Georgia vs. Alabama – Game Notes

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Georgia vs. Alabama – Game Notes

Shacobia Barbee (20)
(Photo by John Kelley)

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Lady Bulldog Game Notes

Georgia vs. Alabama

Sunday, January 4, 2015 – 1:00 PM

Stegeman Coliseum (10,523) in Athens, Ga.

TV: SportSouth; Jenn Hildreth, play-by-play; Brittany Jackson, analyst

Radio: Georgia Bulldog Radio Network (AM 960 The Ref in Athens & 103.7 FM from Gainesville); Jeff Dantzler, play-by-play

Starting 5

• UGA leads the series with Bama 36-10, including a 16-3 record in Athens

• Last season, Bama snapped UGA’s 23-game winning streak in the series dating back to 1999

• After starting the season 12-0, UGA has dropped its last two outings

• UGA was one of this season’s last six undefeated Division I wbb teams when it lost at Seton Hall on 12/28

• UGA’s 11/29 win at Tennessee Tech made Andy Landers just the seventh college hoops coach – men’s or women’s – with 850 wins at one D-I school

Keeping An Eye On…Entering Today’s Game:

Millennium point watch…

• Shacobia Barbee is 203 points from 1,000

• Erika Ford is 239 points from 1,000

Lady Bulldog Basketball is…

• 8 wins from the 900th victory in program history

Andy Landers is…

• 18 victories from his 950th win as a collegiate head coach

Georgia Host Bama At Stegeman

The No. 19-ranked Georgia Lady Bulldogs return to what will hopefully be the friendlier confines of Stegeman Coliseum on Sunday afternoon to host Alabama at 1 p.m. After racing to a 12-0 start this season, Georgia has dropped back-to-back road decisions at Seton Hall and Mississippi State.

Georgia suffered its initial loss of the season last Sunday when Seton Hall topped the Lady Bulldogs, 70-51. That ended both the fifth-best start in the program’s history and the 21st double-digit winning streak during Andy Landers’ 36 seasons in Athens.

On Friday, Mississippi State used a 15-2 run early in the second half to break open what had been a tight, one-possession game en route to a 64-56 decision.

Shacobia Barbee leads the Lady Bulldogs in scoring at 12.7 ppg, while Tiaria Griffin is contributing 11.3 ppg. Krista Donald is Georgia’s top rebounder at 7.6 rpg. 

All told, eight different Lady Bulldogs – Barbee, Marjorie Butler, Donald, Mackenzie Engram, Erika Ford, Griffin, Merritt Hempe and Pachis Roberts – have combined to score in double figures 38 times for the Lady Bulldogs.

Alabama travels to Athens with records of 11-5 overall and 0-1 in SEC play. The Crimson Tide led No. 11 Kentucky 36-28 at halftime on Friday before losing 78-66. Headlining Alabama’s victories is a Dec. 7 win over No. 12 Nebraska. 

Ashley Williams and Hannah Cook both average double figures in the scoring column for the Tide at 14.4 and 11.1 ppg, respectively. Briana Hutchen leads Alabama on the boards at 7.1 rpg.

Quoting Coach Landers…

On The Opening Of Southeastern Conference Play…

“It’s always exciting to start the conference because you know you’re going to going to be met head-on with a challenge on every front – offensively, defensively and in special situations. You know you’re going to be going to places where it’s difficult to play. There are the entertaining and terrific rivalries that exist within the league. It just brings into focus a totally different dimension.”

On Preparing Newcomers For Playing In The SEC…

“You hope that the pre-conference schedule has prepared them some, but I think it’s probably more along the lines of throwing a kid into a swimming pool and telling them to swim. There’s nothing quite like it.”

On Friday’s Loss At Mississippi State…

“We played hard and we made some plays and we left some plays on the table. We’ve just got to continue to work hard and grow. We got beat by a good basketball team today. We played well enough to win.”

Series History versus the Tide

Georgia owns a 36-10 lead in its series with Alabama, including a 16-3 mark in Athens. 

The Lady Bulldogs had won 23 consecutive meetings with the Crimson Tide before losing 69-66 in Tuscaloosa on Jan. 26 last season. Prior to that, Georgia last lost to Alabama in 1998 in Tuscaloosa – the freshman season of Coco and Kelly Miller.

Alabama rallied from a 12-point deficit with just over seven minutes remaining to upset the Lady Bulldogs. Georgia led 62-50 following a Krista Donald jumper with 7:57 left. A Khaadijah Carter 3-pointer at the 7:08 mark opened a 19-4 Alabama run down the stretch.

Khaalidah Miller and Shacobia Barbee missed 3-point attempts to tie the game in the final 10 seconds.

In the last matchup in Athens on Jan. 31 two seasons ago, six different Georgia players scored eight or more points in a 65-59 victory over Alabama. Khaalidah Miller and Jasmine Hassell led the Lady Bulldogs with 11 and 10 points, respectively.  

The Lady Bulldogs used a 10-0 run to open up a 14-point lead with just over 12 minutes remaining. Georgia led by as many as 17 points before the Crimson Tide mounted a comeback.  Alabama used an 8-0 run to come within four but failed on four chances to pull closer.

That victory represented the 850th “W” in the history of Lady Bulldog Basketball, making Georgia just the 10th Division I women’s hoops program to reach the milestone.

Last  Time Out

A 15-2 run early in the second half propelled No. 17 Mississippi State past No. 19 Georgia, 64-56, in both teams’ SEC opener on Friday afternoon in Starkville.

Monticello, Miss., native Tiaria Griffin led Georgia with 13 points, 11 in the first half. Freshman Mackenzie Engram added 11 points, all in the second half, and a game-high nine rebounds.

Georgia grabbed a 32-31 lead early in the second stanza on a Krista Donald layup before State surged ahead by 12 just 3:48 later.

The Lady Bulldogs cut the margin to single digits several times and were within 56-51 with 3:24remaining. Georgia failed to convert on a chance to pull closer before State closed out the game connecting on 8-of-10 free throws down the stretch.

Lady Bulldog Ties to the Tide

Georgia associate head coach Joni Crenshaw and assistant coach Robert Mosley have very strong connections to the Crimson Tide program.

Crenshaw played for Alabama from 1997-01 and was captain of the 2000-01 squad. She also was associate head coach at her alma mater from 2008-10. 

Crenshaw was a significant contributor to Crimson Tide teams that reached post-season  during each of her four seasons in Tuscaloosa, advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 1998 and 1999 and to the WNIT in 2000 and 2001.

Crenshaw scored 716 points, grabbed 555 rebounds and blocked 103 shots, a tally which ranks No. 4 all-time among the  Crimson Tide’s career leaders.

Mosley was an assistant coach for the Crimson Tide from 2010-12.

Prior to that, Mosley led Ramsay High School in Birmingham to four state championships between 2004-10. During that span, he coached former LSU standout and Lady Bulldog graduate assistant manager Katherine Graham and former Alabama player Kaneisha Horn.

Lady Bulldogs’ Starting Streak

Georgia’s 12-0 start to 2014-15 equaled the 2013 “Elite Eight” and 1995 Final Four teams for the fifth-best start in program history. 

The only better beginnings were: 16-0 by the 2010 “Sweet 16” team; 14-0 by the 1999 Final Four squad; and 13-0 by the 2008 and 1990 Lady Bulldogs, teams which reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

21st Double-Digit “W” String

Georgia’s 69-60 victory over No. 16 Michigan State on Dec. 7 produced the 21st double-figure winning streak in the history of Lady Bulldog Basketball. 

Georgia’s longest string of success covered 20 games in 1985-86. That team beat No. 4 Long Beach State on New Year’s Eve and didn’t lose again until the NCAA “Sweet 16.”

UGA Among Last Unbeatens

The Lady Bulldogs was one of just six remaining undefeated Division I teams when the final horn sounded in their initial loss at Seton Hall on Dec. 28.

The only remaining unbeatens at that point were Akron, Mississippi State, Princeton, South Carolina and Texas.

First To Double-Digit “Ws”

On Dec. 7, the Lady Bulldogs became the first of the nation’s 688 Division I basketball teams – 345 men’s and 343 women’s – to reach 10 victories this season when then No. 19 Georgia upset No. 16 Michigan State.

Shacobia Barbee: Playmaker

Shacobia Barbee’s scoring often gets the headlines, but that’s just part of the story. Barbee has inflicted her influence on both ends of the floor all season. The junior from Murfreesboro, Tenn., leads UGA in scoring (12.7 ppg) and steals (2.6 spg) and ranks among SEC statistical leaders in six categories.

Perhaps Barbee’s best outing came at arch rival Georgia Tech on Nov. 23 when she was stellar from the opening tip to the final horn.

Barbee hit back-to-back 3-pointers that ignited an 11-2 run to put UGA up 13-6. After Tech pulled ahead 25-22 late in the half, Barbee scored five points in the final 56 seconds of the period to put Georgia up at the break.

Throughout the game, Barbee worked the sideline in UGA’s press break and turned long passes into strong drives to the basket. She also made several key defensive plays, none bigger than a steal from Kaela Davis with a minute remaining and Georgia up four.

“Cobi really has a nice understanding of basketball,” Andy Landers said. “She understands how to play it and where the opportunities are, whether that’s defensive opportunities or offensive opportunities. Early, it was good for our basketball team when she hit those threes. She also sensed at the back of the press offense that there were some opportunities…that on the outside lane on the break, they hadn’t quite gotten back. She was a playmaker. She was a defensive playmaker and an offensive playmaker today.”

An Efficient Trio

Georgia’s trio of leading scorers at Mercer on Dec. 4 was extremely efficient with its scoring chances. 

Shacobia Barbee, Mackenzie Engram and Tiaria Griffin all scored 12 points against the Bears. Barbee hit 6-of-9 field goals, Engram made 6-of-8 FG attempts and Tiaria Griffin connected on 4-of-4 FGs, including 2-of-2 3-pointers.

They combined to sink 16-of-21 their shots from the floor, a sizzling 76.2 percent.

Engram vs. Coppin State

Mackenzie Engram accounted for more than half of the Lady Bulldogs made field goals and 3-pointers en route to her career-high 20 points against Coppin State on Dec. 2

Engram was 7-of-13 from the field, a solid 53.8 percent, while the rest of the Lady Bulldog roster was just 6-of-37, a paltry 16.2 percent. While Engram was good on both of her 3-point attempts, Georgia was 1-of-10 from behind the arc otherwise.

Three-quarters of the way through the game, Engram had outscored Coppin State by herself. She recorded her 18th point on a layup in transition with 10:20 remaining that put the Lady Bulldogs up 34-16. The Eagles finally surged ahead of Engram with 7:15 left.

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Greg is closing in on 10 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.