Georgia vs. Auburn
Sunday, February 22 at 2 p.m. ET
Stegeman Coliseum (10,523) in Athens, Ga.
TV: SET Network +; Matt Stewart, play-by-play; Joe Ciampi, analyst
Radio: Georgia Bulldog Radio Network (AM 960 The Ref in Athens & 103.7 FM from Gainesville); Jeff Dantzler, play-by-play
Game Promotions: Free Katrina McClain bobble head to the first 1,000 fans; Rally the Dawgs School Challenge Day; Girl Power Day; Play 4Kay Game; Senior Day; Alumni Reunion
• UGA is 26-17 all-time against AU, including a 16-4 record in Athens
• UGA is looking to snap the sixth six-game losing streak in program history
• Engram & Clark became the 75th and 76th freshmen to start for UGA under Landers when they got the nod against S. Carolina and Florida, respectively
• UGA is three wins shy of the Lady Bulldogs’ 900th all-time victory
• UGA played four top-10 teams in a row for the 1st time ever from 1/22-2/5 – No. 10 Texas A&M, No. 5 Tennessee, No. 10 Kentucky & No. 1 S. Carolina
Keeping An Eye On…Entering Today’s Game:
Tiaria Griffin is…
• 5 3-point FGAs from No. 7 Ashley Houts among UGA’s career leaders
• 5 3-point FGs from co-No. 10s Angela Puleo (2007-08) and Kelly Miller (1998-99) among UGA’s single-season leaders
• 8 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
Andy Landers is…
• 8 victories from his 950th win as a collegiate head coach
Millennium point watch…
• Erika Ford is 181 points from 1,000
• Tiaria Griffin is 188 points from 1,000
Georgia Looks To Snap Skid On Sunday Filled With Significance
The Georgia Lady Bulldogs will look to return to winning ways on Sunday when they host Auburn at Stegeman Coliseum. The afternoon is packed with significant ceremonies and festivities. Sunday is Senior Day, Alumni Day and UGA’s Play 4Kay contest.
Georgia is currently 17-9 overall and 5-8 in SEC action. That’s a long way from the 17-3 and 5-2 marks the Lady Bulldogs sported following a Jan. 22 upset of No. 10 Texas A&M. Since then, Georgia has dropped single-digit road setbacks at No. 5 Tennessee and at No. 10 Kentucky, suffered its first home loss of the year to No. 1 South Carolina, fell to Arkansas and Florida in matchups that weren’t decided until the final 10 seconds and lost at LSU without 60 percent of its starters for the aforementioned upset of Texas A&M.
The six-game losing streak is the longest in Andy Landers’ 36 seasons at Georgia.
Tiaria Griffin is the Lady Bulldogs’ active scoring leader at 11.3 ppg. Krista Donald is UGA’s top active rebounder at 6.7 rpg. Georgia lost Shacobia Barbee – and her 11.6 ppg and 6.9 rpg averages – 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 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 61 times for Georgia during the 2014-15 campaign.
Auburn arrives in Athens sporting records of 9-17 overall and 0-13 in SEC action. The Tigers opened the season with a 9-4 non-conference record, including handing Florida Gulf Coast one of its only two losses during the 2014-15 campaign to date.
Tra’cee Tanner and Brandy Montgomery lead the Tigers on the offensive end with double-digit scoring averages of 12.0 ppg and 10.7 ppg, respectively. Tanner also paces Auburn on the boards at 6.1 rpg.
Quoting Coach Landers
On Facing Auburn A Second Time This Season…
“I think there’s a certain level of confidence going in, but we understand the challenges that Auburn presents. Meeting those at Auburn wasn’t easy. It was a very close game. But the other thing is there are some similarities from a game-plan standpoint to LSU in terms of pressing and the zone offense so there’s some carryover there that could be helpful.”
On Georgia’s Shortened Bench…
“We’re depending on some young players and inexperienced players. Young players and inexperienced players do some good things, but they also do some things that are hurtful. The message going forward needs to be that we can’t repeat the same mistakes. We have to grow and eliminate some of things that happened tonight (at LSU). The things that we covered in the scouting report shouldn’t happen. You have to pay attention. When you walk out there during warmup, you have to look across the floor and say, ‘That’s the one that does that, got it.’ But they are young kids and have to grow up. They have to understand that you don’t have to make very many mistakes to cost your team the game. In this league, that will do it.”
Series History vs. The Tigers
Georgia sports a 26-17 edge in its all-time series against Auburn, including a 16-4 mark in Athens.
In the most recent matchup at Stegeman Coliseum two seasons ago on Feb. 7, 2013, No. 9 Georgia used a 61-58 win over Auburn to secure the 28th – of now 29 – 20-win season in program history.
Jasmine Hassell turned in a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead UGA.
The Lady Bulldogs used an 12-1 surge to go up 19-7 with just under 13 minutes left in the first half. A quick 9-0 run gave Georgia its largest lead of the game at 30-15.
The Tigers scored five points in the first 47 seconds of the second stanza. Auburn eventually whittled Georgia’s lead to 42-41 and then tied the game at 51-51.
The Tigers knotted the score again at 53-53, before the Lady Bulldogs pulled ahead 60-55 with 11 ticks left on the clock.
Auburn hit a long 3-pointer with four seconds left and then fouled Barbee, who connected on one of two free throws.
Time ran out before Auburn could attempt a potential game-tying shot.
The Lady Bulldogs and Tigers met earlier this season one month and 11 days ago.
Tiaria Griffin scored 16 points and Shacobia Barbee added a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead No. 20 Georgia past Auburn, 57-52.
Griffin scored seven points in the final 3:16 as the Lady Bulldogs outscored the Tigers 11-5 down the stretch.
Auburn went up 47-46 on a Hasina Muhammad jumper with 3:44 remaining. Griffin answered with back-to-back 3-pointers to put Georgia up 52-47 just 1:23 later.
Last Time Out
Tiaria Griffin scored 14 points and Mackenzie Engram added 13 but it was not enough for Georgia on Thursday night as the Lady Bulldogs dropped a 64-52 decision at LSU.
Georgia played without 60 percent of its starting lineup from a month ago, with guard Shacobia Barbee and forwards Krista Donald and Merritt Hempe all out of action.
The Lady Bulldogs started a four-guard lineup for the first time this season, with Pachis Roberts occupying the ‘4’ spot.
“I was impressed with a team that was essentially only a week old,” Andy Landers said. “For us to be able to put a four-guard team together and throw some offense together that could work and for them to be able to go out and execute like they did, that part I was pleased with.”
After trailing 34-28 at halftime, Georgia pulled within 36-32 early in the second stanza and had possession with the chance to pull closer but failed to do so. LSU then scored a dozen straight points to gain its largest lead of the evening at 48-32 with 10:01 left.
Georgia narrowed the gap to seven points on two occasions in the closing minutes but could get no closer.
Sunday Serves As Senior Day
Due to the weeknight lateness of UGA’s final regular-season home game (9 p.m. this Thursday against Tennessee), this afternoon will serve as the Lady Bulldogs’ “Senior Day.”
Krista Donald and Erika Ford, managers Ben Dolezal, Aaron Jenkins and Jonathan Oshinski and athletic trainer Mallory McQuaig all will be honored in pre-game ceremonies.
“I’m very proud of our seniors,” Andy Landers said. “Each and every one of them has played an integral role in our program.”
Donald has been one of the most compelling stories ever for the Lady Bulldogs. During most of her first two seasons, she was extremely limited due to a preexisting knee injury. As a freshman and sophomore she averaged 12.3 minutes, 3.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. Following a procedure in the summer of 2013 her contributions have increased dramatically. As a junior and senior, Donald has averaged 28.4 minutes, 8.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game for Georgia.
“Krista’s mentality is infectious,” Landers said. “She has a warrior-like mentality and competes really, really hard all the time. I think when you play with her, her teammates can’t help but emulate that to some degree.”
Ford has been a steadying force throughout her career, logging nearly 2,500 minutes of playing time both off the bench and as a starter. She was named to the Freshman All-SEC team in 2012. As a junior, she led Georgia in scoring in 11 games, the most of any Lady Bulldog, and produced the three highest single-game scoring outputs on the team.
“Erika she has developed very well as a player since she got here and has grown and matured as a person,” Landers said. “She is someone who has always been very solid and someone we know we can count on.”
Both Donald and Ford are on track to graduate in May. Donald will receive her degree in Criminology, while Ford will secure her diploma in Human Development and Family Science. They will become the 67th and 68th four-year letterwinners during Andy Landers’ 36 seasons in Athens to graduate from Georgia…and continue the string of every one of Landers’ four-year letterwinners earning a degree from UGA.
UGA and AU to “Play 4Kay”
Today’s game will represent Georgia’s participation in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s Play 4Kay initiative. Play 4Kay serves an opportunity for a nation of coaches to raise breast cancer awareness and funds for research on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond.
Since its inception in 2007, Play 4Kay has raised more than $3.9 million to support women’s cancer research. The initiative is named in honor of Kay Yow, the longtime former N.C. State head coach, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 and passed away on January 24, 2009, after facing her third bout with the disease.
For further information on Play 4Kay, please visit www.KayYow.com or contact the Yow Foundation staff via email at info@KayYow.com.
Familiar Faces At Halftime
Today also will be Alumni Day for Lady Bulldog Basketball, with letterwinners covering five decades expected to be in attendance.
Georgia’s 1985 NCAA runner-up and 1995 Final Four teams will be recognized as a whole. Headlining those squads are two of Georgia’s all-time greats – Janet Harris, who will be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame this summer, and Saudia Roundtree, who will be UGA’s SEC Legend at next month’s SEC Tournament.
The Lady Bulldogs’ Ravaged Roster
Georgia began the fall with a 16-player roster that was the largest in the history of Lady Bulldog Basketball. Since then, five players have been lost for the season and another is out of action for today’s game. All told, UGA has compiled 87 DNPs due to a series of injuries, illnesses and other occurrences.
The first setback came three games in when Nasheema “Fruit” Oliver suffered a left foot injury that has kept her sidelined since.
After the Lady Bulldogs’ first three conference games, Jasmine Carter suffered a concussion in practice. Recurring symptoms have prevented her from returning to action.
On Jan. 25 at Tennessee, Shacobia Barbee fractured her right distal fibula, an injury that prematurely ended her junior season.
Merritt Hempe has been diagnosed with mononucleosis and has missed Georgia’s last two games. She is expected to return to action this season.
Lastly, Krista Donald went down with a left ankle sprain with 16:57 left and the Lady Bulldogs leading Florida 34-22 on Feb. 12. Hopefully, Donald will be available to play against Auburn.