Previewing Lady Vols vs Georgia
Amazing how much more Jasmine James has done with less playing time.
The Georgia senior guard's field goal percentage (50.3) is vastly superior to her career accuracy of 35.2 percent. Her per-game scoring average (12.1) is slightly above her career mark (11.5). Her assist-to-turnover ratio is better, and she is on pace for a career high in steals.
A little extra rest apparently goes a long way.
No. 10 Georgia (13-1, 1-0 SEC) brings more of a pack mentality to No. 12 Tennessee (10-3, 1-0) today (TV: SportSouth, 1 p.m.) for an early season women's basketball showdown.
Last season, four Lady Bulldogs averaged more than 30 minutes per game and five combined to log 25 games of full 40-minute duty. This season, no player averages more than James' 25.4 minutes and eight others are averaging at least 14.8. A Lady Bulldog has played more than 30 minutes in a game just 11 times.
Among the reserves is former Webb School standout Marjorie Butler. Overall, the group has accounted for 38 percent of the Lady Bulldogs' scoring (391 points).
Georgia coach Andy Landers substituted five players at a time during the first half of Thursday's 77-46 victory over Missouri.
"As the game continues, with depth we have a chance to keep playing well," he said.
James averaged 35.4 minutes per game for her first three seasons. During that span, she surpassed her typical work shift of this season 85 times in 91 games.
Landers thinks that playing fewer minutes has enabled James, who already has All-SEC credentials, to stay fresh and be more effective.
"All her negatives are down," Landers said. "All the positives are up."
Butler thinks everyone benefits.
"Our depth makes us really difficult for people to play against," she said.
The Lady Bulldogs have had their difficul
ties against Tennessee, which has won four in a row in the series and 12 of the past 13 meetings. The Lady Vols' depth has been a contributing factor to the dominance.
This year, Georgia has six players averaging at least seven points per game, while UT has five who are available for duty. Furthermore, the Lady Vols can't spread the workload as evenly. The absence of Andraya Carter (shoulder surgery) and Cierra Burdick (fractured right hand) has trimmed the roster to nine available players. And center Nia Moore and guard Jasmine Phillips are playing limited roles.
Four starters logged at least 34 minutes in Thursday's 73-53 victory at South Carolina. Coach Holly Warlick adjusted Friday's practice accordingly. limiting time on the court.
"I haven't seen anybody visiting the training room more than usual," she said.
Warlick doesn't want to spread the playing time at the expense of UT's play. Thursday's game reflected her mind-set. The Lady Vols actually played better as the game wore on, outscoring South Carolina 35-7 during a 13-minute stretch in the second half.
"I want to get a win and want to get production," she said. "I think the other night we played people a lot of minutes because they were producing and doing what we wanted them to do.
"If we have to do that we'll understand our style and may have to back off some."