No. 8 Lady Dogs riding momentum to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech

Georgia’s rivalry with Georgia Tech has become more than just an opportunity for Atlanta natives to play in front of their hometown supporters.

The last two times the Lady Bulldogs went to Midtown Atlanta, the Yellow Jackets stung them with unexpected losses.

This time Georgia puts its unbeaten record on the line when it travels to Georgia Tech. This will also be the last time Georgia’s Atlanta-based seniors will play a regular-season game in their home town.

“You know, all I was thinking about was winning and playing hard,” Georgia senior post Tamika Willis said. “But it is going to be the last time we’re playing there. Time goes by fast. When I played there the first time, I was really nervous. But now I know what to expect. But it is going to be the last time and that’s sad.”

No. 8-ranked Georgia (8-0) will travel to Georgia Tech (3-3) for the annual meeting with its biggest instate rival. Tipoff is at 2 p.m. today at Georgia Tech’s newly-refurbished McCamish Pavilion.

“It’s just another game on one hand, but it’s a chance to play close to home where a lot of people who can’t make the trip up here (Athens) can come and watch,” Georgia senior Anne Marie Armstrong said. “It will be fun to have a bunch of fans there. A lot of us are from Atlanta so I think we’re going to have a lot of support there. It’s a huge rivalry game like always.”

Georgia has five players who are either from the Atlanta area or went to high school there, including seniors Willis (College Park) and Armstrong (Norcross).

Junior Khaalidah Miller (Atlanta), will also make her final appearance at Georgia Tech before the rivalry shifts to Athens next season. Georgia will play at least one postseason game in the Atlanta area. The Southeastern Conference Tournament is in Duluth in March.

“The rivalry has definitely developed,” Armstrong said. “We used to beat them pretty well in Coach (Andy) Landers’ first years here. But they’ve gotten a lot better and really developed. It’s been a really tough game for us the last few years.”

Georgia is 30-4 all-time against Georgia Tech. But the Yellow Jackets have won the last two times they’ve played in Atlanta, 69-53 in 2010 and 57-42 in 2008.

“It is a big rivalry but we’re just going to go out there and prepare like we always do,” Willis said. “We’ve got to make sure we prepare as much as we can so we can have our mind focused to make sure it wasn’t
like the last time we played down there.”

Georgia has rocketed to an 8-0 start and has been beating teams by an average of 27.6 points a game. Georgia comes off of an 83-47 win against Furman on Wednesday while Georgia Tech comes off of an 85-73 road loss to No. 14-ranked Purdue on Wednesday.

“We’re a solid 8-0,” Landers said. “I think we’ve out-performed everyone we’ve played against. I’ve been very pleased with the consistency of their effort and their attitude toward practice. The togetherness that they’ve had in terms of team camaraderie, all that’s been really pleasing. I’m not surprised. I didn’t expect it to be bad. When something is good consistently from the first day you’ve started to today, it makes you pretty happy.”

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