WBB: Georgia vs. Alabama Preview

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WBB: Georgia vs. Alabama Preview

Que Morrison
Que Morrison

#25 Georgia Lady Bulldogs (13-4, 5-4 SEC) vs. RV Alabama Crimson Tide (12-4, 5-4 SEC)

Thursday, Feb. 4 | 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT | Coleman Coliseum | Tuscaloosa, Ala. 

Watch: SEC Network (Eric Frede and Tamika Catchings)

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

• The Lady Bulldogs are back on the road for Thursday’s matchup at Alabama. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT on the SEC Network. 

• Georgia is ranked No. 25 in both the associated press and coaches polls and No. 21 in the NET rankings. Alabama is receiving votes in the coaches poll. 

• The Lady Bulldogs have won five of the last six games against the Crimson Tide, with each of those wins in single-digit margins. Three of the last six meetings have gone into overtime — all of those are Georgia wins. 

• Georgia defeated Alabama twice last season, winning 76-75 in Athens and 68-61 at the SEC tournament in Greenville, S.C. 

• Georgia leads the SEC in scoring defense, holding teams to just 58.4 points per game. The Lady Bulldogs rank in the top-5 of the conference in every defensive category, including steals (9.3 per game), blocked shots (6.1 per game), field-goal percentage defense (.368) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.254). 

• Alabama and Georgia rank No. 1 and No. 2 in the SEC in free-throw shooting. The Tide hits 75.5 percent from the free-throw line, while the Lady Bulldogs have made 75.4 percent from the stripe this season.  

• Georgia features one of the deepest teams in the nation. The Lady Bulldogs have played 11 or more players in all but five games this season. 

• The Lady Bulldogs are led by four seniors who have all graduated from the University of Georgia. Each of the four seniors — Gabby Connally, Maya Caldwell, Que Morrison and Jenna Staiti — are currently pursuing master’s degrees at UGA. 

• Georgia has lost two games in a row for the first time this season. The Lady Bulldogs held leads in both games, including a five-point second quarter advantage against No. 7 Texas A&M and a six-point edge going into the fourth quarter against LSU. 

• The Lady Bulldogs started the season with a perfect 8-0 record — its best start in seven seasons. Georgia also began the year with three-straight road wins. 

Series Breakdown

Overall: Georgia leads, 42-12

In Athens: Georgia leads, 19-4

In Tuscaloosa: Georgia leads, 16-6

Neutral Sites: Georgia leads, 7-2

Current Streak: Georgia has won three-straight and five of the last six meetings

Last Meeting: Georgia won, 68-61 (3/5/20) in Greenville, S.C.

Largest Margin of Victory: Georgia won, 96-41 (1/7/01)

Largest Defeat: Alabama won, 105-81 (2/29/92)

Historical Hidden Figures

In honor of Black History Month, the SEC is highlighting pioneers and trailblazers in our sport. Cynthia Collins and Bernadette Locke (Mattox) were the first two African-Americans recruited to enroll at UGA and play for the Lady Bulldogs on scholarship. They were teammates on Andy Landers’ first Georgia team in 1979-80. Each set a standard of excellence for countless Lady Bulldogs and young women who followed. 

Georgia Notables

Taylor Returns to Alma Mater

Georgia head coach Joni Taylor will return to her alma mater on Thursday. Taylor played for head coach Rick Moody at Alabama from 1998-02. She was the 1997 Gatorade Player of the Year for Mississippi after leading Meridian High to a 67-7 record during her junior and senior seasons. She also won three state titles in track and field and was selected as the school’s Homecoming Queen.

At Alabama, Taylor was a significant contributor to four teams that reached postseason play — the 1998 and 1999 NCAA Tournaments and the 2000 and 2001 WNITs. She was a two-year starter and scored 716 points, grabbed 555 rebounds and blocked 103 shots, which is No. 4 among the Tide’s career leaders.

Taylor also was a standout off the basketball court. She was recognized as one of the most influential African Americans on the Alabama campus in 2001, was named to the SEC’s Community Service team for women’s basketball in 1999, 2000 and 2001 and was awarded a post-graduate scholarship from the SEC for her community service record. She received her bachelor’s degree in Education from Alabama in 2002.

Trio of Lady Bulldogs Back Home

Georgia’s Sarah Ashlee Barker, Maori Davenport and Caitlin Hose will return home to the Yellowhammer State on Thursday. 

Barker was a standout player at Spain Park High School in Birmingham, Ala., earning the Alabama Sports Writer’s Miss Basketball honor. Barker’s father, Jay, played quarterback at Alabama, winning a national title in 1992. Her brother Braxton is a quarterback for the Crimson Tide, while her other brother Harrison is a quarterback at UAB. 

Hose prepped at Hazel Green High School in the northern part of the state. She was the ASWA 6A Player of the Year in 2018 and led her team to the state championship game in each of her four years of high school. 

Davenport — from Troy, Ala., —  was one of the most sought after recruits in the 2019 class. She was the runner up Miss Basketball in the state of Alabama after an outstanding career at Charles Henderson High School. 

Georgia Looks to Bounce Back

In each of Georgia’s last two games against LSU and Texas A&M, the Lady Bulldogs have been held below 35 percent shooting. Georgia has also been plagued by turnovers and fouls over the last two contests. The Lady Bulldogs committed 19 fouls against LSU, before committing 24 fouls against Texas A&M. The Aggies also scored 21 points off 18 Georgia turnovers this past Sunday. 

Smith Plays Well in College Station

One bright spot for the Lady Bulldogs against Texas A&M was freshman forward Zoesha Smith. She logged nine minutes against the Aggies and scored on her first shot of the game — her first field goal against an SEC foe this season. 

Georgia Senior Guards Heat Up

Seniors Que Morrison and Gabby Connally combined to hit 12 three-pointers and totaled 67 points in Georgia’s three wins against Florida, Tennessee and Ole Miss. The two combined to hit just five 3-pointers in the first two SEC games of the year. 

Options at the Post

Georgia has relied on a deep rotation of post players this season. Against Florida, Javyn Nicholson came off the bench and scored eight points in the first half after Jenna Staiti got into foul trouble. It was Maori Davenport and Malury Bates who led the Georgia frontcourt against Tennessee as the two combined to play 33 minutes in the final two quarters. 

Winning on the Road

The Lady Bulldogs are 5-2 on the road this season, including wins in its first three games of the year — the first time in school history Georgia has accomplished that feat. Georgia’s win at Tennessee was its first in Knoxville since 1996. 

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