
Entering the matchup with the Gamecocks, Georgia was a perfect 16-0 when winning the battle on the boards...and 6-7 when the opponents outrebounded the Lady Bulldogs.
Georgia secured a +5 rebounding margin against South Carolina, collecting 38 boards to USC's 33.
Quartet honored by SEC
Four Lady Bulldogs earned post-season SEC accolades.
In balloting of league coaches, Anne Marie Armstrong was tabbed first-team All-SEC and named to the league's All-Defensive team, Jasmine Hassell was voted second-team All-SEC and Erika Ford was included on the All-Freshman unit.
The AP named Armstrong and Hassell second-team and Khaalidah Miller honorable mention All-SEC.
"I'm very pleased we had players recognized," Andy Landers said. "I'm even more pleased with our basketball team and what it has been able to accomplish. Any time you have a successful team, a byproduct is that individuals are going to be recognized for what they have done. We have been a very balanced basketball team all year. I'm glad that coaches can't vote for their own players. I would have struggled with that decision because all of our players have had outstanding years and contributed greatly to our team's success."
Trio earns SEC weekly honors
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 connecting on 11-of-16 field goals 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.
FOW honors roll in too
Both of the Lady Bulldogs' first-year players 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 Southeastern Conference games only, Anne Marie Armstrong led the league with nine top-10 listings among the 13 categories kept as outlined in the next column.
Armstrong was 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 the first player to wear "No. 10" since Saudia Roundtree won 1996 National Player of the Year honors. Roundtree, a native of Anderson, S.C., was in Columbia cheering on her alma mater when James topped the millennium mark.
James enters the NCAA Tournament tied with Roundtree at No. 31 among UGA's career scoring leaders with 1,038 points - 26 shy of the current No. 30 mark of 1,064 points by Megan Darrah from 2005-08.
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, Hassell now has a team-high 23 double-figure outings during 2011-12.
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 on Feb. 5 due to an injury suffered early in that contest.
Miller joins season threes top 10s
Khaalidah Miller joined the Lady Bulldogs' top-10 single-season leaders for three-pointers made and attempted.
Miller moved onto both ledgers during a Feb. 6 game at Alabama and enters the NCAA Tournament at No. 7 in makes and No. 4 in takes
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 year.
Ball earned a spot on the roster of the WNBA's Charlotte Sting before a knee injury ended her professional career.
20 wins...yet again!
With 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 fifth with 27 20-win efforts.
Iron women to the end
Anne Marie Armstrong, Jasmine James, Khaalidah Miller and Meredith Mitchell played all 40 minutes against No. 25 South Carolina on Feb. 16.
All told, five different Lady Bulldogs - add Erika Ford - have played 40 minutes 24 times this season.
Conversely, only six opposing players have played every second of a game.
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.
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.
Following 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.
The most "W's"...ever!
The combined coaching victories on the sidelines for the Jan. 29 game between Georgia and Tennessee represented the most in the history of women's college basketball.
At that point, Andy Landers and Pat Summitt had recorded 871 and 1,086 wins, respectively, during their careers. That added up to a staggering 1,957 total victories.
The previous record for combined "Ws" on the sideline was 1,948. That tally accumulated both when the Lady Bulldogs traveled to Knoxville to play Tennessee on Jan. 5 this season and when the Lady Vols faced Rutgers on Dec. 13, 2011 and Summitt (then 1,076) coached versus C. Vivian Stringer (872).
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 with a Jan. 22 victory over Ole Miss.
Landers' comments prophetic?
Andy Landers said he believed playing two non-conference contests without Jasmine James would ultimately benefit the Lady Bulldogs.
James missed contests against Appalachian State and Furman after spraining her right knee during the Montana State game at the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic. She played through the injury and finished the game.
"I think it's going to be invaluable," Landers said. "Having to play without Jasmine James has changed the way some other people play. I think the willingness to handle the basketball and do certain things against pressure has made them and made us better."
Landers' comments rang true when James "tweaked" the same injury with 6:02 remaining in the first half at Mississippi State on Jan. 15. UGA led by seven at that point but won by 17.
Former teammates face off
Lady Bulldogs played former prep teammate six times this season. The reunions occurred when the Georgia played Georgia Southern, Mercer, Auburn, Mississippi State (twice) and LSU.
A half-dozen former teammates met at Georgia Southern - Westlake's Tamika Willis and Danielle Spencer; Chattahoochee's Erika Ford and Kayla Upchurch; and Jefferson's Brittney Crews and MiMi DuBose.
Willis also faced Westlake alum Sharnea Boykin at Mercer.
Khaalidah Miller and Auburn's Morgan Jennings played two seasons together at Frederick Douglass High in Atlanta.
Mitchell and Mississippi's Brittany Young were teammates for two seasons at Midfield (Ala.) High, while Mitchell and LSU's Courtney Jones were classmates there.
The book on boarding: Chapter 1
Freshmen Krista Donald and Erika Ford were active on the glass in Georgia's final two non-conference games.
Donald grabbed 13 rebounds against Appalachian State.
Ford secured a career-best and game-high 10 rebounds versus Furman en route to a double-double.
Ford offered a simple explanation for her rebounding prowess.
"I just try to go to where there isn't anyone else and hope that the ball comes to me," Ford quipped.
Andy Landers confirmed Ford's assessment of effective rebounding...but gave her a little more credit.
"I call it `going where they ain't'," Landers said. "It sounds simple but it's easier to rebound if you're not behind someone. Erika should give herself a little bit more credit, though. She tracks the ball pretty well. She and Donald both have a pretty good GPS when it comes to rebounding."
Jones plays, gets hurt again
Ebony Jones saw her first - and only - action of the season at Mercer on Dec. 6.
Jones missed Georgia's first eight games while recovering from a posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injury in her left knee. She scored on a nifty catch and layup in transition that supplied the Lady Bulldogs' final points of the night.
Jones then sprained her right ankle in practice Dec. 16 before departing for the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic and did not dress there.
She was in uniform for the Appalachian State and Furman games but did not play. Jones' ankle improved but swelling to her knee returned since the holiday break and she has not dressed out for any SEC game.
Freshman starters sorority grows
Krista Donald and Erika Ford became the 68th and 69th freshmen to start for Andy Landers during his 33 seasons in Athens.
Current senior Meredith Mitchell, juniors Anne Marie Armstrong, Jasmine Hassell and Jasmine James and sophomore Khaalidah Miller also started in their initial campaigns.
UGA signs five standouts
The Lady Bulldogs inked a quintet of prep standouts during the NCAA early signing period on Nov. 9-16.
In succession, Georgia signed: Shacobia Barbee, a 5-11, guard/forward from Riverdale High in Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Marjorie Butler, a 5-7, guard from the Webb School in Knoxville, Tenn.; Kaelyn Causwell, a 6-4, forward, from the Wesleyan School in Norcross, Ga.; Merritt Hempe, a 6-2, forward from Stafford High in Fredericksburg, Va.; and Tiaria Griffin, a 5-9, guard from Hattiesburg (Miss.) High.
Barbee, Butler, Griffin and Hempe are ranked as four-star prospects by ESPN, while Causwell is listed as a three-star.