The Georgia Lady Bulldogs are again within the Prime 25.
Now, the problem is to remain there for some time.
Climbing again into the rankings for the primary time since in two seasons, No. 22 Georgia (12-1, 4-1 Southeastern Convention) is keen to reclaim its place among the many nation’s elite packages.
”That is part of Georgia basketball. That is the expectation,” coach Joni Taylor stated Tuesday. ”You may’t stroll into the constructing and never be reminded of who we’re, this system’s historical past, and what we’re attempting to carve out when it comes to ladies’s basketball. That is an enormous motivator for me, my complete employees and all the women we herald to play right here.”
These targets will probably be challenged immediately.
Georgia performs at No. Four South Carolina (10-1, 5-0) on Thursday within the make-up of a sport that was initially set for Jan. 7 earlier than the Gamecocks have been hit with a COVID-19 outbreak.
The Girl Bulldogs then host No. 15 Arkansas (11-5, 2-4) on Monday.
”That is the SEC,” Taylor stated. ”You may go on and on down the schedule. We have not executed something but. Yeah, we have gained a sport right here and there, however we’re nonetheless climbing the mountain.”
The Girl Bulldogs have been a perennial powerhouse below longtime coach Andy Landers, who took the staff to the NCAA Match 31 occasions over a 33-year stretch. He reached the Closing 4 5 occasions and the nationwide championship sport twice with a glittering array of stars that included Teresa Edwards, Katrina McClain and Saudia Roundtree.
The one factor lacking from his resume was a nationwide title.
Landers retired in 2015 with a profession document of 862-299, turning this system over to Taylor, who had been his high assistant.
Whereas Georgia has had some success over Taylor’s first 5 seasons, most notably a 26-7 mark in 2017-18, the Girl Bulldogs have made solely two NCAA Match appearances and managed only a single postseason victory.
Taylor looks like they’re prepared to show the nook.
”Yr six could look like a very long time, however within the cycle of recruiting it isn’t a very long time in any respect,” she stated. ”We have been very intentional about who we wished to carry into our program. We all know what we need to seem like, and we’re not going to accept something that takes us away from that. This 12 months, you are lastly seeing a glimpse of what our imaginative and prescient is and the way we need to play basketball.”
Most notably, Georgia is a a lot deeper staff than it was early in Taylor’s tenure.
Heart Jenna Staiti leads the staff in scoring at 14.2 factors a sport, however seven different gamers are averaging a minimum of 5.5 factors. Much more telling, 10 gamers are averaging double-digit minutes per evening.
”Now we have so many individuals who could make an affect on the sport,” Staiti stated. ”You do not know who it should be on any given evening. Now we have so many weapons, so many issues we will throw at individuals. ”
That was actually Taylor’s intention when it got here to rebuilding this system.
”It isn’t on the shoulders of anybody or two individuals to hold the day for us,” the coach stated. ”After we sub somebody in, there’s not a drop-off in any respect.”
Coming off a victory at then-No. 23 Tennessee, Georgia will now get an opportunity to see the way it matches up with one of many nation’s most dominant packages.
Daybreak Staley guided the Gamecocks to the nationwide championship in 2017 and they’d’ve been one of many favorites final season, posting a document of 32-1 that included an ideal run via the SEC earlier than COVID-19 pressured a postponement of the NCAA Match.
South Carolina routed the Girl Bulldogs of their two conferences a 12 months in the past, profitable 88-53 in Athens and 89-56 within the SEC Match.
Georgia is keen to show that it is closing the hole on groups such because the Gamecocks – the type of nationwide firm the Girl Bulldogs used to maintain.
”That is my house state,” Staiti stated. ”Getting Georgia again on the map, getting us again to the place we’re speculated to be, that is essential to me.”
Comply with Paul Newberry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963 His work might be discovered at https://apnews.com/search/paulnewberry
Extra AP ladies’s school basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Prime25.