Georgia vs. Tennessee (No. 6)
Thursday, February 26 at 9 p.m. ET
Stegeman Coliseum (10,523) in Athens, Ga.
TV: SET Network ; Pam Ward, play-by-play; Carolyn Peck, analyst
Radio: Georgia Bulldog Radio Network (AM 960 The Ref in Athens & 103.7 FM from Gainesville); Jeff Dantzler, play-by-play
Promotions: Freetank tops to first 300 UGA Students; Free Pizza to first 100 UGA Students; Timeout Giveaways – iPad mini, TV, Beats Pill; $100, $75, and $50 Visa gift cards, $50 UGA Bookstore gift card, and an Airline Voucher
• UGA is 15-46 all-time against UT, including an 8-13 record in Athens
• UGA is looking to snap the fourth seven-game losing streak in the history of Lady Bulldog Basketball
• Tonight’s contest will be the final Stegeman Coliseum outing for seniors Krista Donald and Erika Ford
• UGA is looking to snap the ninth five-game losing streak in program history
• 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
Lady Bulldogs Wrap Up Home Slate
The Georgia Lady Bulldogs host the No. 6-ranked Tennessee Lady Volunteers on Thursday evening at 9 p.m. in UGA’s SEC ESPN Network-televised home finale.
Georgia is currently 17-10 overall and 5-9 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, UGA: 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 gamess that weren’t decided until the final 10 seconds; lost at LSU without 60 percent of its starters for the aforementioned upset of Texas A&M; and fell to Auburn last Sunday afternoon.
Georgia is in the midst of just its fourth seven-game losing streak in 42 seasons of intercollegiate competition and the longest in Andy Landers’ 36 seasons at Georgia.
Tiaria Griffin is the Lady Bulldogs’ active scoring leader at 10.9 ppg. Krista Donald is UGA’s top active rebounder at 6.6 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 62 times for Georgia during the 2014-15 campaign.
Tennessee arrives in Athens with 23-4 and 13-1 overall and SEC records, respectively. The Lady Vols suffered their first conference loss at No. 2 South Carolina on Monday.
Tennessee also lost its leading scorer and rebounder, Isabelle Harrison, to injury. Harrison was averaging 12.8 ppg and 9.1 rpg when she went down in a Feb. 15 win over No. 10 Kentucky, ironically about three feet from the same spot on the court in Knoxville that Barbee endured her season-ending setback.
The Lady Volunteers still sport a trio of double-figure scorers in Cierra Burdick (10.7 ppg), Ariel Massengale (10.6 ppg) and Bashara Graves (10.5 ppg).
Quoting Coach Landers
On What The Lady Bulldogs Are Focusing On…
“I think you have to focus on the objective. The objective is to play as hard and well as you can together. You have to have the ability to free yourself from all the things that are swirling around us, focus on the things that you have to do and the way you have to go about doing them.”
On The Keys to Success Against Tennessee…
“We’ve got to rebound the ball. We’ve got to keep the ball out of the paint. You go back and look at our game in Knoxville, we fouled. They scored 20 points from the free throw line…20 of their 59 points were from the free throw line, a third of their points. The remainder of their points by and large were in the paint. Whether they penetrated it to there – which was the case most often – whether they passed it to the post or whether they rebounded it offensively, that’s where they hurt us. That said, we’ve got to be very, very careful because they certainly have the ability to shoot the basketball. But, we just can’t allow them the easy opportunities.”
Series History vs. Tennessee
Tennessee owns a 46-15 lead in the series with Georgia, including a 13-8 edge in Athens.
Tennessee and Texas A&M are the only SEC teams with a winning record over 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 matchup in Athens on Jan. 5 last season, No. 19 Georgia used a 21-0 rally to trim a 27-point deficit to just six before No. 5 Tennessee then made 9-of-10 free throws to secure an 85-70 win.
Tennessee used an 8-0 run midway through the first half to break open a 17-17 tie and gain some distance on the scoreboard.
Ariel Massengale poured in 17 of her game-high 28 points during a 28-5 surge that put the Lady Vols up 67-39 with 11:45 remaining.
Georgia trailed 76-49 at the 7:39 mark but scoreed three unanswered touchdowns and cut the gap to 76-70 with 1:12 left. Massengale then made both ends of a one-and-one to open Tennessee’s clutch effort at the line.
The Lady Bulldogs and Lady Vols met earlier this season 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,” Andy 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.”