Georgia (13-8, 2-5 SEC) vs. Missouri (14-6, 3-4 SEC)
Thursday, January 26 | 7 p.m. ET | Stegeman Coliseum | Athens, Ga.
Television: SEC Network + (Matt Stewart and Anne Marie Armstrong )
Radio: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network (Jeff Dantzler)
» Georgia returns to the Stegeman Coliseum on Thursday to host the Missouri Tigers. The game begins at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on the SEC Network+.
» Georgia has won the last three meetings against Missouri, once in Athens and twice in Colombia.
» The Tigers rank third in the SEC in 3-point games averaging 7.6 per game. Missouri also ranks third in the charity series conference with a 73 percent free throw percentage.
» Brittney Smith has led Georgia through conference play in her last eight competitions with seven double-digit scoring games. Smith is averaging a team-high 14.7 points per game against league opponents who rank 12th in the SEC. Her 52.0 percent shot performance against conference opponents ranks sixth in the league.
» Battles leads Georgia in scores (13.7 ppg), assists (64) and steals (35). She was one of only 50 players to be included in the preseason Naismith National Player of the Year Watch List.
» Georgia ranks first in the SEC in revenue margin with an average of +4.81 and second in steals at 10.8 per game.
» Georgia has forced 20 or more opponent turnovers in 14 of 21 games and forced double-digit misses in every contest.
» Georgia claimed its 10th win on December 17. It marked the program’s fastest 10th win in a season since
» Georgia has kept four teams (Jacksonville State, NC State, Mercer, and San Diego State) at their season lows in scoring. Led by Coach ABE, their teams at UCF have led the nation in goal defense in each of the last two years.
Georgia Season Notebook
Miyah Verse Named McDonald’s All-America Nominee
Georgia signee Miyah Verse was recently named a nominee for McDonald’s All-America team. A native of Peoria, Arizona, Verse is a four-star recruit who has landed in ESPN’s Super 60 poll as one of the best players in the nation. She plays high school basketball at the Arizona Elite Prep, which has become a national powerhouse.
Building on the excitement
Against South Carolina earlier this year, the community put on a great performance. Attendance was reported as 6,225, which is the highest attendance for an SEC home game at UGA since 2013-14 – a nine-season span.
We’ll take that
Georgia’s defensive pressure has resulted in double-digit turnovers in every game this season while the team has recorded 10 or more steals in 11 of 21 matchups so far. Georgia has held opponents in single-digit quarters ten times.
Smith starts well in the SEC game
Brittney Smith, senior in her fifth year, has made a strong start to the SEC game. In her first six league games, she has hit 38 of 66 (58 percent) from the field and has double-digit points in every conference competition. Smith beats UGA vs SEC enemies at 16.3 ppg.
Earlier this year, the Lady Bulldogs made one of the biggest comebacks in program history. 20 points behind Wisconsin, Georgia capitalized on a 26-0 run and beat the Badgers 33-5 late in the second half for the 68-60 win. Georgia played particularly well in the fourth quarter, beating the Badgers 25-5 in the final frame.
Zoesha’s career day
Junior forward Zoesha Smith has made the most of her first career starts this season. Against Georgia Tech, Smith had a career-high 21 points, grabbed a career-best 10 rebounds and had a career-high steal with four. The Brunswick, Ga. native also hit a double-double for the first time in her career.
50th Season of Georgia Basketball
This marks the 50th season of Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball. This historic program ranks 15th all-time in terms of win ratio (0.694) and 16th in terms of total wins (1,052). Georgia ranks second nationally with 35 NCAA tournament appearances and is still one of only three programs to have a winning record in every season since 1981.
Coach ABE returns to lead Georgia
Katie Abrahamson-Henderson was named only the third full-time head coach in Georgia history on March 26, 2022. Coach ABE played for the Lady Bulldogs from 1986-1987 and was a member of the 1986 SEC championship-winning squad. Teammates Katrina McClain, Teresa Edwards, Lisa O’Connor and Carla Green, among others, helped lead Georgia to its third SEC title, with Coach ABE playing in all 32 games as a freshman.
Success at every stop
Coach ABE has established successful programs with coaching stints in Albany, Missouri State and UCF. Their teams have won an unprecedented 70 percent of their games, averaged 22 wins a year, and clinched 16 conference titles in 17 seasons. At UCF, the 2021-22 squad won a school-record 26 games, the AAC tournament crown and a No. 7 in the NCAA tournament en route to the American Athletic Conference Championship — the highest seeding in program history.
It’s a family
A major reason for the success of Coach ABE’s programs lies in their coaching staff – a group that has been with them almost every step of the way. Associate Head Coach Tahnee Balerio played for Coach ABE at Missouri State and is entering her 13th season on Coach ABE’s staff. Assistant coach Isoken Uzamere is in her 11th year with Coach ABE, while legendary former UConn All-American Nykesha Sales is in her seventh season. Former Albany standout Ebone Henry-Harris is entering her seventh year.
League-leading 10 newcomers
With five letter winners from last year’s team, the Lady Bulldogs had 10 roster spots to fill this past offseason. Georgia welcomed three players from UCF, while also adding Texas transfer Audrey Warren, West Virginia transfer Kari Niblack and Vanderbilt transfer De’Mauri Flournoy. Four freshmen also joined the team, including Savannah Henderson, Stefanie Ingram, Fatima Diakhate and Amiya Evans.
The 10 newcomers to this year’s roster tie Kentucky the most in the SEC.
Georgia players find postseason success
Georgia’s five returns and six transfers have combined 23 NCAA tournament appearances. Diamond Battles, Brittney Smith and Alisha Lewis received three NCAA offers at UCF. Texas transfer Audrey Warren helped her team advance to the consecutive NCAA Elite Eights while Kari Niblack led West Virginia to the second round of the 2020-21 NCAA tournament.
Led by coach ABE, UCF has led the nation in goal defense in each of the last two seasons. The Knights kept teams at just 47.8 points per game last year and just 50.5 ppg throughout the 2020-21 season. UCF held 18 opponents to 50 points or fewer, with seven failing to reach 40 points in the 2021-22 season.
diamond shines bright; Lands on the Naismith watch list
Fifth-year Warden Diamond Battles developed into one of the best players in the nation during her time at UCF. She was the program’s inaugural AAC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year and was a consensus first-team pick at all conferences. A native of Winter Haven, Fla., he led UCF with 16 goals and 23 double-digit hits last year. That year she was one of 50 players named on the Naismith National Player of the Year Watch List.
A big part of Georgia’s impressive recruiting record this past offseason was a household name for Coach ABE. Savannah Henderson is the daughter of head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson and her husband Michael. The Orlando, Fla. native was a national consensus top 50 player as the No. 41 ESPN player overall and the No. 10 wing recruit. She prepared in Timbercreek, Orlando, and played for Central Florida Elite.
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