Georgia vs. Florida: Game Notes

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Georgia vs. Florida: Game Notes

Merritt Hempe (Photo by John Kelley)
[break] Lady Bulldog Game Notes

No. 24 Georgia vs. Florida

Thursday, February 12 at 7 p.m. ET

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

Video: SET Network +; Matt Stewart, play-by-play; Brittany Northcutt, analyst

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

Game Promotions: $1 Hot Dogs at the Concessions Stands; First 250 UGA students receive FREE “Dawgs > Gators” t-shirt; First 100 UGA Students receive FREE pizza

Starting 5

•  UGA is 50-14 all-time against Florida, including a 27-3 mark in Athens

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

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

• 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

• UGA was 12-0 at Stegeman Coliseum this season and had won 18 straight home games before a 2/5 setback to No. 1 S. Carolina

Keeping An Eye On…Entering Today’s Game:

Tiaria Griffin is…

• 14 3-point FGAs from No. 9 Rachel Powell 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

Andy Landers is…

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

Millennium point watch…

• Erika Ford is 200 points from 1,000

• Tiaria Griffin is 210 points from 1,000

Georgia Hopes Home Court Helps Snap Unfamiliar Stretch Of Losses

The Georgia Lady Bulldogs will look to snap an extremely rare four-game losing streak when they return to the friendly confines of Stegeman Coliseum to host Florida at 7 p.m. on Thursday evening.

The four-game skid is just the third in the last 36 seasons for the Lady Bulldogs but also includes three losses to top-10 opposition – at No. 5 Tennessee, at No. 10 Kentucky and versus No. 1 South Carolina.

Georgia is 12-1 at Stegeman this season, where the Lady Bulldogs defeated their first 12 foes by an average of 18.3 ppg and extended their home winning streak to 18 outings before last week’s loss to the Gamecocks. 

Georgia dropped to 17-7 overall and 5-6 in the SEC with Monday’s 54-48 loss at Arkansas. The Lady Bulldogs trailed by 15 with 8:30 left before a 16-2 surge pulled UGA within 49-48 with less than 30 seconds remaining.

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 58 times for Georgia during the 2014-15 campaign.

Florida slipped to 11-12 overall and 3-7 in the SEC following a Sunday loss to No. 6 Tennessee. The Gators are 2-2 in their last four SEC dates, including victories over Arkansas and at Vanderbilt and a single-digit setback to the Lady Volunteers.

Kayla Lewis and Ronni Williams lead and extremely balanced offense for Florida at 9.8 ppg, while Cassie Peoples adds 9.4 ppg, Carlie Needles chips in 8.3 ppg. Lewis averages a team-high 7.2 rpg.

Quoting Coach Landers

On Improvements Georgia Needs To Make…

“Offensive execution is at the top of the list. Offensively, we have not executed the way we need to execute against quality teams. We’ve got to get better at that. I also think, based on the way started at Arkansas, that we’ve got to have a mindset to start this game much better. We need to be strong defensively coming out of the gate.

On Preparing For Florida…

“Every thing is going to come into play. We’re going to be pressed a couple of different ways. We’re going to see man. We’re going to see zone. We’re going to see some switching man. It’s imperative for us to understand and identify what’s going on during the course of the game so that we can make the proper adjustments.”

Series History vs. The Gators

Georgia is 50-14 all-time against the Gators, including a 27-3 record in Athens.  

Three of the Gators’ victories came prior to Andy Landers’ arrival at the University of Georgia, making him an even more impressive 50-11 versus Florida. 

In the most recent meeting between the Lady Bulldogs and the Gators on Feb. 16 last season in Athens, 21- and 19-point efforts from Shacobia Barbee and Erika Ford, respectively, helped push UGA to a 67-58 victory.

After a nip-and-tuck opening, Georgia stretched its lead to 30-23 on a Barbee 3-pointer with 5:47 left in the first half. Khaalidah Miller scored five points in the last 1:18 of the period – including a 30-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer – to open up a 35-26 lead at the intermission.

After quickly building a double-digit lead early in the second period, the Lady Bulldogs went through an 0-for-8 shooting slump that allowed the Gators to trim the Georgia advantage from 14 points to three.

Ford snapped Georgia’s cold streak with two quick baskets which sandwiched a score for Merritt Hempe and saw Georgia push its lead back to double-digits.

Four weeks earlier in Gainesville, Ford poured in what was then a career-high 23 points to lead four Lady Bulldogs in double figures as Georgia rallied past Florida, 68-62.

The Lady Bulldogs outscored the Gators 15-9 in the game’s waning moments.

Georgia, which ranked last in the SEC in free throw percentage entering the game, shot a season-best 88.9 percent from the line. The Lady Bulldogs connected on 16-of-18 free throws, including 11-of-12 in the final 5:34 after the game was tied 53-53.

Florida started the game with a 7-0 run and held a comfortable edge for the remainder of the half before leading by six at the break.

Georgia got within two points four times in the second half but finally knotting the score at 43-43 on a Krista Donald jumper with 10:52 left. Florida regained a 47-43 lead before a Barbee layup and a Miller 3-pointer gave the Lady Bulldogs their first lead at 49-48.

Following three lead changes, the Gators tied the score at 53-53. Merritt Hempe then hit two free throws to open UGA’s decisive surge.


Last  Time Out

No. 24 Georgia rallied from an 18-point, first-half deficit to pull within one point with less 30 seconds left before dropping a 54-48 decision at Arkansas on Monday night.

The Lady Bulldogs trailed 47-32 with 8:41 left before a 16-2 run closed the gap to 49-48 with 28 seconds left.

Georgia then fouled Jessica Jackson, who converted both ends of a one-and-one to push the Razorbacks’ lead back to 51-48.

A pair of potential game-tying 3-pointers by Erika Ford were blocked, but Georgia retained possession with just under 10 ticks remaining on the clock.

Andy Landers was then whistled for two technicals for protesting a no-call on a rebound situation from the first 3-point attempt. Jackson made 3-of-4 free throws to supply the game’s final score.

“If I had it to do over, I’d do it again,” Landers said.

Georgia’s improbable comeback came after Arkansas had dominated most of the night. The Razorbacks opened the game on a 10-0 run and led by double digits for almost all of the next 20 minutes.

Arkansas’ first-half lead topped out at 18 points at 24-6 before Georgia took a slight dent out of that margin and trailed 30-16 at the intermission.

Georgia trimmed the margin to 35-26 with 14:09 left, but Arkansas responded with a 6-0 surge to push the margin back to 15 points.

That’s the same separation the Razorbacks enjoyed when a Krista Donald jumper cut the gap to 47-34. Georgia followed with a jumper from Merrit Hempe and a layup by Tiaria Griffin to get within single digits once again. A Melissa Wolff jumper ended that surge, but the Lady Bulldogs scored on a 3-pointer from Pachis Roberts, a reverse layup by Donald, a jumper from Hempe and a banked-in 3-pointer by Ford to close the gap to 49-48.

Gators Are UGA’s Most Frequent Foe

Tonight’s game will be the 65th between the Lady Bulldogs and the Gators, making Florida Georgia’s most familiar opponent. 

For years, Tennessee was the Lady Bulldogs’ most frequent opponent. That was due to the fact that Georgia and Tennessee seemed to meet in SEC or NCAA Tournament games on a somewhat regular basis.

Beginning in 1994-95, the SEC designated geographic opponents to play on a home-and-home basis each season in an effort to promote rivalries in women’s basketball.

A couple of seasons ago, the Gators slid by Vanderbilt and then the Lady Vols. As of tonight’s game, Georgia’s games against tallies for those three foes reads: Florida 65, Tennessee 61 and Vanderbilt 60. The only other opponent UGA has met even 50 times is Kentucky at 51.

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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.