Georgia’s bye week gave the team a chance for some introspection coming off of a lackluster loss against Texas A&M.
That contemplation turned into soul-searching when coach Andy Landers barred the team from the gym for a day after a dreadful shootaround.
“Our focus was to get focused,” Landers said. “From a purely basketball standpoint, it hasn’t been very productive. I went recruiting Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and left them here to do shooting workouts. The first one was so bad I canceled the second one from the road and then locked them out of the gym on Wednesday.”
Georgia (16-3, 4-2 in the Southeastern Conference) hosts Florida (13-7, 2-4) today with a 1 p.m. tipoff at Stegeman Coliseum. The Lady Bulldogs have not played since a disappointing 64-46 home loss to Texas A&M on Jan. 20, when they shot 29.1 percent from the field.
“We did a self check and a team check,” Georgia senior Jasmine Hassell said. “We haven’t been playing the best basketball that we’re capable of playing and that we should be playing. We only have 11 games left and it’s time to get better. Really, we haven’t played a good game in a long time. It’s time for us to show up.”
Georgia began the season with a 12-game winning streak and at one time was ranked as high as No. 6 in the Associated Press top-25 poll. After the holiday break, Georgia began to sputter and has not scored more than 57 points in its last three games.
“Everybody took that (Texas A&M) loss really bad,” Georgia junior Khaalidah Miller said. “We got together and talked about what we need to change as a team. That was a bad loss. But if you remember, at Arkansas (the game before Texas A&M) we barely came back and pulled it through. The past couple of games we haven’t played to the best of our ability. So we sat down as a team and talked about it and assessed it and talked about what our goals are and what we need to do to do what we need to get done.”
Georgia only scored 16 points in the first half against Texas A&M and trailed by as many as 27 in the second half. The team’s lack of effective response, especially at home, challenged its competitive spirit.
“We need to play harder and hold each other more accountable,” Hassell said. “We need to be more intense and have that fight. We need to have that attitude that we’re never going to back down to anybody and come out very aggressive and get it done. The last couple of games we just haven’t had any fight. Texas A&M really exposed that. We didn’t have any fight. The upperclassmen didn’t have any fight. We need to step up because we haven’t showed the best team we can be. It’s time to do it because time is running out.”
Georgia made a mild run at then-No. 20 Texas A&M in the second half, but the 18-point difference looked somewhat closer than the game felt.
“I felt it was a multitude of things,” Miller said. “We had a lack of fight. We weren’t being very passionate on the floor and we backed down to the challenge. At some point in the game everybody did it. As a team, we’ve got to keep it pulled together and when we come up against a good team, we need to play and fight hard and finally get a win against a really good team.”
When Georgia followed up a listless loss with a poor practice while Landers was out of town on a three-day recruiting trip, he got the team’s attention by locking the gym until he returned.
“I hope that they got reacquainted with themselves because I think we had gotten somewhat dysfunctional as a team,” Landers said. “I think we’re somewhat broken, that’s what I told them. We’re broke from a team standpoint and an interactive standpoint. When I took the starters out on Sunday (against Texas A&M), they didn’t cheer for a soul; they just sat there. That’s broke. That’s pretty sad right there. That’s not good. We’ll see where we’re at now.”
Florida at Georgia
When: 1 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Stegeman Coliseum.
Radio: WRFC 960-AM.
Records: Georgia is 16-3, 4-2 in the SEC; Florida is 13-7, 2-4.
Rankings: Georgia is No. 14, Florida is unranked.
Probable starting lineups: Florida: G Jaterra Bonds (Jr., 5-7, 12.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg); G Carlie Needles (Fr., 5-6, 7.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg); G January Miller (Fr., 5-8, 5.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg); G Sydney Moss (Fr., 5-11, 10.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg); G Kayla Lewis (So., 6-0, 8.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg). Georgia: G Jasmine James (Sr., 5-9, 11.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg); G Khaalidah Miller (Jr., 5-9, 9.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg); G Shacobia Barbee (Fr., 5-10, 6.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg); F Anne Marie Armstrong (Sr., 6-3, 6.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg); F Jasmine Hassell (Sr., 6-2, 12.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg).
Series record: Georgia leads 46-14, including 25-3 in Athens.
Last meeting: Florida beat Georgia 61-57 last season in Gainesville, Fla.
Seasons at a glance: Georgia’s three-game conference winning streak was snapped last Sunday with a 64-46 home loss against Texas A&M. Florida has dropped its last three games and lost 88-81 at home on Thursday to Ole Miss.
Noteworthy: Georgia comes off a conference bye and has not played since last Sunday against Texas A&M. … Georgia will participate in the Play 4Kay initiative and will wear pink uniforms. … Jasmine James is three steals away from Carla Green-Williams for No. 8 on Georgia’s all-time list. Williams is now a senior executive associate athletic director at Georgia and is her old coach Andy Landers’ boss. … Anne Marie Armstrong is two blocks from Wanda Holloway for 10th on Georgia’s career list. … Florida’s leading scorer and rebounder, Jennifer George, returned against Ole Miss after missing the previous game with an injured shoulder. She had six points and five rebounds in 23 minutes against Ole Miss on Thursday. … Georgia and Florida have split the last eight meetings with each team winning at home. … Each of the last seven games in the series have been decided by nine or fewer points. … Florida’s current three-game losing streak has come at home. … Florida has two players from Georgia: Kayla Lewis (Decatur) and Christin Mercer (Douglasville).