Anne Marie Armstrong thought her preseason goals took just a minor hit when she sprained an ankle during the offseason. Four weeks, she was told, and she would be back with her team at full strength.
More than nine weeks later, Georgia’s 6-foot-3 senior guard/forward said she was still waiting to get back to work in her old capacity.
But Armstrong said she was diligent about her rehab and
poured her efforts into what she could control and is in the midst of her best shooting season yet as the No. 6 Lady Bulldogs (12-0) play at Illinois at 8 p.m.
“Having an injury was definitely frustrating, especially when we were working during the summer and we just thought
it was a sprain and it would just be four weeks,” Armstrong said. “… It took some time to get back into the swing of things, like laterals and just jumping, but it’s really coming back now. It was definitely frustrating for a while, though.”
While limited in what she could do, Armstrong said she worked on cardio routines and shooting, which did not put too much stress on the injury.
“Coach (Andy Landers) has been through this type of injury a few times, and he was really experienced in knowing what was the best thing for that,” Armstrong said. “There were certain things I could do in practice, but if they did a defensive drill with a lot of lateral movement, he would
let me sit it out and not push it too hard so it would be ready for games. And we had a lot of games (early in the season), some every other day or at least every Thursday, and playing on it just 20 or 30 minutes would make it
The injury may have slowed Armstrong’s preseason routine, but it hasn’t done much to cool off her mid-season pace.
She has started nine games and played in all 12 with an average of 24.3 minutes a game while shooting 45 percent and a team-high 87 percent from the free-throw line for 8.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Her season-high 15 points came in a 93-42 rout of Lipscomb on Dec. 14, and she has scored 14 points twice, including in the Lady Bulldogs’ 72-59 victory at TCU just before the holiday break.
“I’m definitely shooting more confidently,” said Armstrong, who needs 127 more points to reach 1,000 for her career. “And I’m able to shoot a lot when I have the ball because all the shots people are opening up for us with Jasmine James and freshman Shacobia Barbee doing a great job of finding the open player.”
Now Armstrong and the Lady Bulldogs are looking for another big night in Champaign, Ill., the site of the team’s game before it dives into Southeastern Conference play beginning Jan. 3 when it hosts Missouri.
“I think we’re looking forward to a challenge,” Armstrong said. “Every road game is a challenge in itself. But I think we’re up to that because every game for us, especially on the road, is another game to prove ourselves.”
No. 6 Georgia at Illinois
When: 8 p.m.
Where: Assembly Hall, Champaign, Ill.
Radio: WRFC 960-AM
Records: Georgia is 12-0; Illinois is 6-5.
Rankings: Georgia is No. 6; Illinois is unranked.
Probable starting lineups: Georgia: G Jasmine James (Sr., 5-9, 11.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg); G Khaalidah Miller (Jr., 5-9, 8.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg); G Shacobia Barbee (Fr., 5-10, 5.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg); F Anne Marie Armstrong (Sr., 6-3, 8.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg); Jasmine Hassell (Sr., 6-2, 12.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg). Illinois: F Amber Moore (Jr., 5-11, 13.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg); F Kersten Magrum (Jr., 6-1, 6.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg); C Karisma Penn (Sr., 6-2, 19.2 ppg, 10.1 rpg); G Ivory Crawford (So., 5-10, 15.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg); G Alexis Smith (So., 5-9, 9.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg).
Series record: Georgia leads 2-1.
Last meeting: Georgia won 100-59 on Jan. 4, 2001.
Season at a glance: Georgia is one of seven remaining undefeated Division I basketball teams and is headed to Illinois for its final tuneup before the Southeastern Conference schedule begins with Missouri visiting Stegeman Coliseum on Jan. 3. Illinois, which is coming off a 69-68 loss to Illinois State on Dec. 21, wraps up non-conference play tonight.
Noteworthy: Georgia senior Anne Marie Armstrong needs 127 more points to reach the 1,000 career points. … The Lady Bulldogs’ 12-0 start is the team’s fifth-best start and marks the 19th double-digit win streak in the program’s history.… Through games played by Dec. 17, the Lady Bulldogs ranked in the nation’s top 10 in five categories: turnover margin (No. 2, plus-11.9); scoring defense (No. 4, 45.2); scoring margin (No. 4, plus-29.5); assist-to-turnover ratio (No. 4, 1.33); and steals per game (No. 7, 14.5). … Georgia’s Jasmine James has 1,186 career points and needs two points to tie Angel Robinson at No. 23 on the team’s all-time scoring list. … Georgia is 25-8 all-time against schools currently in the Big Ten. … Illinois ranks third in the Big Ten in scoring (73.6 ppg) and is averaging 11.2 more points per game than it did through last season’s first 11 games.