WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Georgia vs. Wright State Today

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WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Georgia vs. Wright State Today

Georgia guard Tiaria Griffin (3) lays the ball up during the Lady Bulldog’s game with the Mercer Bears at the Stegeman Coliseum on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015 in Athens, Ga. (Photo by Sean Taylor)


Georgia vs. Wright State Raiders
Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015 | The Nutter Center | 2 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN3/WatchESPN (Scott Leo (PBP) and Chad McKinney (Analyst))
Radio: Georgia Bulldog Radio Network by IMG (Jeff Dantzler, PBP)
Twitter: @UGA_WBB


Two teams currently riding the momentum of early season win streaks are set to meet on Sunday in Dayton, Ohio. Winners of eight-straight games, the Georgia Lady Bulldogs will square off with Wright State, a team that has won six consecutive contests, at 2 p.m. ET inside WSU’s Nutter Center.


The matchup will be available online via the ESPN3/WatchESPN app with Scott Leo and Chad McKinney calling the action. Jeff Dantzler will be on the call for the Georgia Bulldog Radio Network by IMG.


Opening Tip — Five Things To Know
– Georgia rides an eight-game win streak into its first-ever meeting with Wright State on Sunday. The Lady Bulldogs, who are coming off a 12-day break for final exams, are receiving votes in both the AP and Coaches polls as they wrap up non-conference action this next week.

– Joni Taylor has led Georgia to a 9-1 start through her first 10 games as head coach. Only three other coaches in SEC history have had better starts through the first 10 games at their respective schools. Jim Foster (Vanderbilt), Pokey Chatman (LSU) and Tom Collen (Arkansas) each started 10-0 in their first seasons.

– The Lady Bulldogs have played stifling defense through the first 10 games of the season. Each of Georgia’s first 10 opponents failed to hit 40-percent shooting from the floor, while four teams were held under 40 points. Wright State is averaging 83.8 points per game — a total that ranks 11th nationally. The Raiders have scored over 100 points three times this season and are averaging 50.0 rebounds per contest, which is the third-best average in the nation.

– UGA senior guard Shacobia Barbee has had a strong start to her final season in Athens. Barbee is the current active career steals leader in the SEC and ranks sixth nationally with 239 career steals. This season, Barbee ranks first in the league in steals (25) and second in total rebounds (46).

– Lady Bulldog senior forward Merritt Hempe has turned into a double-double machine this season with four through her first 10 games after only recording two in her first three seasons in Athens. Hempe currently ranks second on the team in scoring with 13.4 ppg.


A Georgia Win Would …
– Be the Lady Bulldogs’ ninth-straight win of the season.
– Improve Georgia’s record to 10-1 under first-year head coach Joni Taylor.
– Be Georgia’s first win against Wright State. Sunday’s contest is the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
– Improve Georgia’s record to 9-2 against teams that currently make up the Horizon League.


Scouting Wright State
– Wright State is one of the top offensive teams in the nation, averaging a Horizon-league best 83.8 points per game (ranks 11th nationally). The Raiders are 10-2, with one of those wins coming against No. 23 George Washington, 77-71, on Nov. 28. Kim Demmings leads the team in scoring with her 20.6 points per game, while teammates Emily Vogelpohl (12.2 ppg) and Antania Hayes (10.9) each score in double figures.


Last Time Out
Merritt Hempe’s fourth double-double of the season (17 points, 10 rebounds) spearheaded a relentless display by the Georgia Lady Bulldogs basketball team in a 77-39 win over Furman at Stegeman Coliseum.

A total of four Lady Dogs reached double digits in the game, with Hempe’s 17 points, Shacobia Barbee’s 17, Mackenzie Engram’s 14 and Tiaria Griffin’s 10. The team play extended to both ends of the floor, as Georgia put on another lockdown display in the second half by holding Furman to 14 total points in the final two quarters. Over the last two contests, Georgia has held opponents to just 8-for-48 (16.7 percent) from the field in the final 20 minutes of play. The 39 total points was the smallest offensive output for Furman this season.


Georgia Notebook
54-Straight Is Nation’s Best
– The Lady Bulldogs’ 54-game home non-conference win streak ranks as the top mark in NCAA DI women’s basketball, topping Oklahoma State’s 47-straight wins. Georgia’s last loss at home vs. a non-conference team came during the 2008-09 season — a 56-44 loss to Xavier on Dec. 30, 2008. UGA has just two remaining non-conference games at home with a contest against Cincinnati on Dec. 23 and the Dec. 28 matchup vs. Tennessee Tech.


Double-Digit Dogs
– Georgia has three players averaging double figures for the year (Tiaria Griffin, 15.5 ppg), Merritt Hempe (13.4 ppg) and Shacobia Barbee (13.1 ppg)) and two players averaging nearly a double-double with Hempe’s 13.4 ppg and 7.7 rpg and Barbee’s 13.1 ppg and 9.2 rpg.


Barbee Stealing The Show — Six Away From 1,000
– Lady Bulldog senior guard/forward Shacobia Barbee is the current active career steals leader (6th nationally) in the Southeastern Conference with 239 through three and a half seasons, including 25 so far during the 2015-16 campaign — a total that is also tops in the SEC. She is averaging 2.8 steals per game (No. 2 in SEC) and has recorded two or more steals in every game this season. Barbee enters Sunday’s game only six points away from 1,000 career points. She would be one of 37 Lady Bulldogs all-time to reach that mark, joining teammate Tiaria Griffin.


Griffin Making Her Mark From The Arc
– Senior Tiaria Griffin, who currently ranks seventh in Georgia history with 173 career 3-point baskets, is the current SEC leader in made 3-point field goals this season with 27 — a total that ranks 31st nationally. Griffin needs just one more to move into sixth place on Georgia’s all-time list.


Lady Bulldogs Take Down Undefeated, No. 21 Seton Hall
– Georgia’s 18-point win against Seton Hall on Dec. 6 represented the Lady Bulldogs’ largest margin of victory against a ranked team since UGA defeated No. 22 LSU, 71-53, on March 8, 2013 at the SEC Tournament in Duluth, Ga. That 2012-13 team went on to advance all the way to the NCAA Elite 8.


In-State Dominance
– Georgia has won 19-straight games against teams from the state of Georgia, including a 4-0 record this season. The Lady Bulldogs’ last loss to an in-state team came on Dec. 5, 2010 against Georgia Tech. Georgia is 104-35 all-time against NCAA Division I teams from the Peach State.


Barbee Goes For Triple-Double In Return
– On Jan. 25, 2015, Georgia’s Shacobia Barbee went down with a fractured fibula, forcing the preseason All-SEC performer to miss the last 10 games of the season. Barbee stormed back for the Lady Bulldogs in the first game of the 2015-16 season vs. Stetson, recording a triple-double with 10 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, becoming just the third Lady Bulldog player all-time to reach a triple-double and the first in 20 years (Teresa Edwards, 1986; Tracy Henderson, 1995).


Hempe Making A Difference
– Senior forward Merritt Hempe, who has recorded four double-doubles through 10 games this season, is not only making her mark on the court but she is also playing a pivotal role in the community. Hempe has been nominated for the 2016 AllState WBCA Good Works Team for her efforts off the court.

– The Fredericksburg, Va., native participates in numerous community service efforts, including Special Olympics Homeruns for Hometown Rivals baseball game, Toys for Tots, writing Holiday cards for deployed soldiers, helping provide safe routes to school by partnering with Barrow Elementary, collecting toiletries for the homeless, visiting Stroud Elementary throughout the year to encourage and mentor children, is an Alzheimer’s Walk Volunteer, and Ath-Half Volunteer, and volunteers as a AAU coach and operations staff member. The 2015-16 Good Works Team will be released in February.


Books And Basketball For Butler
– Georgia senior point guard Marjorie Butler is busy preparing for medical school as she completes her senior season. She entered college with over 50 hours of college credits, and is currently going through medical school interviews. The Knoxville, Tenn., native already has a degree in exercise science and will graduate with a second degree in biology.

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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.