The Georgia women’s basketball team has done its best to make Spokane, Wash., its home away from home this week.
The Lady Bulldogs hope that the time invested in the extended hotel stay rather than flying back and forth across the country will give them better footing when they face Stanford tonight in the Sweet 16 for the second time in four seasons.
“We’ve developed a routine out here in Spokane,” Georgia forward Jasmine Hassell said. “We still have our practice routine. We don’t go to classes, but we still have study hall like we are going to classes. It’s all really routine, and it’s pretty close to what we’d be doing at home, except we’re doing it here.”
Fourth-seeded Georgia (27-6) will play top-seeded Stanford (33-2) at about 9:04 p.m. today at Spokane Arena.
The winner advances to play the winner between sixth-seeded LSU (22-11) against second-seeded California (30-3) on Monday.
“I definitely like the way we’re doing it this time,” Georgia guard Jasmine James said. “It’s giving us an opportunity to rest. It’s not like we’re traveling all day to get back to go to school for one day and then traveling right back. We can take the day to practice and watch some film and have some study hall. But we get a chance to rest the majority of the day instead of traveling.”
Georgia had a nightmare travel schedule when it went to a western regional in 2010. The Lady Bulldogs won their first two games of the tournament in Tempe, Ariz., and immediately left after beating Oklahoma State in the second round. But the Oklahoma State game ended so late that they arrived back in Athens just in time for 8 a.m. classes. They had to depart to face Stanford in the Sweet 16 in Sacramento, Calif., the next day. Stanford beat Georgia 73-36, and the Lady Bulldogs came right back home.
“We will be a lot better prepared this time,” Georgia coach Andy Landers said. “Here’s what happened last time: We fly back, and we called that our off day. It wasn’t an off day. We traveled 3,000 miles. We were worn out. We went through every time zone in this country. We fly in. We unpack. Then we pack back 24 hours later and go back through those time zones. You talk about getting whacked out, any adjustment you think you might have made when you came here the first time is upset. Your body’s clock is out of whack and you’ve basically lost two days to travel.”
Most of Georgia’s current seniors were freshmen on that trip — Anne Marie Armstrong, Tamika Willis, Hassell and James. They have enjoyed the extended stay in Spokane much more this time.
“The order of things we do is pretty much the same as if we were back home,” James said. “… We’re still having practice and meetings and all that just like we were at home. It’s definitely a lot more restful than flying around in an airplane for two or three days.”
Georgia got flattened by Stanford in that 2010 Sweet 16 game. Although several key members return this year, both teams are very different. Georgia’s current seniors are far more experienced than they were as freshmen in 2010. The Lady Bulldogs are also a much deeper team and have used that depth throughout the season.
“I think we’re playing really good right now,” Hassell said. “Our defense has been showing up and showing out. That’s helping us on the offensive end. Our defense is what’s carried us so far because because we’re a team that our offense kind of sputters sometimes. But our defense makes up for it. When our defense shows up, we’re good to go.”
Georgia vs. Stanford
When: Approximately 9:04 p.m. Eastern on Saturday.
Where: Spokane Arena, Spokane, Wash.
Radio: WRFC 960-AM.
Records: Georgia is 27-6, Stanford is 33-2.
Seedings: Georgia is No. 4 in Spokane Regional; Stanford is No. 1.
How they got here: Georgia beat Montana 70-50 in the first round and Iowa State 72-60 in the second round. Stanford beat Tulsa 72-56 in the first round and Michigan 73-40 in the second round.
What’s next: Saturday’s winner will play the winner between No. 6-seeded LSU (22-11) and No. 2-seeded California (30-3) on Monday.
PROBABLE STARTING LINEUPS
Stanford: G Amber Orrange (5-7, So., 10.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg); G Sara James (Jr., 5-10, 5.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg); F Mikeala Ruef (Jr., 6-3, 4.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg); F Chiney Ogwumike (Jr., 6-4, 22.3 ppg, 13.0 rpg); F Joslyn Tinkle (Sr., 6-3, 11.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg).
Georgia: G Jasmine James (Sr., 5-9, 10.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg); G Tiaria Griffin (Fr., 5-7, 7.1 ppg 2.9 rpg); G Shacobia Barbee (Fr., 5-10, 7.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg); F Anne Marie Armstrong (Sr., 6-3, 7.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg); F Jasmine Hassell (Sr., 6-2, 12.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg).
NOTEWORTHY: Georgia is 3-7 all-time against Stanford and lost to the Cardinal 73-36 in the Sweet 16 in 2010, when the current seniors were freshmen. … Georgia set a school record by hitting 12 3-pointers against Iowa State last Monday. … Anne Marie Armstrong needs two points to reach 1,000 in her career. James and Hassell already have topped 1,000 points, so if Armstrong joins them, it would be just the second Georgia senior class to produce three 1,000 point scorers. The class of 1997’s LaKeshia Frett, Tracy Henderson and Kedra Holland-Corn were the first. … Stanford forward Chiney Ogwumike averages 22.3 points and 13.0 rebounds a game and is the focus of the Cardinal’s offense. … Georgia’s Andy Landers and Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer have combined for 1,564 wins at their respective schools. Landers has 822 in 34 seasons at Georgia and VanDerveer has 742 in 27 seasons at Stanford.