If there’s a dirty job, Shacobia Barbee will do it.
Barbee has carved out a niche at Georgia by excelling at blue-collar duties in her freshman season.
“When I’m focusing on the defensive end, the hustle plays just come,” Barbee said. “The assists and the rebounds isn’t something that I go out with the mindset to try to do. There’s always that one player on a team that every team needs, that’s going out and doing all the hustle plays. I enjoy that part.
“The scoring is fine. It’s not a big deal with me. I like the little stuff. The normal person watching the game might not notice it. But if you look at the box score at the assists and steals and deflections and stuff like that, I enjoy that a lot.”
No. 6 Georgia (11-0) travels to Texas Christian (5-3) for an 8 p.m. tipoff today at Daniel Meyer Coliseum. This is Georgia’s second road trip of the season.
Barbee, a 5-foot-10 freshman from Murfreesboro, Tenn., has started all but one game this season.
“She’s having a great season so far,” Georgia senior Jasmine James said. “She’s just a really smart player. She’s really comfortable when she gets out there and she does what she’s good at — hustle plays, rebounds. She does the things that it’s almost like nobody else wants to do. That’s what makes her so great. It’s just really fun to be able to play with her because she just gets out there and she really gets after it.”
Barbee leads the Lady Bulldogs in assists (38) and steals (30) and is second in rebounding (5.3 per game). On a team that has featured scoring balance, she is averaging 4.7 points a game and scored a career-high 13 points on Sunday against Lipscomb.
“She’s being solid and she’s doing things that are critical and are the lifeblood to winning that a lot of people don’t want to do,” Georgia coach Andy Landers said. “She’s passing. She’s rebounding. She’s taking charges. She’s guarding people. She’s deflecting balls. People know who scored the points. But they rarely know who had the most deflections or who drew the charges. Those are the kinds of things that, at the end of the day, have greater or equal value than anything else that happens.”
Freshmen usually start their college careers with only a mild interest in defense and rebounding because they’ve never been required to do it before. But Barbee has embraced the hustle board and so far this season nobody else on the team has filled it in as many areas.
“That’s huge for our team,” James said. “There are so many games when I can go back and see the difference that she makes, whether it’s a simple hustle play or a steal or even an offensive rebound and put-back. The small things that she does that help make us a much better team.”
Barbee made a start in Georgia’s season opener against Rutgers and became the 22nd Lady Bulldog under Landers to start in her collegiate debut.
“My nerves were so bad when we played that first game,” Barbee said. “I just tried to do the best I could and do whatever coach asked me. He told me to concentrate on defense part. I was just trying to do everything like he said and do it correctly and not make any mistakes but you’re always going to make a mistake. Freshmen make a lot of mistakes. But I’ve enjoyed it and playing the the group of girls that I’m playing with is just amazing.”
Georgia at Texas Christian
When: 8 p.m.
Where: Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, Fort Worth, Texas.
Radio: WRFC 960-AM.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest.
Records: Georgia is 11-0, TCU is 5-3.
Rankings: Georgia is No. 6, TCU is unranked.
Probable starting lineups: TCU: G Zahna Medley (Fr., 5-6, 15.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg); G Camy Cole, Fr., 5-9, 10.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg); F Natalie Ventress (So., 5-10, 14.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg); F Veja Hamilton (Fr., 5-10, 5.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg); F Latricia Lovings (Jr., 6-3, 5.5 ppg, 9.3 rpg). Georgia: G Jasmine James (Sr., 5-9, 11.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg); G Khaalidah Miller (Jr., 5-9, 9.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg); G Shacobia Barbee (Fr., 5-10, 4.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg); F Anne Marie Armstrong (Sr., 6-3, 8.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg); Jasmine Hassell (Sr., 6-2, 12.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg).
Series record: Georgia leads 5-1.
Last meeting: Georgia beat TCU 83-60 last season in Athens.
Season at a glance: Georgia has won 11 straight to start the season for the first time since winning its first 16 in 2009-10. TCU has won four of its last five and comes off of a 67-60 victory against Sam Houston State last Sunday.
Noteworthy: Anne Marie Armstrong has played some of her best games against TCU. In 2010 she hit a 25-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer as Georgia beat the Horned Frogs 60-57 in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. Last season she scored a career-high 22 points with eight rebounds and five steals in Georgia’s 83-60 win. … Georgia freshman forward Merritt Hempe is questionable while resting a bruised foot. … This will be Georgia’s last game before the holiday. Georgia next plays at Illinois on Dec. 28. … Georgia is one of eight unbeaten teams in NCAA Division I. … Georgia is looking for its sixth 12-0 start in Andy Landers’ 34-season tenure at Georgia. … This is TCU’s first season in the Big 12. It lost 68-47 at Texas A&M on Dec. 8. Texas A&M is in its first season in the Southeastern Conference. … TCU guard Zahna Medley was named Big 12 Freshman of the Week on Monday. She scored 21 points and grabbed six rebounds in the Horned Frogs’ 67-60 win against Sam Houston State on Sunday.