SEC Tournament Second Round
No. 10 seed Georgia vs Tennessee No. 2 seed
Friday, March 6 at 7 p.m. ET
Verizon Arena (18,000) in Little Rock, Ark.
TV: SET Network; Paul Sunderland, play-by-play; Carolyn Peck, analyst; Steffi Sorensen, reporter
Radio: Georgia Bulldog Radio Network (AM 960 The Ref in Athens & 103.7 FM from Gainesville); Jeff Dantzler, play-by-play
[su_spacer size=”40″] Starting 5
• UT leads the series with UGA 47-15, including a 13-3 mark at neutral sites
• UGA is one win shy of both its 30th 20-win season under Andy Landers and its 900th all-time victory
• In UGA’s last two wins, Tiaria Griffin is averaging 19.0 ppg, and Krista Donald is averaging 13.0 rpg
• Injuries, illness and suspensions have forced 62 DNPs for UGA during the 2014-15 season
• UGA snapped an eight-game losing streak – its second-longest ever – with last Sunday’s win at Florida
[su_spacer size=”40″] Keeping An Eye On…Entering Today’s Game:
• 4 3-point FGs from No. 8 Janese Hardrick among UGA’s career leaders
• 5 3-point FGs from No. 8 Kedra Holland (1995-96) among UGA’s season leaders
• 4 3-point FGAs from No. 6 Cori Chambers (2005-06) among UGA’s season leaders
• 206 3-point FGAs from No. Kedra Holland-Corn among UGA’s career leaders
[su_spacer size=”40″] Lady Bulldog Basketball is…
• 1 win from the program’s 900th victory
[su_spacer size=”40″] Andy Landers is…
• 6 victories from his 950th win as a collegiate head coach
[su_spacer size=”40″] Millennium point watch…
• Tiaria Griffin is 139 points from 1,000
• Erika Ford is 152 points from 1,000
[su_spacer size=”40″] Lady Bulldogs Face Tennessee In SEC Tournament Quarterfinals
The Georgia Lady Bulldogs will face the No. 5-ranked Tennessee Lady Volunteers on Friday in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament. The contest will tip at 7 p.m. ET in Verizon Arena in Little Rock, Ark.
Georgia improved to 19-11 with yesterday’s 75-64 win over Missouri. While the Lady Bulldogs have won back-to-back contests, their record is a long way from the 17-3 mark they had entering the first of two regular-season matchups with Tennessee.
Following a Jan. 22 upset of No. 10 Texas A&M, Georgia lost at Tennessee in the first “L” of an eight-game losing streak – the second-longest in school history. The Lady Bulldogs snapped that skid last Sunday in the regular-season finale at Florida.
Georgia’s misfortunes during the losing streak are outlined later in these Game Notes as “Dissecting A Losing Streak.”
Tiaria Griffin and Krista Donald have played the biggest roles in ending the turnaround. Griffin scored a game-high 17 points in Gainesville and followed that with 21 points against Missouri. Donald has been a beast on the boards in both outings, hauling in 11 rebounds versus the Gators and collecting a season-high 15 against the Tigers.
Griffin is Georgia’s active scoring leader at 11.4 ppg, while Donald is the top active rebounder at 6.9 rpg.
Tennessee is 25-4 on the year and the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament.
The Lady Volunteers sport a trio of double-figure scorers in Ariel Massengale (11.4 ppg), Cierra Burdick (11.0 ppg) and Bashara Graves (10.3 ppg). Graves averages a team-best 6.6 rpg.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Quoting Coach Landers
On The Victory over Missouri…
“I said it early in the year, this group has some resolve about them, even in the games we’ve lost. I think that we’ve learned some lessons throughout the year about hurting ourselves and how not to and how to make plays and escape what have been treacherous situations.”
On Georgia’s Current Status As a Team…
“We’ve been playing three weeks without our starting ‘3,’ our starting ‘4’ and our starting ‘5.’ Today (against Missouri) you saw how much we missed Kris because her presence was incredible today. Merritt has been out for three weeks with mono. We didn’t complain about any of this when we were going through it. What you have now is a team whose younger players have improved. What happened during that period, those kids grew up. They had to grow up. I think that’s what you saw today. The younger kids have grown up. Veterans understand what needs to be done. I think there’s a confidence that we know who we are now. We reinvented ourselves. It took a while. We were painful. But we’re pretty good.”
On Should UGA’s Close Games While Shorthanded Matter to the NCAA…
“That’s up to them. It doesn’t matter what I think. Three fourths of the people read whatever you write don’t care what I think. That committee, I’m not going to have any influence on them. We know going in you have to do what you have to do. Right now we know we need to win basketball games to get in the tournament. We’re comfortable with that. This is the bed that we made for ourselves.”
[su_spacer size=”40″] Series History vs. Tennessee
Tennessee owns a 47-15 lead in the series with Georgia, including a 13-3 edge in neutral site matchups.
Tennessee and Texas A&M are the only SEC teams to own a winning record versus the Lady Bulldogs.
On the flip side, UGA’s 15 victories over Tennessee represents the second-most by any program…tying Maryville College and trailing only 17 wins by Louisiana Tech.
In the most recent meeting just eight days ago in Athens, Georgia dropped a 70-59 decision to No. 6 Tennessee.
Tennessee made 54.3 percent of its shots from the field, the first team to connect on more than half of its field goals against Georgia this season.
“Tennessee really did shoot it well,” Andy Landers said. “They shot the ball well, but we defended reasonably well, too. They shot a few of those shots in spite of being defended well. So, you give them credit for shooting the ball well. I think defensively, we did a pretty good job. They were just red hot.”
Trailing by 12 at the half, Georgia cut into that margin several times. The Lady Bulldogs were able to close the lead to 48-44 with 4:40 left following a Halle Washington free throw. That capped a 5-0 run during which Georgia missed three free throws that could have cut it to a single-digit difference.
A 3-point shot by Jordan Reynolds with 3:47 left sparked the Lady Vols to a 7-2 that gave Tennessee its largest lead of the day at 70-57 with 55 seconds remaining.
[su_spacer size=”40″] The Lady Bulldogs and Lady Vols also met earlier on Jan. 25 in Knoxville. In a game of spurts and surges, No. 5 Tennessee outscored No. 22 Georgia 15-6 over the final 5:51 en route to a 59-51 win.
Both teams put up runs with double-digit advantages in each half.
After Tennessee led 11-5, a 17-3 spurt put Georgia up by eight. The Lady Vols countered with a 14-0 run and led 30-25 at halftime.
The Lady Bulldogs held Tennessee scoreless for more than eight minutes during a 10-0 run to open the second stanza. The Lady Vols finally scored at the 11:48 mark and regained a 42-35 edge two and a half minutes later.
The Lady Bulldogs led for the last time at 45-44 with 7:01 left, but a three-point play by Isabelle Harrison with one second left on the shot clock on Tennessee’s next possession opened the decisive surge.
Georgia played the final 22:42 without Shacobia Barbee after she fractured her right leg late in the first half and did not return.
“The kids took the challenge at halftime,” Landers said. “I think they knew that they were going to have play it out without ‘Cobi.’ They came out, sparked themselves and went on a terrific run.”
[su_spacer size=”40″] The Lady Bulldogs and Lady Volunteers last met in the postseason in the quarterfinals of the 2011 SEC Tournament, with Tennessee securing an 82-58 win at Bridgestone Arena.
Jasmine Hassell poured in a game-high 20 points to lead Georgia, while Meighan Simmons paced Tennessee with 18 points.
Tennessee scored the game’s first nine points over the opening 3:48.
The lead bulged to 17 points three times before the half, lastly at 35-18 before the Lady Bulldogs scored the period’s last four points before intermission.
Georgia pulled within 10 on a three-point play by Hassell to open the second-half scoring but got no closer. Tennessee led 46-34 at the 15:47 mark but then used a 7-0 run to extend that margin to 19.
[su_spacer size=”40″] UGA’s SEC Tourney History
The Lady Bulldogs sport a 46-31 (.597) all-time record in SEC Tournament play and won tourney titles in 1983, 1984, 1986 and 2001 UGA is the No. 10 seed for the first time ever.
Georgia’s record versus each league school play can be found in the next column.
[su_spacer size=”40″] UGA in the SEC Tourney
School Rec. Last
Alabama 7-1 W, 73-66 in 2010 1st
Arkansas 3-0 W, 63-44 in 2001 SFs
Auburn 2-3 L, 47-75 in 1997 QFs
Florida 2-0 W, 76-72 in 2004 QFs
Kentucky 6-2 L, 38-60 in 2013 SFs
LSU 6-3 W, 71-53 in 2013 QFs
Ole Miss 6-3 W, 87-65 in 2005 QFs
Miss. St. 1-2 L, 52-67 in 2010 QFs
Missouri 1-0 W, 75-64 in 2015 2nd
S. Carolina 2-2 L, 48-67 in 2014 QFs
Tennessee 3-9 L, 58-82 in 2011 SFs
Texas A&M 0-0
Vanderbilt 7-6 W, 53-43 in 2015 2nd
[su_spacer size=”40″] Last Time Out
Tiaria Griffin scored 21 points and Krista Donald grabbed 15 rebounds to lead the Georgia Lady Bulldogs to a gutty 75-64 SEC Tournament win over Missouri on Thursday.
Georgia used an early 10-0 run to grab a 13-7 lead and withstood several rallies by the Tigers. The Lady Bulldogs never relinquished the lead the rest of the way, even though Missouri made it a one-possession game six times in the second half.
“I said it early in the year, this group has some resolve about them, even in the games we’ve lost,” Andy Landers said. “I think that we’ve learned some lessons throughout the year about hurting ourselves and how not to and how to make plays and escape what have been treacherous situations.”
The Lady Bulldogs controlled the scoreboard much of the day.
Missouri jumped out to a 7-3 lead less than three minutes into the game. A Griffin 3-pointer with 16:08 on the clock pulled Georgia within a point and opened up the 10-0 run that covered 4:44.
Georgia started the second half quickly and regained a 38-29 edge, leading to a Missouri timeout at the 17:56 mark.
The Tigers then embarked on a an 8-2 run to pull within 40-39. A pair of Erika Ford free throws followed by a Donald tip-in pushed the margin back to five at 44-39.
Missouri made it a one-possession game again at 44-41, 46-44 and 56-54. A Morgan Stock 3-pointer rimmed out with 4:07 left and Griffin and Ford jumpers quickly gave the Lady Bulldogs breathing room at 60-54.
Down the stretch, Georgia made 12 straight free throws, a large chunk of the Lady Bulldogs’ 26-of-29 effort from the line. The Lady Bulldogs lead grew to 74-62, the largest of t;he night, icing the game with 34 seconds remaining.