Georgia and Texas A&M might not have the same teams that met two seasons ago.
But some of the Lady Bulldogs who played recall that game and the 41-point defeat vividly.
“I remember it like yesterday,” Georgia senior Tamika Willis said. “I remember it all. It really stuck with me. I feel like we just didn’t play very well. It makes you want to come back out and try to correct all the things that went wrong that much more. We came out flat and that was such a bad way to end the season.”
No. 13-ranked Georgia (16-2, 4-1 in the Southeastern Conference) will meet No. 20-ranked Texas A&M (13-5, 3-1) for the first time since 2011 when the Lady Bulldogs host the Aggies at 5 p.m. today in Stegeman Coliseum.
“We came out in that game really flat,” Georgia senior Jasmine James said. “We know that we’ve got to come out ready to play right from the jump. We can’t afford to come out and play flat like we did last night (57-53 win Thursday at Arkansas) or like we did two years ago in that Texas A&M game. As far as extra motivation goes, I’d say it weighs the same as any other SEC game.”
Georgia met Texas A&M in the Sweet 16 of the 2011 NCAA Tournament in Dallas, Texas. Texas A&M mashed the Lady Bulldogs 79-38 en route to the national championship. The 41-point margin of defeat is Georgia’s largest in a postseason game and second-largest in the history of the program.
“It makes you want to play harder,” Willis said. “It’s kind of like getting to play a re-do or a do-over. It proves that you’ve got to compete a lot better to win. It was a disappointing way to end that season and makes you hunger more to do a lot better. Nobody wants to lose but especially the way that we lost with that big point gap.”
Georgia has five players, including four starters, who took the floor against the Aggies that night — Anne Marie Armstrong, Jasmine Hassell, James and Willis were sophomores at the time and Khaalidah Miller was a freshman. But Georgia also has seven freshmen and sophomores who weren’t there for lopsided defeat.
“Neither team is really the same from back then,” James said. “They graduated out and we brought in some really good kids as well. We have a bunch of young players who have no knowledge of what happened in that game so I’m not sure it’s going to affect us too much.”
The setting and the teams have changed dramatically for this meeting. Texas A&M only has five players left from that national championship squad and is playing its first season in the SEC. An influx of quality freshmen have given Georgia more depth than it’s had in several years.
“It’s been a long time ago,” Georgia coach Andy Landers said. “It’s two totally different teams, really. It’s two totally different circumstances. We’re different. They’re different. They were national champions that year. They were the best team in the country. We missed a lot of shots when we opened the game. We missed a lot of layups. We got off to a bad start and never were able to work out of it.”
A CLOSER LOOK
No. 20 Texas A&M at No. 13 Georgia
When: 5 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Stegeman Coliseum.
Radio: WRFC 960-AM.
Records: Georgia is 16-2, 4-1 in the SEC; Texas A&M is 13-5, 3-1.
Rankings: Georgia is No. 13, Texas A&M is No. 20.
Probable starting lineups:
Texas A&M: G Adrienne Pratcher (Sr., 5-7, 7.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg); G Courtney Walker (5-8, Fr., 10.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg); G Courtney Williams, (Fr., 5.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg); F Kristi Bellock (Sr., 6-1, 9.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg); F Kelsey Bone (Jr., 6-4, 18.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg).
Georgia: G Jasmine James (Sr., 5-9, 12.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg); G Khaalidah Miller (Jr., 5-9, 9.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg); G Shacobia Barbee (Fr., 5-10, 5.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg); F Anne Marie Armstrong (Sr., 6-3, 7.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg); F Jasmine Hassell (Sr., 6-2, 12.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg).
Series record: Texas A&M leads 1-0.
Last meeting: Texas &M beat Georgia 79-38 in the Sweet 16 of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
Season at a glance: Georgia has won three three straight and beat Arkansas 57-53 on the road on Thursday. Texas A&M has won three of four conference games and beat Auburn 78-56 last Sunday.
Noteworthy: Georgia’s Jasmine James and Texas A&M’s Adrienne Pratcher are both from Memphis, Tenn. James and Pratcher played AAU ball together for the Memphis Elite for six years. … Georgia freshman Shacobia Barbee set career highs with 15 points and 11 rebounds in Thursday’s win at Arkansas. … James played all 40 minutes against Arkansas. It was the first time she has played 40 minutes this season. … Freshman point guard Marjorie Butler (knee) and freshman forward Merritt Hempe (foot) were held out of the Arkansas game but should be available against Texas A&M. … Texas A&M forward Kelsey Bone leads the SEC in both scoring average (18.3) and rebound average (10.3). She has had double-doubles in the last five games. Bone is a transfer from South Carolina who was the 2010 AP conference newcomer of the year. … Texas A&M comes off of the conference bye and has not played since Sunday.