WBB: Georgia vs. South Carolina Preview

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WBB: Georgia vs. South Carolina Preview

Jan 3, 2020; Auburn, AL, USA; Georgia Lady Bulldogs head coach Joni Taylor looks on during during the game between Auburn and Georgia at Auburn Arena. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood/AU Athletics
Jan 3, 2020; Auburn, AL, USA; Georgia Lady Bulldogs head coach Joni Taylor looks on during during the game between Auburn and Georgia at Auburn Arena. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood/AU Athletics

#22/23 Georgia Lady Bulldogs (12-1, 4-1 SEC) vs. #3/4 South Carolina (10-1, 5-0 SEC)

Thursday, Jan. 21 | 6:30 p.m. ET | Colonial Life Arena | Columbia, S.C. 

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 is set to face the No. 3-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on the SEC Network. 

• The Lady Bulldogs, who are 12-1 this season, are ranked No. 13 in the NET rankings, No. 22 in the Associated Press top-25 and No. 23 in the Coaches Poll. Georgia has been ranked in 534 editions of the AP poll throughout its history. 

• Georgia began the year 8-0 in non-conference action, marking its best start in seven seasons. 

• Georgia has won 17 of its last 21 games dating back to last year, with the only losses coming to top-15 teams South Carolina, Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Kentucky. 

• The Lady Bulldogs are 5-0 in road games during the 2020-21 campaign. Georgia started the year with three-straight road victories for the first time in school history.

• Georgia’s mantra for the last several years has been ‘Defense Travels.’ That has once again been the case as the Lady Bulldogs are near the top of the league in most defensive categories. 

• Georgia ranks first in scoring defense (56.7 ppg), fourth in field-goal percentage defense (.362), third in 3-point FG percentage defense (.266), second in blocks (6.2 per game) and fifth in both steals (10.0 per game) and turnover  margin (+3.1). 

• The Lady Bulldogs are averaging 76.3 points per game, up 14 points from last season’s average of 63.2 ppg. Georgia has scored 80 or more points in four contests compared to just twice in 31 contests last year. 

• Georgia’s depth was once again on display last Thursday against Tennessee. Mikayla Coombs, Maori Davenport and Malury Bates came off the bench and helped lead Georgia to the win. Coombs played the full 20 minutes in the second half, Davenport scored six points in 19 minutes and Bates made several key defensive stops down the stretch to seal the win. 

• Georgia leads the all-time series against South Carolina, 33-19, but is looking to snap a 12-game losing skid in the series. 

• Georgia is looking for its first win over a top-5 team since defeating No. 4 Stanford in the 2013 NCAA Sweet 16. 

• Lady Bulldog rookie Sarah Ashlee Barker was named the SEC Freshman of the Week on Tuesday, marking the second honor for her this season. Barker is Georgia’s first two-time Freshman of the Week since Caliya Robinson in 2016. 

Series Breakdown

Overall: Georgia leads, 33-19

In Athens: Georgia leads, 15-6

In Columbia: Georgia leads, 14-7

Neutral Sites: South Carolina leads, 6-4

Current Streak: South Carolina has won 12-straight meetings

Last Meeting: South Carolina won 89-56 (3/6/20) in Greenville

Largest Margin of Victory: 43 points, Georgia won 78-35 (2/1/97) in Columbia

Largest Defeat: 35 points, South Carolina won 88-53 (1/26/20) in Athens

Georgia Notables

Georgia Senior Guards Heat Up

Seniors Que Morrison and Gabby Connally have combined to hit 12 three-pointers and have totaled 67 points in Georgia’s last 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. 

Coombs Georgia’s Newest Defensive Back

Redshirt junior guard Mikayla Coombs grew up wanting to play football, and she has certainly carried that passion over to the basketball floor.  Coombs is one of Georgia’s top defensive players as she currently ranks eighth in the SEC in total steals with 26. In the last two games, Coombs has hit 9-of-14 from the field (64 percent), scored 19 points, totaled seven rebounds, 12 assists and four steals. 

Not Just Defense … Georgia Sees Offensive Improvement

The Lady Bulldogs are a much improved team on the offensive end compared to last season. Georgia is averaging 76.3 points per game in 2020 after scoring just 63.2 points per game in 2019-20. The team has scored over 80 points four times through the first 13 games. Last season, the Lady Bulldogs scored 80 or more points twice in 31 contests.

Block Party for the Bulldogs

The Lady Bulldogs are second in the SEC and fourth nationally with 80 total blocks. Senior center Jenna Staiti leads all conference players and is fourth in the country with her 37 swats (2.8 per game). 

Georgia League’s Best in Assists

The Lady Bulldogs have totaled 230 assists —a total that leads all SEC schools and ranks sixth in NCAA women’s college basketball. Georgia averages 17.7 dimes per game, which is also tops in the conference.

Reaching 100

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. 

Barker Named SEC Freshman of the Week … Again

Sarah Ashlee Barker has been named SEC Freshman of the Week twice this season. She earned her most recent honor after scoring 11 points, including nine points off a trio of 3-pointers in the second quarter, against Ole Miss. 

Barker 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. 

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