# 19 Georgia Lady Bulldogs (0-0) vs. Gardner-Webb Runnin ‘Bulldogs (0-1)
Thursday, November 11th | 7 p.m. ET | Athens, Georgia | Stegeman Coliseum (10,523)
Regard: SEC Network + (Matt Stewart and Mark Slonaker)
Hear: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network (Jeff Dantzler)
WGAU 98.7 FM and AM1340 and the Georgia Bulldogs app
»Georgia will open the 2021-22 season against the Gardner-Webb Runnin ‘Bulldogs this Thursday evening at the Stegeman Coliseum.
“Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET with Matt Stewart and Mark Slonaker calling the action on SEC Network +. Fans can also listen to the voice of the Lady Bulldogs, Jeff Dantzler. Dantzler has spent over two decades naming some of the best moments in Georgia sports history.
Georgia is 39-9 in the season opening games overall and has won 15 straight lid lifters from the 2005-06 season (L, 84-72 through No. 6 Baylor).
»The Lady Bulldogs have an overall record of 26-2 at home games at the start of the season. The team is under the leadership of Coach Taylor a perfect 5-0 at home.
“Alumni Que Morrison and Jenna Staiti return to run the Lady Bulldogs. Morrison and Staiti were Georgia’s top two scorers and rebounders last season, accounting for nearly 30 points and 15 rebounds per game. Overall, the Lady Bulldogs give back 83 percent of their points from last year’s team.
»Morrison and Staiti were each appointed to the preseason All-SEC second team in a vote by league coaches. Staiti was also added to the Lisa Leslie Prize watchlist for the Nation’s Best Center and the Naismith National Player of the Year watchlist.
“Each of the senior citizens in Georgia has already graduated from college. Malury Bates (Sociology), Mikayla Coombs (Sports Management), Morrison (Communication Studies), and Staiti (Human Resources Development and Family Studies) all graduated from the University of Georgia.
»2021 SEC Coach of the Year Joni Taylor enters her seventh season and leads the Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball program. Taylor was named a National Coach of the Year finalist after leading Georgia to the SEC tournament finals for the first time since 2004 and the highest NCAA tournament setting since 2007 (No. 3 set).
Georgia also welcomes the selection of the SEC All Freshman Team 2021, Sarah Ashlee Barker and Jordan Isaacs, who played all 28 games on 4th place last season.
“The Lady Bulldogs signed two McDonald’s All-Americans in the same recruiting class for the first time in program history last off-season. Guard Reigan Richardson and striker Jillian Hollingshead stand alongside Alina Sendar and Kimora Jenkins for their freshman season.
“Georgia and Gardner-Webb are only meeting for the second time in programming history. The Lady Bulldogs won the only previous competition between the two teams, 84-56, on December 22, 2019. Then-newcomer Javyn Nicholson hit a career high of 22 points with 10 rebounds en route to her first double-double. Gardner-Webb was held in this competition with a shooting performance of 29 percent as the Runnin ‘Bulldogs only hit 2 out of 10 in the fourth quarter.
Scout the enemy: Gardner-Webb
“The Runnin ‘Bulldogs were voted fifth in the Big South this year after breaking an overall record of 11-13 and a mark of 10-7 in the conference last season. The ‘Dogs’ list includes top returner Lauren Bevis, Jhessyka Williams, Alasia Smith and Ki’Ari Cain. The roster also includes four newbies split across transfers and freshers: L’Mia Littlejohn from Western Carolina University, Sarah Matthews from Gulf Coast State College (NJCAA), Sharkara Anderson, and Laken Cox.
Game tips for Georgia
Georgia ranks fourth on the SEC, # 19 on the national poll
“SEC trainers voted the Lady Bulldogs fourth in the annual preseason poll, just behind South Carolina, Texas A&M, and Tennessee. Georgia ranked 19th in the national trainer poll last season. Last season, the Lady Bulldogs ranked 10th in the Associated Press’ top 25 – their highest NCAA ranking since 2001.
“Coach Taylor’s teams lived by the mantra: ‘Not where you start, but where you stop.’ In four of their first six seasons, the Lady Bulldogs finished well ahead of their preseason rankings. The biggest jumps were in 2017-18 – when Georgia was voted eighth and finished second – and last season – when the team was voted ninth and fourth.
Georgia’s SEC rating under Joni Taylor
Season preseason rank SEC finish
2015-16 9. 6.
2016-17 August 12
2017-18 February 8 (draw)
2018-19 4. 7.
2019-20 10. 9.
2020-21 9. 4.
Staitis streak continues
“Jenna Staiti has become known as“ Steady Staiti ”for the past two seasons – and for good reason.
The Cumming, Georgia, native has double-digit in 32 of her last 37 games with 12 doubles and nine over 20-point efforts. It’s a remarkable statistic for the all-SEC center, especially when you look back on her first two years in college basketball.
During their freshman and sophomore campaigns, Staiti averaged 4.4 ppg and 1.7 rpg with zero starts in a total of 65 games played. Staiti has now started 58 of their last 59 contests and has more than tripled their average points per game to 13.2 ppg and increased their rebounds to 7.3 per contest.
“Georgia has grown into one of the SEC’s top defensive teams during Coach Taylor’s tenure. In their six seasons spearheaded the program, the Lady Bulldogs have ranked first or second in conference defense three times, including a league top and a school record of 54.1 ppg in 2015-16. Last year, Georgia finished second in the SEC, holding opponents with 60.5 ppg. The team also reached the top 5 in most defensive categories, including field goal percent defense, 3-point field goal percent defense, and forced ball losses.
Not just defense for Morrison
“Que Morrison is known as one of the best defenders in the nation as she routinely guards the opponent’s top player night after night. Last year, Morrison led all players in SEC games with just 33 steals and 2.2 per game.
The Riverdale, Georgia, native and three-time selection for the SEC Academic Honor Roll has also aggressively bolstered it. She has now scored double digits in 12 of her last 13 games from last season.
A healthy dose of Que
“After suffering a string of injuries throughout her career, Que Morrison, Co-Defensive Player of the Year 2021, was finally enjoying a healthy season for the Lady Bulldogs.
Here’s a look back at some of the adversity Morrison overcame.
The defensive stopper placed on the SEC All-Freshman Team after drawing 32 starts for Georgia’s NCAA tournament team. Then, in their second campaign, Morrison missed the first eight games due to a torn meniscus in her left knee. In 2019-20, she sustained a foot injury before the start of the year. She then suffered a ruptured labrum in her right shoulder to end her junior campaign in the middle of the SEC game.
Morrison started in all 28 games last season and led the team with 29.9 minutes played per competition.
Coombs takes on leadership roles
“Mikayla Coombs, a native of Buford, Georgia, has been selected by her colleagues to serve as vice chair of the SEC Women’s Basketball Leadership Council. As one of four elected officials, she will attend various meetings throughout the year to provide feedback to the athletics directors, senior administrators, and faculty athletics representatives.
That news came after she was elected as the sole student-athlete representative on the NCAA Competition Committee. Coombs holds a degree in Sports Management from the University of Georgia and is currently completing a Masters in the same program. She was named a UGA Presidential Scholar in 2020, was named three times on the Athletic Director Honor Roll, and was put on Dean’s List in 2021.
Dogs have options again
“Georgia had one of the deepest cadres in the SEC last season. The Lady Bulldogs played 23 of 28 games with 10 or more players and 14 times with 11 or more players. That trend seems to continue this year with 10 returnees all watching big minutes.
Consistency is the key
“Georgia has one of the longest-serving employees in the SEC. With the return of Karen Lange, Chelsea Newton and Robert Mosley, Georgia is the only team in the conference that hasn’t had a single coaching change at any level – head coach or assistant coach – in the past six years.
Chapman sticks with basketball
Junior Guard Chloe Chapman played two seasons for the Georgia soccer team, but after two years as a dual-sport athlete, she will now focus on basketball. A native of Mitchellville, Md., Was a consensus among the top 40 candidates and was ranked the number 8 point guard in the nation after high school.
She has played 41 games during her career as Lady Bulldog.
Everything in the family for Barker
»Selection of the SEC All Freshman Team Sarah Ashlee Barker is entering her second season. The Birmingham native played in 24 games and had several big moments over the past season. She kicked off the extra time against Georgia Tech, finished the Arkansas win with 10 points, and hit a career high of 31 minutes in the Alabama win.
Barker’s two brothers both play quarterback at the Division I level. Braxton is a junior red shirt at the University of Alabama and Harrison is a junior red shirt QB at UAB.
Georgia freshers are already making history
Lady Bulldog Newbies Reigan Richardson and Jillian Hollingshead were both named McDonald’s All-Americans, marking the first time in Georgia history that the program has signed two McDonald’s All-Americans in one class. Hollingshead and Richardson are the 11th and 12th McDonald’s All-Americans to sign with the Lady Bulldogs and are the first to drop out of high school since Ronika Ransford in 2010. The current Lady Bulldog Mikayla Coombs was a McDonald’s All-American in 2017.
Isaacs has experience
“Georgia junior striker Jordan Isaacs was the only non-senior to start every game for the Lady Bulldogs last season. Isaacs made one big game at a time, stepping defensively to lead their team. She made perhaps two of the most important pieces of the year for the Lady Bulldogs. One was her block on Rennia Davis’ shot attempt that sealed the Tennessee win, while the other came against Arkansas when she knocked down an offensive board to set up Gabby Connally’s buzzer-beater.
A story steeped in history
“Georgia became one of only two SEC (Tennessee) programs and one of only 16 teams nationwide to hit the grand total of 1,000. The Lady Bulldogs accomplished the feat last season in East Carolina on the street. It was the latest impressive achievement for the historic program.
The Lady Bulldogs are one of only three teams to join Wisconsin-Green Bay and Tennessee, setting a winning record every year since 1980, and having participated in 34 of 39 NCAA tournaments.
© 2021 Cox Media Group