#19/20 Georgia Lady Bulldogs (21-4, 9-3 SEC) vs. #8 South Carolina Gamecocks (20-5, 9-3 SEC)
Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018 // 7 p.m. ET // Stegeman Coliseum (10,523)
Watch: SEC Network + (Matt Stewart — play-by-play, Angel Gray— analyst)
Radio: 103.7 WKXT-FM and 960 AM; also available on GeorgiaDogs.com and the Georgia Bulldog App
(Jeff Dantzler — The Voice of the Lady Bulldogs)
– First 1,000 fans will receive a pink t-shirt and glow stick
– First 600 students will receive a ‘6th Man’ replica jersey
» The No. 19-ranked Georgia Lady Bulldogs and eighth-ranked South Carolina, two teams tied with Tennessee for second place in the SEC standings, meet at Stegeman Coliseum Thursday at 7 p.m. ET.
» Thursday’s contest is designated as Georgia’s Pink Game. The first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a free pink t-shirt.
» Georgia enters the matchup ranked 19th in the USA Today Coaches Poll, 20th in the Associated Press top-25 and 22nd in the latest NCAA RPI. All four of the Lady Bulldogs’ losses this season have come against teams with an RPI of 25 or higher, including three losses to teams with a top-10 RPI.
» Georgia has a pair of impressive wins this year with victories against then-No. 11 Missouri and then-No. 16 Texas A&M. On Thursday, the Lady Bulldogs look to knock off a top-10 team for the first time since the 2015-16 season, when the squad defeated No. 10 Mississippi State, 47-43.
» The Lady Bulldogs own a demanding 33-14 lead in the all-time series against South Carolina, but have lost seven-straight to the defending national champions. Georgia’s last win in the series came in 2013 — a 42-40 victory for the Lady Bulldogs in Athens.
» Three of Georgia’s top-5 scorers are newcomers. Freshman Que Morrison is on pace to become the first Lady Bulldog rookie since Alexis Kendrick in 2002-03 to start every game. Morrison is also the only true freshman in the SEC and one of just eight nationally to have 200 or more points, 100 or more rebounds and 50 or more assists.
» Junior forward Caliya Robinson is the only player in the SEC to rank top-10 in the conference in three major defensive categories – blocks (79), steals (45) and defensive rebounds (146). As a team, the Lady Bulldogs lead the league and are 10th nationally in field-goal percentage defense (35.1 percent). Georgia has held 19 opponents to 40 percent or less shooting from the field this season.
Overall: Georgia leads, 33-14
In Athens: Georgia leads, 15-4
In Columbia: Georgia leads, 14-6
Neutral Sites: Tied, 4-4
Current Streak: South Carolina has won seven-straight
Last Meeting: South Carolina won 72-48 (3/3/17)
Largest Margin of Victory: Georgia won 78-35 (2/1/97)
Largest Defeat: South Carolina won 72-48 (3/3/17)
Last Time Out
The then-18th-ranked Georgia Lady Bulldogs could not overcome an 11-percent shooting performance in the second quarter as No. 11 Tennessee took a 62-46 victory Sunday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Taja Cole and Mackenzie Engram each scored 12 points to lead the Lady Bulldogs, while Engram added a team-high 10 rebounds.
“We just missed a lot of opportunities in transition,” head coach Joni Taylor said. “I thought their length really bothered us and affected the way we played. With that said, we have to put this behind us and get ready for a really good South Carolina team on Thursday.”
Both teams came out cold from the floor as Georgia began just 1-for-6 and Tennessee started just 1-for-5 from the field. Things heated up midway through the first quarter when Jaime Nared scored four-straight, before Engram nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give the Lady Bulldogs the 9-6 lead.
Meme Jackson scored five-straight points and the Lady Vols finished with three 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes to take a 17-13 lead at the end of the first frame. That is when Tennessee took control of the game.
The Lady Vols scored the first 10 points of the second quarter as Georgia was held scoreless for the first six minutes of the period and did not hit a field goal until 33 seconds left before halftime. The Lady Bulldogs finished the first half just 8-of-34 (24 percent) from the field and found themselves behind 36-19 at the break.
Clark Leading In Senior Season
» While veterans Mackenzie Engram and Caliya Robinson lead the team in most statistical categories, senior Haley Clark has also been a consistent leader for the Lady Bulldogs. Clark has started every game the last two seasons — a string of 56-straight contests. Clark, who already has a bachelor’s degree in finance and is working on a master’s in financial planning, is a nominee for the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team and also the SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year award.
Another 20-win Season For the Lady Bulldogs
» Georgia is currently 21-4, which marks the team’s best start since 2012-13. A 20-win season is nothing new for the Lady Bulldogs basketball program. In the last 38 years (since 1980-81), Georgia has recorded 20 or more wins 31 times.
It Starts With Defense Under Taylor
» Georgia prides itself on defense, and that has paid off this season. The Lady Bulldogs lead the conference in field-goal percentage defense (35.1 percent) — a mark that ranks 10th nationally. In all, the Lady Bulldogs are 22-0 in three seasons under Coach Taylor when holding an opponent to 50 points or less and are 18-1 when an opponent shoots less than 40 percent this season.
Undefeated January For Only Fifth Time
» Georgia finished the month of January with a perfect 7-0 record. It marked only the fifth time in program history that the Lady Bulldogs have gone undefeated in January. Three of those previous four teams (1985-86, 1990-91 and 1995-96) won the SEC title that same season.
Taylor’s Team Exceeding Expectations … A Three-Year Trend
» Georgia currently sits in second place in the SEC standings, with still a lot of basketball to be played. This year’s performance marks a trend for the Lady Bulldogs under head coach Joni Taylor. Georgia was picked eighth in the SEC’s preseason poll, and so far it looks like the Lady Bulldogs will once again exceed expectations. In Coach Taylor’s first year, Georgia was picked ninth and finished sixth (one game out of fourth). In her second season, the Lady Bulldogs were picked 12th and finished eighth.
Georgia’s Road Streak The Best In Over 20 Years
» The Lady Bulldogs began the year with a perfect 8-0 mark away from home — their best start away from home since the 1994-95 NCAA Final Four team began the year 11-0 away from Stegeman Coliseum. Georgia’s current streak came to an end on Feb. 1, when LSU defeated the Lady Bulldogs, 71-60.
Lady Bulldogs Have Mixture Of Youth And Experience
» Even though the Lady Bulldogs are led by veteran players, three of Georgia’s top-5 scorers are actually newcomers. Morrison leads the way with 8.5 ppg, followed by Taja Cole’s 7.8 ppg and Gabby Connally’s 7.6 ppg.
Robinson A Top-10 Finalist For Katrina McClain Award
» Georgia junior forward Caliya Robinson has been named a finalist for the 2018 Katrina McClain Award, which goes to the nation’s top power forward. The honor is named for the former Lady Bulldog, who as a two-time All-American and the 1987 National Player of the Year.
Georgia Boasts Top Women’s Hoops Program
» The Lady Bulldogs have boasted one of the top women’s basketball programs in the nation over the last three decades. During head coach Andy Landers’ 36-year tenure, Georgia ranked No. 2 nationally in both NCAA Tournament appearances (31) and weeks ranked by the Associated Press (522). Georgia is also one of three DI basketball programs to post a winning record every season since women’s athletics became under the auspices of the NCAA with the 1981-82 season. The Lady Bulldogs’ 32 NCAA Tournament appearances rank second only behind Tennessee for most in the nation.
Georgia’s Clark Already A College Graduate
» A three-time selection to the SEC Academic Honor Roll, Haley Clark graduated in just three years and received her diploma from UGA during graduation ceremonies this past May. Clark received her bachelor’s degree in business and finance and is pursuing a master’s in financial planning. One of her career goals is to work in corporate finance and help other athletes with financial planning.
Clark, Engram Earn Leadership Awards
» Haley Clark and Mackenzie Engram enter their senior seasons as the leaders for the Lady Bulldogs. That leadership ability did not go unnoticed by the UGA Athletic Association this past spring, as both Clark and Engram received awards recognizing their efforts in leadership and sportsmanship. The announcement was made at the annual student-athlete awards banquet in April.
Clark received the UGA Athletics Sportsmanship-Ethics Award, which is given annually to one female and male student-athlete who are selected based upon their displays of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, friendship, caring and citizenship. Engram was chosen for the Clifford Lewis Leadership Award — an honor presented to one female student-athlete who demonstrates a commitment to a group of individuals above personal gain.