Georgia Lady Bulldogs (12-1) vs. Texas A&M Aggies (10-3)
Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016 | Reed Arena | 5 p.m. ET
TV: SEC Network (Paul Sunderland (PBP), Gail Goestenkors (Analyst))
Radio: Georgia Bulldog Radio Network by IMG (Jeff Dantzler, PBP)
Live Stats: GeorgiaDogs.com
ATHENS, Ga. — The Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball team is set to open Southeastern Conference play on Sunday when the squad heads to College Station, Texas, to take on No. 13/16 ranked Texas A&M at 5 p.m. ET.
The Lady Bulldogs enter the game on an 11-game win streak, while Texas A&M — the preseason No. 4 pick in the SEC — enters the contest following a 10-3 record in non-conference action.
For more information on the game, follow the Lady Bulldogs on Twitter (@UGA_WBB), Instagram (@uga_wbb) and Facebook (Georgia Women’s Basketball).
Opening Tip — Five Things To Know
– Georgia has won 11-straight games entering SEC play and is currently No. 16 in the RPI and receiving votes in both the AP and Coaches polls. Three of the Lady Bulldogs’ non-conference opponents have a top-25 RPI (No. 12 BYU, No. 14 Seton Hall, No. 24 Michigan State), and Texas A&M is the third ranked opponent Georgia has faced this season.
– The 12-1 start for head coach Joni Taylor ties for the third-best start by an SEC coach in his or her first season at a school since women’s basketball became an NCAA sport. Pokey Chatman (13-0, LSU in 2004-05) and Tom Collen (13-0, Arkansas in 2007-08) are the only two to have better starts through their first 13 games.
– Georgia has held each opponent to below 40 percent shooting this season and has held seven of its 13 opponents to their respective season lows in scoring. The Lady Bulldogs rank first in the SEC in scoring defense (49.8 ppg), FG pct. defense (31.9%) and 3-point FG pct. defense (24%). UGA is also No.1 in the league in assist/turnover ratio (1.43).
– Freshman forward Caliya Robinson was named the SEC Freshman of the Week this past week after nearly averaging a double-double with 8.0 ppg and 9.5 rpg in wins against Cincinnati and Tennessee Tech. Robinson is part of the Lady Bulldog frontcourt that ranks second in the SEC in rebounding with 45.1 rebounds per game. Shacobia Barbee, Merritt Hempe and Mackenzie Engram all rank in the top 20 in the league in rebounding.
– The Lady Bulldogs went 9-0 at home during the 2015-16 non-conference slate, preserving an NCAA leading 56-game home non-conference win streak that dates all the way back to the 2008-09 season.
A Georgia Win Would
– Be the Lady Bulldogs’ 12th-straight win of the season.
– Improve Georgia’s record to 13-1 under first-year head coach Joni Taylor.
– Give the Lady Bulldogs their first win against a ranked opponent on the road since the 2012-13 season when Georgia defeated then-No. 8 Kentucky, 75-71, on Feb. 3, 2013 in Lexington.
– Give UGA its second-straight win against Texas A&M. The last two meetings between the two programs have been decided by a combined eight points.
Overall: Texas A&M leads, 4-1
In Athens: Texas A&M leads, 2-1
In College Station: Texas A&M leads, 1-0
Neutral Sites: Texas A&M leads, 1-0
Current Streak: Georgia, 1-0
Last Meeting: Georgia won 54-51 (1/22/15) Athens
Scouting Texas A&M
Texas A&M, who enters Sunday’s contest ranked No. 13 in the nation, is the third ranked team the Lady Bulldogs have played this season. The Aggies have won 23 of their last 25 homes games inside Reed Arena and feature one of the top players in the SEC – Courtney Walker. Walker is the SEC active career leader in points and is fourth on A&M’s all-time scoring list. Texas A&M is coached by Hall of Fame member Gary Blair.
Last Time Out
Behind a career-high 25 points from redshirt junior Pachis Roberts, the Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball team closed out the nation’s longest active non-conference home-game winning streak with an 81-48 win over Tennessee Tech this past Monday in Stegeman Coliseum.
Roberts tied a season high for the Lady Bulldogs with her 25 points, finishing the night 10-for-13 with an unblemished 5-for-5 mark from behind the arc. The Georgia native also posted five rebounds to go along with three assists and two steals.
Along with Roberts, senior Merritt Hempe and freshman Caliya Robinson recorded double-digit points with 12 and 10, respectively. Robinson and sophomore Mackenzie Engram each grabbed a team-best nine rebounds, as the Lady Bulldogs outrebounded the Golden Eagles 49-27.
Robinson Garners SEC Honor
» Georgia freshman Caliya Robinson scored in double figures for the second time this season with 10 points and nine rebounds in the team’s last outing vs. Tennessee Tech, capping off an impressive week for the Georgia rookie. For her efforts, Robinson was named the SEC Freshman of the Week following a two-game streak where she averaged nearly a double-double with 8.5 ppg and 9.0 rpg. Robinson is the first Georgia player to win an SEC weekly honor this season.
Hot Start One Of Best In SEC History
» Head coach Joni Taylor has led her team to a 12-1 start, marking one of the top performances by a coach who is in his or her first season with a program. Only two other coaches — Tom Collen (Arkansas) and Pokey Chatman (LSU) — have had better starts to their first seasons with their respective programs. The Lady Bulldogs have outscored their opponents by an average of 21 points per game and have not let a team reach 60 points or more in 11 of 12 wins this season.
Dogs Getting Defensive
» Georgia has established itself as one of the top defensive teams in the SEC this season, holding each opponent to below 40 percent shooting and seven of 13 opponents to their respective season lows in scoring. In fact, earlier this year, Georgia tied a school record by holding Georgia Southern to just 28 points. Georgia ranks in the top-10 in the SEC and nationally in several statistical categories, including scoring defense, field-goal pct. defense and 3-pt. FG pct. defense.
Lady Dogs Sharing The Ball
» The Lady Bulldogs have proved to be one of the most unselfish teams in college basketball this season. Georgia ranks first in the SEC in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4) — an average that ranks eighth nationally. The Lady Bulldogs are averaging just 12.7 turnovers per game and have committed fewer turnovers than their opponents in 10 of 13 games.
Barbee Stealing The Show
» Lady Bulldog senior guard Shacobia Barbee is the current active career steals leader (6th nationally) in the Southeastern Conference with 244 through three and a half seasons, including 33 so far during the 2015-16 campaign — a total that is third in the SEC. She is averaging 2.5 steals per game (No. 4 in SEC) and has recorded two or more steals in 12 of 13 games this season.
Griffin Making Her Mark From The Arc
» Senior Tiaria Griffin, who currently ranks sixth in Georgia history with 177 career 3-point baskets, is fourth in the SEC in made 3-point field goals this season with 31. Griffin’s 177 career treys are the most by any current active player in the SEC.
56-Straight Is Nation’s Best
» The Lady Bulldogs’ 56-game home non-conference win streak ranks as the top mark in NCAA DI women’s basketball. Georgia’s last loss at home vs. a non-conference team came in 2008 — a 56-44 loss to Xavier on Dec. 30, 2008. Georgia has gone eight-straight seasons with an undefeated home non-conference record.
» 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.
Hempe Making A Difference
» Senior forward Merrit Hempe, who has recorded four double-doubles through 13 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, providing toiletries collection 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 an AAU coach and operations staff member. The 2015-16 Good Works Team will be released in February.
Win No. 900 For Georgia Basketball
» Not only was the win against Stetson the first of the Joni Taylor era, it was also the 900th victory in program history. Georgia is one of 13 programs in NCAA Division I women’s basketball to reach 900 wins or more. The Lady Bulldogs enter play this week with a 911-385 mark in 43 years as a program.
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.
FOLLOW THE LADY BULLDOGS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
For more information on the Georgia Lady Bulldogs, follow the team on Twitter at @UGA_WBB, Instagram (@uga_wbb), Facebook (Facebook.com/UGAWomensBasketball) and Snapchat (@uga_wbb).