The Georgia Lady Bulldogs are motivated to avoid another early
exit from the NCAA tournament.
They’re still feeling the sting of last year’s rare first-round
loss to Marist. Georgia’s long tournament history includes 19 trips
to the round of 16.
Georgia is the No. 4 seed – just like last year – and plays
Montana on Saturday in Spokane, Wash.
Senior forward Jasmine Hassell said the pain of last year’s
first-round loss has not been forgotten.
“It was heart-breaking because you’re so used to going to the
Sweet 16,” Hassell said Wednesday. “We want to go past the Sweet 16
Georgia is making its 30th NCAA tournament appearance in 34
seasons with coach Andy Landers. The Lady Bulldogs have advanced to
five Final Fours but have never won the championship.
This year’s senior class made back-to-back appearances the round
of 16 in 2010 and 2011.
“I would say the lesson we learned from last year is you can’t
overlook anyone, no matter what conference they come from, no
matter what their ranking is or record is,” senior guard Jasmine
James said. “A good team is a good team. You can’t overlook
“You’re going to have to go in and compete hard for 40 minutes,
no matter who the team is. I think that is definitely something we
were able to take away from last year.”
James said Georgia players last season may have presumed they
would win at least two NCAA tournament games.
“You’re used to getting to the Sweet 16,” James said. “It’s kind
of expected, like it’s what you do. Then to go out in the first
round was kind of like ‘Whoa.’
“It makes you understand you have to go out and earn it. Nobody
is going to give anything to you.”
Georgia (25-6) also is motivated by its 60-38 loss to Kentucky
on March 9 in the Southeastern Conference tournament semifinals.
The Lady Bulldogs opened the SEC tournament with one of their best
performances of the season in a 71-53 win over LSU before being
overwhelmed in the second half of the loss to Kentucky.
“The LSU game, we played very well but we dwelled on it a little
bit too long and lost our focus for the Kentucky game,” James
“We’ve seen glimpses of how good we can be. We’ve also seen
glimpses of how bad we can be. So one of the things we just really
need to do is focus and hold each other accountable.”
Landers said any temptation to look past the NCAA first-round
game against Montana (24-7) should have been “self-corrected” by
last year’s loss to Marist. It was only the third time in the last
decade Georgia did not reach the round of 16.
“It bothers me to have to even think about the question,”
Landers said before referring to Kentucky’s loss to Robert Morris
on Tuesday night in the men’s NIT.
“You’re in the national tournament,” he said. “You watch these
games all the time. Kentucky got beat by Robert Morris. Come on.
You’ve got to play. That any team would take another team for
granted and not give them the respect is foreign to me.”
Georgia beat Montana, the Big Sky champion, 74-46 in the opening
round of the 2000 NCAA tournament.
Montana has the most experienced coaching staff in NCAA Division
I women’s basketball. In addition to coach Robin Selvig being in
his 35th year, his three assistants – who all played for him – have
nearly 70 years of experience on the staff between them.
Selvig is making his 20th NCAA tournament appearance, but
Montana hasn’t won a tournament game since 1995.
“I’ve known Andy for a long time, before we ever played them in
Georgia,” Selvig said. “Obviously they are one of the premier
programs in the country.
“I have not followed them that closely this year, but I’m sure
they are the same type of team they have always been. Very
talented, very quick, very well-coached.”
The Lady Griz are paced by seniors Kenzie De Boer and Katie
Baker, who combine to average 27.3 points. Baker leads the team
with 7.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.