Georgia vs. Arkansas: Game Notes

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Georgia vs. Arkansas: Game Notes

Photo by John Kelley
[break] Lady Bulldog Game Notes

No. 22 Georgia vs. Arkansas

Monday, February 9 at 7 p.m. ET

Bud Walton Arena (19,200) in Fayetteville, Ark.

TV: SET Network; Brenda VanLengen, play-by-play; Debbie Antonelli, analyst

Radio: Georgia Bulldog Radio Network (AM 960 The Ref in Athens & 103.7 FM from Gainesville); Jeff Dantzler, play-by-play
[break] [break] Starting 5

• UGA is 29-4 all-time against Arkansas, including a 12-2 mark in Fayetteville

• UGA last four oppoents were top-10 teams – No. 10 Texas A&M on 1/22, No. 5 Tennessee on 1/25, No. 10 Kentucky on 2/1 & No. 1 S. Carolina on 2/5

• Engram became the 75th fresh. to start for UGA under Landers vs. S. Carolina

• UGA is three wins shy of the Lady Bulldogs’ 900th all-time victory

• 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:
[break] [break] Tiaria Griffin is…

• 4 3-point FGAs from No. 10 Pam Irwin-Osbolt among UGA’s career leaders

• 9 3-point FGs from co-No. 10s Angela Puleo (2007-08) and Kelly Miller (1998-99) among UGA’s single-season leaders

• 12 3-point FGs from No. 10 Alexis Kendrick among UGA’s career leaders

Lady Bulldog Basketball is…

• 3 wins from the program’s 900th victory
[break] [break] Andy Landers is…

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

Millennium point watch…

• Erika Ford is 207 points from 1,000

[break] [break] UGA To Face Arkansas On Monday

The Georgia Lady Bulldogs will break from their traditional Thursday-Sunday SEC playing schedule to face Arkansas on Monday evening in Fayetteville. The contest was moved to air live on the SEC ESPN Network.

Georgia dropped to 17-6 overall and 5-5 in SEC following Thursday’s loss to No. 1 South Carolina. The Gamecocks represented the fourth straight top-10 opponent for the Lady Bulldogs, following a victory over No. 10 Texas A&M and eight-point road losses at No. 5 Tennessee and No. 10 Kentucky. That stretch represented the first time UGA has ever played four top-10 opponents in a row.

Tiaria Griffin is the Lady Bulldogs’ active scoring leader at 11.7 ppg. Griffin is averaging 12.2 ppg in SEC play. Krista Donald is UGA’s top rebounder at 6.9 rpg. Georgia lost leading scorer Shacobia Barbee (11.6 ppg) to a season-ending injury at Tennessee on Jan. 25. Barbee fractured her right distal fibula while coming down from a drive to the basket late in the first half. She had surgery on Wednesday, Jan. 28 to repair the fracture.

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 57 times for Georgia during the 2014-15 campaign.

Arkansas is 13-8 overall and 3-6 in the SEC. The Razorbacks enjoyed an open date last Thursday following back-to-back wins over Auburn and Alabama.

Kelsey Brooks not only leads Arkansas but also the SEC in scoring at 16.0 ppg. Forwards Jessica Jackson and Jhasmin Bowen chip in double-digit scoring averages of 13.3 ppg and 11.2 ppg, respectively. .
[break] [break] Quoting Coach Landers…
[break] [break] On The Challenges Of Playing Arkansas…

“Arkansas is solid at each position. I’ve always had great respect for (Calli) Berna. I think she’s as good of a point guard as there is in our league. They’re ‘2’ guard, (Kelsey) Brooks, leads the league in scoring and can hurt you from anywhere on the court. They play three forwards along the front line and that can certainly create some matchup situations as they can all post up, drive by you and shoot the 15 footer. (Jessica) Jackson had a stellar freshman year and can score in a number of ways. (Jhasmin) Bowen is very, very good inside. (Melissa) Wolff has shot the ball extremely well. They’re just very good. I think that they have, as you would expect with a new coach, improved and become more efficient at what they’re trying to do offensively as the season has gone along. They’ve been good defensively against everyone. In their man-to-man, they do a very good job of staying when they need to stay and switching when they need to switch.”
[break] [break] On The Extra Day To Prepare For Arkansas…

“I think it was good for us. I think that we were starting to show some signs of the long season. The extra day allowed us to rest a little bit, it’s allowed us to prepare a little better and it’s also allowed us to look at changes that we needed to make in the absence of (Shacobia) Barbee.”
[break] [break] Series History vs. The Razorbacks

The Lady Bulldogs own a 29-4 lead in their series with the Razorbacks, including an 12-2 mark in Fayetteville.

Last season, Georgia picked up its first conference win in dramatic fashion, defeating Arkansas, 60-58, last Jan. 16 in Athens.

Georgia clinched the game after a thrilling final few minutes that saw the Razorbacks close the gap from 10 points at the 6:09 mark to one with 2:05 left when a Calli Berna 3-pointer made the score 52-51.

Strong defense forced the Razorbacks into several key fouls later on with Shacobia Barbee, Merritt Hempe and Marjorie Butler hitting key free throws down the stretch.

“I laugh when I say this but if they had stepped up a little earlier at the free throw line we might have not needed them to come back so late,” Andy Landers said. “But when the intense heat was on and the clock was running low and we needed points people went to the free throw line and made big baskets.”

In Georgia’s last trip to Fayetteville on Jan. 17, 2013, the Lady Bulldogs topped the Razorbacks 57-53. Shacobia Barbee’s 15 points and 11 rebounds – then career highs – also supplied her first career double-double.

The Lady Bulldogs rallied from a 15-point first-half deficit and trailed by 13 early in the second stanza before outscoring the Razorbacks 36-19 over the final 15:51.

Consecutive baskets by Hassell opened a 14-2 run that pulled the Lady Bulldogs within 36-34 at the 10:33 mark. Arkansas regained a 44-39 lead just 3:20 later, however. Georgia went on top for good on a Krista Donald layup with 5:27 remaining.

The lead eventually grew to eight points as the Lady Bulldogs converted on 7-of-10 free throw attempts in the waning moments.
[break] [break] Last Time Out

No. 1 South Carolina bested No. 22 Georgia 58-35 last Thursday in Stegeman Coliseum.

South Carolina outscored the Lady Bulldogs 21-7 in the final 10 minutes of the half and held a 16-point advantage at the break.

Tiaria Griffin opened the second stanza for Georgia with a quick layup, followed by a jumper from Merritt Hempe. Haley Clark added another basket and two points from the charity stripe, but Georgia continued to struggle in its offensive output, eventually finishing with its lowest point production since a Dec. 2008 loss at Rutgers.
[break] [break] Engram Joins Freshman Starter List

Mackenzie Engram became the 75th freshman to start for the Lady Bulldogs during Andy Landers’ 36 seasons in Athens when she got the nod against No. 1 South Carolina on Thursday.

Engram replaced senior Krista Donald, who was suspended for the contest due to a violation of team rules.

Seven current Lady Bulldogs started as freshmen – seniors Erika Ford and Donald; juniors Shacobia Barbee, Tiaria Griffin and Merritt Hempe; and sophomore Halle Washington. Barbee is one of the 23 to start an opener.
[break] [break] Butler Named To Academic Team

Marjorie Butler was named to the District 4 Capital One Academic All-America team by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) on Feb. 5. She is now among 47 finalists for the national Academic All-America team.

Butler sports a 3.82 GPA and is double-majoring in biology and exercise & sport science. She is on track to graduate with two degrees in May 2016 and then plans to attend medical school. Butler has been named to the Dean’s List four semesters at Georgia and is a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society.

“This honor is well deserved,” Andy Landers said. “Marjorie has excelled on the court and in the classroom and is the epitome of what a student-athlete represents. I think it speaks volumes about her commitment to her academics that she’s achieved the GPA she has while taking biologies and chemistries and physics, arguably the toughest of the toughest courses on our campus.”

Butler has started all 23 games for the Lady Bulldogs this season and leads the team in minutes played (29.6 mpg), assists (3.7 apg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5). She scored a career-high 13 points at No. 10 Kentucky.

In statistical leaders for SEC games only, Butler ranks No. 3 in minutes played (35.1 mpg), No. 4 in assists (3.8 apg) and No. 4 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3).

The national first-, second- and third-team Capitol One Academic All-America honorees will be named later this month. District 4 encompasses schools in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico and South Carolina.

Three Lady Bulldogs have earned national Academic All-America accolades four times. Bernadette Locke was a second-team selection in 1981; Kelly Miller was a third-team pick in 2000 and a second-team honoree in 2001; and Coco Miller was a third-team choice in 2001.
[break] [break] Barbee Out For Season

Shacobia Barbee underwent successful surgery on Wednesday, Jan. 28, to repair a fracture of her right distal fibula suffered in a Jan. 25 game at Tennessee.

Barbee’s recovery will include six weeks of immobilization followed by a slow return to activity. She will miss the remainder of the 2014-15 season but is expected to make a full recovery well before next season.

“We’re pleased to hear that Shacobia’s surgery went well and now look forward to facilitating a full recovery,” Andy Landers said. “She will be missed, but I am confident that everyone on our team will contribute to help us in the areas where ‘Cobi’ had demonstrated tremendous success.”
[break] [break] Engram, Griffin Earn SEC Accolades

Tiaria Griffin and Mackenzie Engram received SEC honors in January. Griffin was Player of the Week on Jan. 12, and Engram was SEC Freshman of the Week on Jan. 26.

Griffin scored a team-high 16 points in wins over Missouri and Auburn while hitting 50.0 percent of her 3-pointers and 87.5 percent of her free throws. With Georgia trailing 47-46 at Auburn with 3:44 remaining, Griffin hit back-to-back 3-pointers in a span of 55 seconds to put Georgia ahead for good.

Engram averaged 15.0 ppg and led Georgia in scoring in outings against No. 10 Texas A&M and No. 5 Tennessee. She connected on 68.8 percent of field goals, 66.7 percent of 3-point attempts and 100 percent of her free throws. Engram entered the week averaging 7.3 points per game, but more than doubled that production to up her average to 8.0 ppg.

Engram is among 11 Lady Bulldogs who have earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors a combined 22 times since the award’s inception in 2005-06.
[break] [break] Multi-Game Losing Skids Rare

This is just the 10th time Lady Bulldogs have lost three consecutive games during Andy Landers’ 36 seasons and 1,153 games coached for Georgia.

On seven of those occasions, Georgia successfully snapped the skid in its next outing.

Last season, the Lady Bulldogs opened SEC play with four straight losses before securing a two-point victory over Arkansas.

The only previous losing streak longer than that came in 2008-09, when the Lady Bulldogs lost five straight conference dates between Feb. 5-22.
[break] [break] A Couple More SEC Stretches

Georgia has endured four four-game losing streaks in SEC play.

In addition to the aforementioned stretches in 2014 in 2009, the Lady Bulldogs also dropped five consecutive league games during the 1982-83 and 1991-92 seasons.

In 1983, the season Georgia made its first of five Final Four appearances, the Lady Bulldogs lost five straight SEC outings between Jan. 16-Feb. 14 but also won three non-conference games in that window.

In 1992, UGA suffered five successive league losses from Feb. 1-29 but secured a quintet of non-SEC “Ws” over the same span.
[break] [break] First Time vs. Four Top-10s in a row

Georgia faced four straight top-10 opponents from Jan. 22-Feb. 5, the first time the Lady Bulldogs have ever played four top-10 foes consecutively.

In fact, UGA played a trio of consecutive top-10 competition just twice before this year.

In January of the 2000-01 season, the Lady Bulldogs defeated No. 10 Florida and No. 9 LSU before falling to No. 2 Tennessee.

During the 1996 NCAA Tournament, Georgia defeated No. 1 Louisiana Tech in the “Elite Eight” and then No. 2 Stanford in the NCAA semifinals before losing to No. 4 Tennessee in the national championship game.
[break] [break] First 4-Game Ranked Dates Since ‘03

Georgia’s stretch of four consecutive games against ranked foes marked the first time in just under a dozen years that UGA has faced four straight top-25 opponents.

In February 2003, the Lady Bulldogs, in succession, defeated No. 15 South Carolina, lost to No. 18 Vanderbilt and No. 3 Tennessee, beat No. 15 Arkansas and then fell at No. 12 Mississippi State.

This was the ninth time UGA has played four or more ranked teams in a row times during Andy Landers’ 36 seasons in Athens.
[break] [break] Converting FTs Big In Tight Games

To date, 11 of Georgia’s 23 games this season have been decided by single digits.

In seven wins over TCU, Ohio State, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Furman, Auburn and Texas A&M UGA has converted on 106-of-148 trips to the line, a solid 71.6 percent.

In four losses at Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Kentucky, Georgia was just 31-of-57 from the line, a 54.4 percent conversion rate.
[break] [break] UGA, Landers Approach Milestones

In addition to Andy Landers’ 850th win at Georgia (secured at Tennessee Tech on Nov. 29), he and Lady Bulldog Basketball are closing in on additional significant milestones.

The Lady Bulldogs are now three wins shy of their 900th all-time victory. Georgia became the 10th Division I women’s basketball program to reach 850 all-time victories against Alabama on Jan. 31, 2013.

Landers began the year with 925 “Ws” in his 39 seasons as a collegiate head coach and enters the Arkansas game eight victories away from his 950th career win. Landers’ carer tally includes 82 victories secured in four seasons at Roane State College from 1975-79.
[break] [break] A Winning Record Secured

A Jan. 18 victory over Vanderbilt guaranteed the Lady Bulldogs of their 36th consecutive winning season.

While that seems like a small accomplishment for a team that was then 16-3, it should be noted that Georgia is one of just three Division I basketball programs to post a winning record every season since women’s intercollegiate athletics came under the auspices of the NCAA in 1981.

The others are Tennessee and Wisconsin-Green Bay. Both the Lady Vols and Phoenix already have guaranteed winning records for the 2014-15 campaign as well.
[break] [break] Lady Bulldogs Return to Polls

UGA was not ranked in neither the preseason editions of the AP nor USA Today/ESPN coaches polls, which was an extreme rarity.

Georgia was not in the AP preseason poll for just the second time since 1981-82 and was left out of the coaches poll for the first time since it was initiated in 1985-86. The last time Georgia was not ranked in the AP poll was the 2008-09 season.
[break] [break] The Lady Bulldogs’ absence was brief.

Georgia entered the AP poll on Nov. 17 after opening the year with wins over Morgan State and TCU. UGA joined the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll the next week following road wins at Ohio State and Georgia Tech.

Georgia has now appeared in 521 weekly editions of the AP rankings, the second-most of any program in the nation despite not being featured in the first seven years of the AP poll’s existence.

Georgia first appeared in an AP poll in the preseason edition prior to the 1981-82 season. Since then, UGA has been included in 521 of the 608 (85.7 percent) of the weekly AP polls. During that same span, the Lady Bulldogs have appeared in the top-10 44.1 percent of the time (268 weeks).

The WBCA initiated a coaches poll in 1985-86. Since then, Georgia has been ranked in 443 of 537 (82.5 percent) of polls, including 234 weeks (43.6 percent) in the top 10.
[break] [break] Landers Joins Elite List

Georgia’s 74-51 win at Tennessee Tech on Nov. 29 represented Andy Landers’ 850th victory at UGA. Landers became just the seventh college basketball coach – men’s or women’s – with 850 victories at one Division I school.

The milestone was more memorable since it occurred at Landers’ alma mater. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tennessee Tech in 1973 and 1974, respectively. Landers and his wife, Pam, also a Tech graduate, were honored as distinguished alumni prior to tipoff. After the contest, Landers was presented the game ball by longtime friend and TTU coach Jim Davis.

That game ball was then autographed by the current Lady Bulldog Basketball family and again presented to Landers prior to Georgia’s home game against Coppin State on Dec. 2. Seniors Krista Donald and Erika Ford and Greg McGarity, UGA’s J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics, (pictured above) gave Landers the autographed basketball. Interestingly, McGarity was at Landers’ very first win at UGA against Piedmont on Nov. 10, 1979, serving as the team’s sports information director.

The seven coaches to reach the 850-win plateau at one Division I school – with win totals of the active coaches through games of Feb. 8 – are listed below.
[break] [break] 850 Wins At One Division I School

Coach, School Wins

Pat Summitt, Tennessee 1098

Jim Boeheim, Syracuse 963

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke 930

Geno Auriemma, Connecticut 901

Dean Smith, North Carolina 879

Adolph Rupp, Kentucky 876

ANDY LANDERS, GEORGIA 860

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Greg is closing in on 11 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.