The Georgia women’s basketball team is off to a scorching start this season and will look to continue that trend against Lipscomb Tuesday night.
The Lady Dogs (10-0) and the Lady Bison (2-5) are set to square off, and Georgia head coach Andy Landers said Lipscomb plays differently than many of his team’s previous opponents.
“Lipscomb presents a different kind of challenge than most of the teams we have faced,” Landers said. “They run a motion-oriented offense, set numerous screens and make a lot of cuts. They’re not a team that you can easily prepare for from a defensive perspective.”
Following Georgia’s 91-32 thrashing of Kennesaw State Sunday afternoon, senior Khaalidah Miller had a simple message about the match-up against the Lady Bison.
“We need to come out against [Lipscomb] the same way we did against Kennesaw State tonight,” Miller said.
The two squads have faced each other only once — last season — and the Lady Dogs won 93-42. If Georgia is going to match that performance, it will have to adequately defend Lipscomb’s Ashley Southern.
Southern is a redshirt sophomore and did not play against Georgia last year. This season, though, she is shooting 15.6 points per game and is grabbing 13.7 rebounds per game — both higher averages than any Georgia player. Landers spoke of Southern’s ability, and also mentioned Lipscomb’s Danay Fothergill, another redshirt sophomore who transferred from Western Kentucky.
“They have good shooters on the perimeter and [Southern], who is playing lights out and who can play face up so she’s a difficult matchup,” Landers said. “They’ll play a four-guard lineup most of the time, and they have just added [Fothergill] to the lineup who got 19 points on her first time out.”
Over their last two games, the Lady Dogs’ performances have been much different than in prior contests. In its first few games, Georgia started slowly and allowed teams to hang around for much of the first half before opening up a lead. Against Belmont and Kennesaw State, though, the Lady Dogs came out firing and built substantial advantages early.
“One thing coach has been talking about is starting from the jump,” sophomore forward Merritt Hempe said. “Some games we’ve started kind of slow. That’s something we’ve focused on the last two games and I think we did a nice job of that.”
Along with opening the recent games stronger, Georgia’s defense has improved lately as well. In the last three games, the Lady Dogs have stolen the ball 27 times, have forced 46 turnovers, and have held their opponents to an average of just 48 points.
The Lady Dogs will surely look to keep the hot starts going, and Hempe said they will try to play as well defensively as they have over the last few games.
“We look really good [on defense],” Hempe said. “That’s something we focus on every day. Moving forward on defense, we’re always trying to get better. Yeah, we got a win, but what can we do better? I think that’s something we’ve worked on.”
The Georgia-Lipscomb matchup is set for a 7 p.m. tip and will be held in Stegeman Coliseum.