WBB Game Preview: Georgia vs. Tennessee 2021

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WBB Game Preview: Georgia vs. Tennessee 2021

Jenna Staiti
Jenna Staiti

Georgia Lady Bulldogs (10-1, 2-1 SEC) vs. #23/24 Tennessee Lady Vols (8-1, 2-0 SEC)

Thursday, Jan. 14 | 6:32 p.m. ET | Thompson-Boling Arena | Knoxville, Tenn.

Watch: SEC Network (Courtney Lyle (play-by-play)/Carolyn Peck (analyst)

Listen: Georgia Bulldogs Sports Network (Jeff Dantzler)

*960 AM The REF, WXKT 103.7 FM in Athens or via the Georgia Bulldogs App

Opening Tip Storylines

• Georgia hits the road to take on the Tennessee Lady Vols this Thursday at 6:32 p.m. ET at Thompson-Boling Arena. The game will air nationally on the SEC Network. 

• The Lady Bulldogs are ranked No. 15 in the weekly NET rankings and are receiving votes in both the Associated Press and Coaches polls. 

• Georgia has won 15 of its last 19 games dating back to last year, with the only losses coming to top-15 teams South Carolina, Kentucky, Texas A&M and Mississippi State. 

• Georgia is a perfect 4-0 on the road this season and is looking for its first win in Knoxville since 1996 — a span of 15 games. 

• Thursday’s matchup features the two winningest programs in Southeastern Conference women’s basketball history. Georgia (1,007-443) and Tennessee (1,392-344) are the only two SEC teams to boast over 1,000 wins as the two have combined for 71 NCAA Tournament appearances. 

• Senior Jenna Staiti leads the SEC and is third nationally with 33 total blocks (3.0 per game). Staiti has scored in double figures in 19 of the last 20 games and has posted five double-doubles this season.

• Georgia is second in the SEC in scoring defense, holding teams to just 55.8 points per game. The Lady Bulldogs have held six of 11 opponents at 30 percent or lower shooting from the field. 

• The Lady Bulldogs are averaging 77.5 points per contest, up from 65 points per game last season. Georgia has scored 80 or more points four times in 11 games, compared to just twice in 31 matchups last year. 

• Georgia’s roster features four senior starters — Gabby Connally, Maya Caldwell, Que Morrison and Jenna Staiti — who have each earned their degrees and are pursuing master’s degrees at UGA. 

• The Lady Bulldogs use a deep rotation, often playing 11 and sometimes 13 players per game. 

• Georgia began this season 8-0, marking its best start in seven seasons. 

Scouting Tennessee

Tennessee is off to an 8-1 start under second-year head coach Kellie Harper. The Lady Vols are ranked No. 23 nationally and are coming off a 64-63 win at LSU. Last week, Tennessee defeated then-No. 13 Arkansas 88-73 in Knoxville. 

Senior guard/forward Rennia Davis is averaging a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds per game in SEC play. Rae Burrell leads the Lady Vols with 17.8 ppg. 

Tennessee’s roster features 11 players who stand at 6-feet or taller. 

Series Breakdown

Overall: Tennessee leads, 51-17

In Athens: Tennessee leads, 14-10

In Knoxville: Tennessee leads, 23-4

Neutral Sites: Tennessee leads, 14-3

Current Streak: Teams have split the last four meetings, 2-2

Last Meeting: Tennessee won 73-56 (1/12/20) in Knoxville

Largest Margin of Victory:Georgia won, 78-51 (1/17/00)

Largest Defeat: Tennessee won, 102-43 (1/28/98)

Georgia Notes

Unselfish Dawgs

Georgia leads the SEC and is eighth nationally with 197 total assists. The Lady Bulldogs average 17.9 assists per game. Against Appalachian State earlier this year, Georgia totaled 32 dimes on 46 made field goals. 

A Bulldog Block Party

The Lady Bulldogs lead all SEC teams and are second nationally with 70 total blocks.  Georgia is averaging 6.4 swats per game, which is the ninth-best average in the country and second in the SEC. 

Hanging a Hundred

Georgia scored 107 points against Appalachian State on Dec. 22. That total marked the most points by a Georgia team since the 2000-01 campaign and was the first time the Lady Bulldogs have reached the 100-point mark since 2007. 

Offensive Improvement

The Lady Bulldogs are a much improved team on the offensive end compared to last season. Georgia is averaging 77.5 points per game in 2020 after scoring just 63.2 points per game last year. The team has scored over 80 points four times through the first 11 games. Last season, the Lady Bulldogs scored 80 or more points twice in 31 contests.

Barker Named SEC Freshman of the Week

Sarah Ashlee Barker was named the league’s Freshman of the Week following performances against East Carolina and Oklahoma earlier this year. Barker continues to play valuable minutes and has made several key plays for the Lady Bulldogs this season. 

With 2:19 left in the overtime period against Georgia Tech, Barker broke open a tie game with a made jump shot to put her team up 65-63. The Lady Bulldogs did not give up the lead the rest of the way en route to a 75-69 win. Barker then hit a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter against Oklahoma, giving Georgia its largest lead of the game at 14. 

Barker recorded her first career double-double with 10 pts. and 12 rebs. against Georgia State. 

Taylor, Connally Reach Important Marks Against Tech

Georgia defeated Georgia Tech this year to improve the Lady Bulldogs’ record to 36-7 against the Yellow Jackets. The win also marked the 100th of Coach Taylor’s career. Senior guard Gabby Connally reached the 1,000-point mark with a first-half basket against Tech. 

Georgia Reaches 1,000-Win Milestone

With its win against East Carolina on Dec. 3, Georgia became one of just two SEC programs (Tennessee) and one of 16 nationwide to reach the 1,000-win mark. The team commemorated the milestone with a special social media video narrated by Andy Landers and Joni Taylor. 

Staiti Among Georgia’s All-time Best Shot blockers

With 151 blocks , Jenna Staiti stands in ninth place on Georgia’s all-time blocked shots chart.  Tawana McDonald owns the UGA career record with 297 in her career. 

Staiti Steady at the Stripe

Jenna Staiti filled up the stat sheet with double-figure scoring efforts and double-doubles in her last nine games of the 2019-20 season. What might have gone unnoticed was Staiti’s performance at the free-throw line.  Staiti finished the year hitting 89 percent from the stripe — good for the second-best single season average in Georgia history. 

Connally Lands in Top-10

Georgia senior Gabby Connally has moved into ninth place on UGA’s career 3-pt field goals made chart. Connally has totaled 153 during her time at Georgia. 

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