#18/19 Georgia Lady Bulldogs (24-5, 12-4 SEC) vs. #13/14 Missouri (23-6, 11-5 SEC), Florida (11-18, 3-13 SEC) or Ole Miss (11-18, 1-15 SEC)
Friday, March 2, 2018 // 9 p.m. ET (tentative) – follows the first game, which starts at 7 p.m. ET // Bridgestone Arena (20,000) // Nashville, Tenn.
Watch: SEC Network (Pam Ward — play-by-play, Gail Goestenkors — analyst, Steffi Sorensen — sideline)
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)
» Georgia enters the 2018 SEC Tournament as the No. 3 seed and will play either No. 6 seed Missouri, 11th-seeded Florida or No. 14 seed Ole Miss. Tipoff for Friday’s quarterfinals is scheduled for approximately 9:05 p.m. ET, depending on the conclusion of the first game of the night session.
» The Lady Bulldogs finished the regular season in a tie for second place in the conference standings. It marks Georgia’s best finish in the league standings since the 2006-07 season — a span of 11 years.
» Georgia earned a second-place finish after being picked eighth in the league’s preseason poll. The turnaround from 16-15 a year ago to 24-5 this season is the second largest in program history. Georgia went 16-12 in Hall of Fame Coach Andy Landers’ first season in 1979-80 after the team went just 6-19 the year before.
» Head coach Joni Taylor’s team is in search of the program’s fifth SEC Tournament title, with the last coming in 2001.
» All five of Georgia’s losses this season have come against squads that are ranked in the latest Associated Press top-25. Three of those five came against teams that are currently in the top-10.
» Veteran forwards and All-SEC second team members Mackenzie Engram and Caliya Robinson lead the team at the top of the stat sheet, but three of Georgia’s top-5 scorers are actually newcomers, led by SEC All-Freshman Team selection Que Morrsion. Point guard Taja Cole has also been a difference maker for the Lady Bulldogs as she finished the regular season fifth in the SEC in assist-to-turnover ratio (123 assists, 71 turnovers).
» Defense Travels has been the mantra for the Lady Bulldogs this season. Georgia led the SEC in field-goal percentage defense, holding teams to just 34.5 percent from the floor, while keeping 23 of 29 opponents, including five-straight to end the regular season, at or below 40-percent shooting from the field. Under head coach Joni Taylor, Georgia is 24-0 in three seasons when holding a team under 50 points in a game.
Georgia’s SEC Tournament History
» Georgia is making its 39th appearance in the SEC Tournament and has won the title four times — 1983, 1984, 1986 and 2001.
» The Lady Bulldogs are 47-34 (.589) all-time in the SEC Tourney.
» Georgia’s four titles are tied for third behind Tennessee (17) and Vanderbilt (6) for most in league history.
» Georgia is looking for its first semifinals appearance since 2013 — a span of five seasons. That year, the Lady Bulldogs were also the No. 3 seed (the last time Georgia was a three-seed or higher). The team’s last trip to the finals came in 2004, when Georgia fell to Vanderbilt, 62-56.
» The Lady Bulldogs are the No. 3 seed for the 10th time in school history. Georgia won the SEC title as the No. 3 seed back in 2006.
» Georgia is 4-5 all-time in SEC Tournament Championship games, with nine finals appearances and 21 semifinals appearances.
Last Time Out
Behind a balanced attack on both ends of the court, the 19th-ranked Georgia Lady Bulldogs basketball team closed regular season play with a 63-43 victory against the Florida Gators at Stegeman Coliseum on Sunday.
With the win, the Lady Bulldogs, who were tabbed eighth in the SEC’s Preseason Poll, finished second in the SEC standings and clinched the No. 3 seed and a double-bye in the SEC Tournament.
“The credit goes to the ladies,” Georgia head coach Joni Taylor said. “They’ve bought into what we were doing, and they’ve played hard for us. We love each other, and our staff is just incredible. I have to give them credit. I have great people around me, and they deserve credit.”
Georgia’s three seniors—guards Simone Costa and Haley Clark, and forward Mackenzie Engram—were recognized before the game as a part of Senior Day. Costa logged a season-high 23 minutes, and Engram, alongside freshman Gabby Connally, led the Lady Bulldog attack with 12 points.
Ten of Georgia’s 12 SEC wins have been by double digits, and Sunday’’s margin was fueled by eight different Lady Bulldog scorers – four of which also reached double digits: Engram (12), Connally (12), Robinson (11) and Cole (10). Today’s win marks the 22nd game that eight or more Lady Bulldogs have contributed point production.
Lady Bulldogs Earn Postseason Honors
» Forwards Mackenzie Engram and Caliya Robinson were each named second-team All-Southeastern Conference, while Que Morrison placed on the All-Freshman squad and Haley Clark earned the league’s Scholar Athlete of the Year Award, according to a vote by conference coaches.
In addition to All-SEC honors, Robinson, who leads the league in blocked shots with 88, was tabbed to the SEC’s All-Defensive Team for the second consecutive year. The Marietta, Georgia, native was also named second-team All-SEC in a vote by Associated Press members on Tuesday. In addition to her blocked shots, Robinson ranks 11th in the SEC in steals (49) and fifth in defensive rebounds (167 total, 6.0 per game).
Clark’s nod as the 2018 SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year marks the second time in three seasons a Georgia student-athlete has garnered the honor. Marjorie Butler, who is currently in medical school at Vanderbilt University, earned the award in 2016. Clark finished with a degree in finance in just three years and is currently pursuing a master’s in financial planning — all while starting 59-straight games over the past two seasons.
For Engram, it marks her second SEC recognition of the 2017-18 campaign. Earlier this year, she was named to the league’s Community Service Team — an honor she has received in each of the past two seasons. Engram enters this week’s SEC Tournament having scored in double figures in six of the last seven games with three double-doubles against conference opponents.
Morrison represents Georgia’s third All-Freshman selection in the past four years, joining Engram and Robinson, who each placed on the All-Freshman team in their rookie seasons. The Riverdale, Georgia, native is currently third on the team in scoring and top-10 among SEC freshmen in both scoring (8.5 ppg) and rebounding (5.0 rpg).
Robinson Inching Closer to Career Milestones
» Caliya Robinson needs just four points to score 1,000 in her career. Earlier this year, she became one of just five Lady Bulldogs all-time to record 200 career blocks.
This season, Robinson has received national attention, and for good reason. The junior forward enters postseason play one of just three players nationally with 350 points, 200 rebounds, 50 assists, 50 steals and 50 blocks, joining UCONN’s Napheesa Collier and Delaware’s Nicole Enabosi. Robinson is currently the SEC’s blocked shots leader with 88 during the 2017-18 campaign.
Taylor Semifinalist for National Coach of the Year
» Georgia’s Joni Taylor is one of 10 semifinalists for the Werner Ladder Naismith National Coach of the Year award. Taylor is one of three SEC coaches, joining Robin Pingeton (Missouri) and Vic Schaeffer (Mississippi State) on the prestigious list.
Taylor’s Team Exceeding Expectations … A Three-Year Trend
» There is still a lot of basketball to be played, but 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 finished second. 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.
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 60-straight contests. Clark, who already has a bachelor’s degree in finance and is working on a master’s in financial planning, interned at Raymond James Financial Firm in Athens during the non-conference portion of this year’s schedule.
Another 20-win Season for the Lady Bulldogs
» Georgia is currently 24-5, marking the second 20 win campaign in three years under Coach Taylor. 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
» Georgia prides itself on defense, and that has paid off this season. The Lady Bulldogs lead the conference in field-goal percentage defense (34.5 percent) — a mark that ranks seventh nationally. In all, the Lady Bulldogs are 24-0 in three seasons under Coach Taylor when holding an opponent to 50 points or less and are 21-2 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.
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 on the road 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. This year’s 10-2 road record marks only the eighth time in school history Georgia has posted 10 or more wins away from home.