Layups are supposed to be basketball’s easiest shot.
But they can get really difficult at times.
Georgia blew more than 20 chip shots in its last game, but still managed to come away with a win.
“It’s all about concentration and focusing and determination to get the ball to the basket,” Georgia forward Jasmine Hassell said. “But most of all it’s a lot of concentration.”
Georgia (20-3, 8-2 Southeastern Conference) will try to put its gimme woes in the rear-view mirror when it travels to LSU (13-10, 4-6) today. Tipoff is at 1:30 p.m. at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La.
“You have to focus and you have to finish better with contact,” Georgia guard Khaalidah Miller said. “That’s what happened last night (Thursday against Auburn). You have to focus more on making those open layups, and those chip shots as well.”
Georgia coach Andy Landers counted 21 missed shots from within three feet of the basket in the Lady Bulldogs’ 61-58 win against Auburn on Thursday. The biggest problem with a layup slump is there’s not many ways to correct it without risk of turning a little problem into a bigger problem.
“We coach post moves, we coach defense and we coach one-on-one moves, but we shouldn’t have to coach layups,” Landers said. “It’s like with a men’s team and you’re missing dunks. Are you going to work on dunks? No, it just happens. I firmly believe that if you go out there and work on it, mentally you could go the other direction.”
Georgia shot 29 percent from the field against Auburn on Thursday with the abundance of missed chip shots accounting for much of the damage. Georgia also struggled with missed layups when it shot 34.3 percent against Alabama on Jan. 31 and still won 65-59.
“It can get in your head because I’ve done that before,” Miller said. “It’s mental. It’s a focus thing. You’ve got to focus on making sure those shots go down.”
Although making a close-in shot should be easy, getting one in the first place can be difficult, especially in the halfcourt offense. Defenses often slump inside to shut off passes into the lane and a forest of arms usually bar the most direct flight path to the basket.
“You’ve got to hit it in the right spot and that comes with concentration,” Hassell said. “You’ve got to go up strong and make sure you get the shot off. You can’t short-arm it. You’ve got to concentrate and keep repeating what you’re doing in practice.”
Although concentration might have lacked against Auburn and Alabama, it didn’t when Georgia beat Kentucky 75-71 on Sunday at Kentucky. Georgia converted most of its short shots which helped the Lady Bulldogs rally from a double-digit deficit in the second half.
“You’ve got to work on getting inside,” Hassell said. “You’ve got to work hard to get the ball in there where you can take a short shot like that. Once you get in there, you want to reap that reward of making the shot. If you’re not reaping the reward, you’re just doing all that hard work for nothing. It’s all about concentrating.”
Converting layups and chip shots will be at a premium against a team like LSU that has historically fielded one of the toughest defenses in the league. Georgia has scored more than 57 points against LSU just once in its last seven meetings with the Tigers.
“It’s really important to hit those shots because the team you’re playing against is probably hitting those shots,” Landers said. “You’re getting behind every time you miss one. That’s a high, high percentage shot. The second thing that happens is that players notice and it gets on their mind and chances their mental state. It’s one thing to miss a tough shot. But when you miss an easy shot, you can think about it all the way down to the other end of the floor.”
Georgia at LSU
When: 1:30 p.m. Eastern on Sunday.
Where: Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Baton Rouge, La.
Radio: WRFC 960-AM.
Records: Georgia is 20-3, 8-2 in the SEC; LSU is 13-10, 4-6.
Rankings: Georgia is No. 9, LSU is unranked.
Probable starting lineups:
LSU: Danielle Ballard (Fr., 5-9, 12.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg); G Adrienne Webb (Sr., 5-9, 13.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg); G Anne Pedersen (Fr., 6-1, 1.5 ppg, 1.0 rpg); F Theresa Plaisance (Jr., 6-5, 18.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg); C Shanece McKinney (Jr., 6-4, 3.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg).
Georgia: G Jasmine James (Sr., 5-9, 11.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg); G Khaalida Miller (Jr., 5-9, 10.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg); G Shacobia Barbee (Fr., 5-10, 6.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg); F Anne Marie Armstrong (Sr., 6-3, 7.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg); F Jasmine Hassell (Sr., 6-2, 11.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg).
Series record: Georgia leads 21-17 but LSU leads 8-6 in Baton Rouge.
Last meeting: Georgia beat LSU 62-46 in the 2012 regular-season finale in Athens.
Season at a glance: Georgia has won four straight and comes off of a 61-58 victory against Auburn on Thursday. LSU has lost three of its last four and was beaten 64-62 on Thursday by Tennessee.
Noteworthy: Georgia secured its 20th win of the season against Auburn on Thursday giving the Lady Bulldogs 28 20-win seasons with Andy Landers. … Georgia freshman guard Shacobia Barbee leads the team in rebounds (134) and is second in steals and assists. … Landers is three wins away from No. 900 in his career. … Khaalida Miller is three 3-pointers away from Megan Darrah who is sixth on Georgia’s all-time list. . … Jasmine Hassell and Jasmine James are the only Lady Bulldogs to start every game so far this season. … Georgia is in a three-way tie with Kentucky and South Carolina for third place in the SEC, one game behind Tennessee and Texas A&M. … LSU has beaten Georgia six straight times in Baton Rouge. … LSU fell to Tennessee on Thursday on a steal and layup by Bashaara Graves with 0.8 seconds left. … LSU’s Theresa Plaisance leads the SEC in scoring at 18.0 points a game.