Daily Dawg Thread: January 27, 2024

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Daily Dawg Thread: January 27, 2024

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WTennis: UGA sweeps South Florida

Guillermina Grant

The No. 4-ranked Georgia women’s tennis team earned its first dual match victory of the season after sweeping South Florida 4-0 on the first day of the ITA Kickoff Weekend at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on Friday.

The result marks the first career coaching win for head coach Drake Bernstein as the Bulldogs (1-1) were sharp all day throughout singles and doubles play.





“I think that we had a great week of practice,” Bernstein said. “Everybody was really committed to the way they wanted to play, start to finish, today. I am really happy with how we finished in singles. We walked off those courts feeling better than we started.”

Georgia opened the match in dominant fashion from the get-go in doubles play. On court two, No. 15 Mai Nirundorn and Guillermina Grant opened their match strong and never wavered as they quickly closed out Rhea Makesar and Ireland Simme (USF) 6-0. In another convincing performance on court one, No. 58 Dasha Vidmanova and Aysegul Mert followed soon after with a 6-2 victory over Grace Schumaker and Nadja Bay Christians to earn the doubles point.

In singles play, the Bulldogs remained firm on the pedal on all courts. Grant shined bright on court five as she swept Gargi Pawar (USF) 6-0, 6-0 before No. 70 Anastasiia Lopata closed out a quick 6-1, 6-2 win over Marta Falceto Font on court four. Leading 3-0 with three Bulldogs on the brink of clinching the match, No. 108 Nirundorn closed out the victory for the Bulldogs with a 6-2, 6-0 win against Makesar on court six.





“I’m feeling good,” Nirundorn said. “Sorry, Dasha, for stealing match point. I couldn’t even see the score, so I guess I was lucky to clinch it out.”

Georgia will now advance to the ITA Kickoff Weekend championship match where it will face off against South Carolina on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 2:30 p.m. ET at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

Live scoring and video for all matches can be found here.


Dates: Friday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Jan. 27

Time: 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Location: Athens, Ga.

Venue: Dan Magill Tennis Complex

Live scoring/video: https://gado.gs/bag

Friday Singles Results

No. 30 Dasha Vidmanova (UGA) vs. Grace Schumacher (USF) 6-0, 5-1, unfinished

No. 35 Alexandra Vecic (UGA) vs. Melisa Senli (USF) 6-1, 4-3, unfinished

No. 116 Mell Reasco (UGA) vs. Kelly Vargas (USF) 7-5, 1-1, unfinished

No. 70 Anastasiia Lopata (UGA) def. Marta Falceto Font (USF) 6-1, 6-2

Guillermina Grant (UGA) def. Gargi Pawar (USF) 6-0, 6-0

No. 108 Mai Nirundorn (UGA) def. Rhea Makesar (USF) 6-2, 6-0

Friday Doubles Results

No. 58 Dasha Vidmanova/Aysegul Mert (UGA) def. Grace Schumacher/Nadia Bay Christians (USF) 6-2

No. 15 Guillermina Grant/Mai Nirundorn (UGA) def. Rhea Makesar/Ireland Simme (USF) 6-0

Alexandra Vecic/Mell Reasco (UGA) vs. Marta Falceto Font/Melisa Senli (USF) 5-3, unfinished

Match Notes

South Florida 1-1

No. 4 Georgia 1-1

Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (5,4,6)

WGolf: UGA opens 2024 Saturday with the Lady Bulldog Individual Invitational

Josh Brewer >>> Photo: Conor Dillon/UGAAA

The one-day, 36-hole event is slated to begin with a shotgun start at 9:00 a.m. and play continuing throughout the day. No admission will be charged to attend the tourney, which will feature 30 golfers from Georgia, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Southern and Washington.

“That’s the point of hosting this tournament – to get started,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “Most our players haven’t competed since October or even before so after that long of a layoff, you need to remember what it really feels like to make a short putt or hit the fairway when you need it. It’s proven to be very beneficial to us all the years we’ve hosted the tournament. I’m excited to see them go out and compete.”

Nine of 10 Bulldogs will be in the field on Saturday. Graduate transfer Napat “Jenny” Lertsadwattana is not playing because she will be competing in the Women’s Amateur Asia Pacific Championship at Siam Country Club in Pattaya, Thailand this weekend.

Fifth-year senior Caterina Don was Georgia’s top golfer throughout the fall and finished 2023 at No. 53 individually in the NCAA’s Scoreboard rankings. She recorded three top-10 individual finishes in four tournaments and was a combined 13-under over 12 fall rounds.

“Of course we do this to compete,” Don said. “Practice is great and we work together as a team but in the end, you want to compete and you want to perform. I’m excited. It’s my last dance as you would call it at Georgia. There’s something special about it being my last year. You look forward to it, but you’re also a little sad that you don’t get to do this again. I think I’m embracing every moment a little more since it’s my last season, and you’re not going to have a Lady Bulldog next year. Everything just means a little more.”

Georgia wrapped up the fall season at No. 31 in the NCAA’s new Scoreboard national rankings. The Lady Bulldog Invitational actually will serve as part of Georgia’s qualifying for its first team event of the spring, next weekend’s Collegiate Invitational at the Guadalajara Country Club. Brewer hopes Saturday will get the Bulldogs off to a fast start in their pursuit of a fourth-straight top-20 finish at the NCAA Championships.

“That’s kinda what you hope will happen,” Brewer said. “You’re qualifying trying to pick your lineup, but does someone step up? It happened last year when Jo, Céleste and Isabella finished 1-2-3. Jo got her first win and that helped her become an All-American last year. People can definitely get confidence from how they play in this event and it can help them go on to have a special spring individually.”

Rounding out the Bulldogs competing are graduate transfer Bernice Olivarez Ilas; senior Isabella Holpfer; juniors LoraLie Cowart and Kate Song; and freshman Celine Brovold Sanne, Savannah De Bock, Grace Frei and Natachanok “Drive” Tunwannarux.

Saturday will mark the collegiate debut of De Bock, a mid-year enrollee who joined the Georgia roster earlier this month. She is currently No. 50 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) and has been as high as No. 35. During the fall, De Bock finished fourth at the World Junior Girls’ Golf Championship and notched a 3-0 record while helping Europe win the 2023 PING Junior Solheim Cup. She also won the 2022 European Ladies’ Amateur Championship.

The Bulldogs’ spring schedule includes seven additional regular-season tournaments, headlined by the 51st annual Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic at the UGA Golf Course on March 29-30, before the SEC and NCAA Championships. Georgia is one of college golf’s few programs to host two home events where everyone on the roster competes.

“Josh wants us to get out here and compete,” Don said. “I think it’s really cool that we already host one big event, the Liz, that has been here for so long and has gained such a great importance in the world of women’s golf. The Lady Bulldog gives us another event at home so we can have our friends come out and watch. Being an international team, it means a lot when you have someone supporting you. Having the chance to do that twice a year is kind of rare, and it’s amazing. It’s not like having your parents out here, but your friends or even your teammates’ parents become your across the ocean parents. It’s nice that they can come out and see us compete at home.”

MBB: Georgia (14-5, 4-2 SEC) at Florida (13-6, 3-3 SEC) tonight

Date: Saturday, January 27

Time: 12:00 p.m. ET

Venue: Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center (10,151)

Location: Gainesville, F.a.

Series History: UF leads, 122-105

Last Meeting: UF, 77-67, on 2/28/23

TV: ESPN2 (Roy Philpott, play-by-play; Brooke Weisbrod, color analyst)

Radio: Georgia Bulldog Network – SiriusXM 380 (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, color analyst; Adam Gillespie, producer)

The Starting Five

• Georgia returns to the road on Saturday when the Bulldogs trek to Gainesville and face the Florida Gators for the 228th time in series history. UGA has faced UF in hoops more than any other foe.

• Georgia entered the weekend ranked No. 20 nationally in bench points at 29.7 ppg. The Bulldogs’ reserves have won the bench point battle in 17 of 19 games to date and currently sport a scoring margin of +245 (+12.9 ppg).

• Georgia is one of three teams with a higher scoring offense in SEC games over non-conference play. Three Bulldogs have upped their production signficantly in league outings – Silas Demary Jr. from 8.5-13.8 ppg (+5.3), Justin Hill from 8.5-10.3 ppg (+1.8) and Jabri Abdur-Rahim from 13.2-14.8 ppg (+1.6).

• After compiling an assist-to-turnover ratio of 0.93 (87-to-94) in the first eight games, Georgia’s effort has improved considerably to 1.20 (149-124) in the last 11 outings.

• Georgia’s 10-game winning streak, the Bulldogs’ fourth-longest ever and the longest since the 1947-48 season, was snapped with a setback to No. 5 Tennessee in UGA’s last home game on Jan. 13.

The Opening Tip

Georgia travels to Gainesville on Saturday for a matinee matchup with the Florida Gators tipping at noon at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Georgia is currently 14-5 overall and 4-2 in SEC play – two victories shy of matching the Bulldogs’ overall and SEC win totals from a year ago with 12 regular-season outings remaining.

The 2023-24 campaign has been a streaky one for Georgia.

The Bulldogs put together a 10-game winning streak from Nov. 24-Jan. 10, their longest string of success in 75 years since the 1947-48 season.

Georgia also won 10 consecutive games at Stegeman Coliseum, matching the Dogs’ seventh-longest home winning streak ever and their fifth-longest since moving into the Coliseum in 1964. 

Georgia won its first three road outings at Florida State, Missouri and South Carolina. The modest three-game winning streak made the Bulldogs – who were a combined 1-20 on the road over the past two seasons – one of the last five (of 362) D-I teams with an undefeated road record.

Jabri Abdur-Rahim leads Georgia offensively at 13.7 ppg. The senior from South Orange, N.J. exploded for a career-high 34 points against No. 8/10 Kentucky last Saturday at Rupp Arena. Abdur-Rahim entered the weekend ranked No. 3 in the SEC in both 3-point and free throw percentage, with team-leading shooting efforts of .405 and .879.

Noah Thomasson and Silas Demary Jr. also are scoring at a double-digit pace for the Bulldogs at 12.1 ppg and 10.2 ppg, respectively. RJ Melendez is three points shy of a double-figure average at 9.8 ppg. Justin Hill is contributing 9.1 ppg and is the best Bulldog at assisting others’ scoring, distributing 3.4 apg with a solid assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.37.

Among UGA’s career leaders…

Jabri Abdur-Rahim is

• 1 3FGs from No. 16 Turtle Jackson

• 7 3FGs from No. 15 Terrance Woodbury

• 7 3FGAs from No. 19 Michael Chadwick

• 15 3FGAs from No. 18 Rashad Wright

Career statistics wise…

Justin Hill is

• 13 points from 1,200

Scouting The Gators

Florida enters Saturday’s matchup sporting records of 13-6 overall and 3-3 in the SEC following Thursday’s victory over Mississippi State. 

The Gators sport one of the SEC’s most productive and balanced offenses, with five players scoring at a double-digit pace. Walter Clayton Jr. leads Florida at 15.8 ppg, followed by Zyon Pullin at 14.6 ppg and a team-most 4.6 apg, Tyrese Samuel at 13.5 ppg and a team-high 8.3 rpg, Will Richard at 11.4 ppg and Riley Kugel at 10.9 ppg.

Like Georgia, the Gators played a Power Conference-heavy non-conference slate, with five outings against other Power 6 opponents. UGA and UF also have played four of the same six SEC opponents to date. All told, the Bulldogs and Gators have had six common opponents – Arkansas, Florida State, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and Wake Forest.

Series History With Florida

Florida possesses a 122-105 overall edge in the all-time series between the Bulldogs and the Gators.

UGA and UF last met on Feb. 28 in Athens last season, with Georgia dropping a 77-67 decision. 

Kario Oquendo led a trio of Bulldogs in double figures with 20 points. Justin Hill added 16 points and four assists, while Braelen Bridges chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds.

Florida gained the game’s first significant lead by using an 11-0 surge to go up 37-28 with 2:18 left in the first half. The Gators completed the period with a 3-pointer to grab their first double-digit advantage, 43-33, at the intermission.

Georgia got within a single possession on three occasions, lastly at 60-57 with 6:50 remaining. Florida answered with back-to-back jumpers and never allowed Georgia closer than five points thereafter.

Earlier last season on Jan. 7 in Gainesville, Terry Roberts’ 25-point outburst led Georgia in an 82-75 setback at Exactech Arena. Jabri Abdur-Rahim and Braelen Bridges added 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Bulldogs.

Georgia built an early double-digit lead that maxed out at 23-10 at the 10:32 mark of the first half before the Gators responded with a 21-4 surge to end period with a 39-34 lead.

Florida built its own 13-point advantage at 61-48 before Georgia rallied. The Bulldogs cut the gap to three on four occasions but could not complete the comeback. The Gators led 78-75 with 23 seconds remaining. Following a Georgia miss, Kyle Lofton hit both ends of a one-and-one to ice the victory for Florida.

Gators Are Georgia’s Most Frequent Foe

Georgia and Florida will face off for the 228th time on Saturday, the most games the Bulldogs have played against any opponent. Rounding out the top-5 in games played against Georgia are Georgia Tech with 199, Auburn with 197, Tennessee with 161 and Kentucky with 160.

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Greg is closing in on 15 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.

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