The Lady Bulldogs have been turning the ball over at a rate that has frustrated coach Andy Landers in recent weeks.
John Kelley/UGA Sports Communications
Tiaria Griffin (3) goes for a loose ball during Georgia's game against Illinois on Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013 in Athens.
“We’ve turned the ball over excessively in the past three games, and it isn’t a function of being pressured. It’s rather just a basic lack of, at times, decision making or poor decision. And then at times, just poor execution in the fundamentals of passing and catching.”
No. 19 Georgia has committed 70 turnovers in the last three games — two losses and a win — after averaging 15 turnovers a game through its first 11 outings. The Lady Bulldogs’ struggles to maintain possession came to a head Thursday when they coughed it up 24 times at Vanderbilt. Those 24 turnovers led to 23 Commodore points in the Lady Bulldogs’ 66-63 loss.
“We have been kind of making some careless passes in practice and it kind of showed up in the game,” senior guard Khaalidah Miller said. “Well, it really did show up in the game.”
Added Landers: “I think that there’s just been a complacency with our basketball team that we’ve just gotten sloppy and somewhat careless in both our decision making and our execution.”
Georgia (12-2, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) can’t afford to give up any points when No. 5 Tennessee (11-2, 0-1) comes into Stegeman Coliseum at 4 p.m. today. The Lady Volunteers, who own a 44-15 series lead in the heated rivalry, have been outscoring opponents by an average of 23.6 points and outrebound their opponents consistently, pulling down 51.5 boards a game compared to their opponents’ 36.2. Georgia averages 43.6 boards a game.
“You’re talking about a very athletic team. You’re talking about a very talented team. There’s no individual weaknesses,” Landers said. “… They have the ability to hurt you inside. They have the ability to shoot it from the outside, drive it.”
Starting guard Meighan Simmons leads the Lady Volunteers in scoring, putting up 13.9 a game, while Tiaria Griffin leads Georgia with 13.4 points a game. And she does it coming off the bench, saying that she doesn’t mind playing that role.
“It goes beyond scoring,” Landers said. “We feel like she’s arguably our best on-the-ball defender. She does some things defensively very, very well when she comes in. In addition to that, has shot the ball well and made really some good decisions in shooting and driving.”
Griffin, who averages 2.5 steals a game, said last year’s 79-66 loss at Tennessee will be motivation for her and her teammates today.
“The Tennessee game is always a big game anyways, so I think we’ll come out pretty hard and try to get them off the jump,” she said.
NO. 5 TENNESSEE AT NO. 19 GEORGIA
When: 4 p.m. today
Where: Stegeman Coliseum
Radio: AM 960 The Ref in Athens; 103.7 FM from Gainesville
Records: Georgia is 12-2 overall, 0-1 in SEC; Tennessee is 11-2 and 0-1.
Last time out: Georgia is coming off a 66-63 loss at Vanderbilt and Tennessee is coming off an 80-77 loss against LSU.
Last time they met: Tennessee took it to Georgia in Knoxville in the teams’ last meeting, pulling of a 79-66 win.