Coach Andy Landers has seen Georgia do a lot of things well to start the season.
But that probably won’t hold up as the Lady Bulldogs (12-1) begin play in one of the most rugged conferences in the nation at 7 p.m. today when they host Missouri (11-3) in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
“I think our strength is that we’ve been consistently good in almost every category and not great in any,” Landers said. “We shoot the ball pretty good. We shoot the ball pretty good, not great. We rebound pretty good, not great. We take care of the ball pretty good, not great. Maybe the best thing we do is turn other teams over. It’s not like our success or failure depends on us doing one thing really well. If you’re going to win a conference championship you’re going to have to turn some of those goods into great. I like where we’re at. But we’re going need to turn some of those pretty goods into greats.”
Georgia comes off of its first loss, falling 70-59 at Illinois on Friday.
“SEC season has gotten here pretty fast, but it’s time to go right now,” Georgia guard Khaalidah Miller said. “I didn’t expect us to lose to Illinois. I think we just weren’t prepared going into that game like we have been in the past. We’ve got to learn from it, treat it as a learning experience and try to get ready for SEC.”
Georgia started the season on a roll and won 12 straight with a 28.1-point average margin of victory. But only two of those first 12 opponents came from major conferences, and its first loss came at the Big Ten’s Illinois.
“We learned that we can be beat by anybody at any time. It doesn’t matter about the rankings,” Miller said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re expected to be in the tournament or not, nobody cares. Every time you step on the floor, it’s going to be a fight to the finish. If it can happen to Illinois then it can happen to anybody in the SEC.”
Thursday’s SEC opener against Missouri represents a major jump in the quality of competition. A total of six of the 14 schools in the conference are in this week’s top 25, led by Kentucky at No. 6 and Georgia at No. 10. Georgia’s opponent on Sunday, Tennessee, is ranked No. 12.
“We’re playing good but we have a lot of things to improve on,” Georgia forward Jasmine Hassell said. “The other night against Illinois we lost focus. That game shows us that we need to work hard for every game and try to improve.”
Missouri at Georgia
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Stegeman Coliseum.
Radio: WRFC 960-AM.
TV: Premium portion of georgiadogs.com.
Records: Georgia is 12-1, 0-0 in the SEC; Missouri is 11-3, 0-0.
Rankings: Georgia is No. 10; Missouri is unranked.
Probable starting lineups: Missouri: G Lianna Doty (Fr., 5-7, 9.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg); G Kyley Simmons (Soph., 5-7, 3.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg); G Sydney Crafton (Sr., 5-10, 11.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg); F Bri Kulas (Jr., 6-1, 6.4 ppg, 14.6 rpg); F Liz Smith (Sr., 6-1, 5.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg). Georgia: G Jasmine James (Sr., 5-9, 11.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg); G Khaalidah Miller (Jr., 5-9, 9.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg); G Shacobia Barbee (Fr., 5-10, 5.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg); F Anne Marie Armstrong (Sr., 6-3, 8.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg); F Jasmine Hassell (Sr., 6-2, 12.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg).
Series record: Georgia leads 2-1.
Last meeting: Missouri beat Georgia 78-65 in the second round of the 2001 NCAA tournament.
Season at a glance: Georgia comes off of a 70-59 loss at Illinois, its first defeat of the season after winning 12 straight. Missouri had won seven straight before losing at Memphis 72-69 on Dec. 29.
Noteworthy: This is Missouri’s first game as part of the Southeastern Conference. … Georgia is 25-5 in conference openers, including a 14-2 record in Athens. … Freshman forward played briefly against TCU and Illinois after missing two games to rest an injured foot. … Georgia has two players shooting at least 50 percent from the floor: forward Jasmine Hassell (53.5 percent) and guard Erika Ford (53.7 percent). … Jasmine James is a career 26.9 percent shooter from the 3-point line but has only hit 1 of 11 so far this season. … Ford leads the team in both field goal shooting (53.7 percent) and 3-point shooting (52.2 percent. She has hit 12 of 23 from the arc. … Freshman guard Shacobia Barbee leads Georgia in assists (46), steals (35) and is second in rebounds (69), just two behind Hassel’s team-high 71. . … Senior guard Danielle Bennett is from Springfield, Mo. … Missouri leads the nation in 3-pointers made at 9.8 per game. … Missouri scored 110 points in a win against southern Illinois which is the most by an SEC team so far this season.