SEC Semifinals: Tennessee Lady Vols vs. Georgia Bulldogs, 4 PM EST

Georgia Logo
March 5, 2011
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
4:00 PM EST

TV: ESPNU / ESPN3
Internet Audio: Lady Vols Network
Live Stats: TBD
Lady Vols Logo

21-9 (10-6 SEC)
NR (AP)
NR (USA Today)

29-2 (16-0 SEC)
#4 (AP)
#4 (USA Today)

 

It's the favorites forward as the #1-seed Lady Vols take on the #4-seed Georgia Bulldogs in semifinal play at the SEC tournament.  Tennessee advanced by outpacing Florida 92-75, and Georgia cruised past a tired South Carolina team 66-34 on their way to this rematch.  In their only previous meeting of the season, Tennessee throttled Georgia 77-44 in Knoxville on the strength of 14 points by Meighan Simmons and 9 rebounds by Glory Johnson.  Georgia, however, was the last SEC team to beat Tennessee with a 53-50 home win over then-#3 Tennessee in the 2009-2010 season; the Lady Vols still haven't forgotten that loss and should have plenty of motivation to make this game personal.

 Position Name  Experience  Height PPG RPG APG
lady vols logo F Glory Johnson Jr 6-2 12.0 9.7 1.2
C Alyssia Brewer Jr 6-3 2.3 2.3 0.6
G Meighan Simmons Fr 5-9 13.5 2.7 2.7
G-F Shekinna Stricklen Jr 6-2 12.5 7.7 2.1
F Taber Spani So 6-1 8.0 4.0 1.4
Georgia logo G Jasmine James So 5-9 12.3 3.4 3.8
F Porsha Phillips Sr 6-2 11.2 10.8 1.6
G Meredith Mitchell Jr 6-1 7.7 4.8 2.7
G Khaalidah Miller Fr 5-9 9.3 2.9 1.7
F Anne Marie Armstrong So 6-3 6.9 4.2 1.6

 

Georgia is one of the few teams who can match size with Tennessee.  With Brewer getting the likely start, height is almost even across the board in the starting lineups.  The key player in Georgia's lineup is senior forward Porsha Phillips, an LSU transfer who averaged a double-double in the season and throughout conference play.  In the previous meeting this year, Phillips was held to 6 points and 7 rebounds partly due to early foul trouble.

Tennessee's biggest question is the post rotation.  Against Florida, the trio of Baugh, Brewer, and Cain played for a combined 26 minutes, with Brewer getting 16.  Despite the opportunity to hold a height advantage over Florida, Summitt instead chose a smaller, quicker lineup for most of the game and ran the Gator's legs off.  Georgia is nominally taller than Florida, so Tennessee might make more use of their post rotation to maintain their strength in the interior, but as well as Glory is playing, she may see more action at center if the Big Three aren't on fire.

While Tennessee had the advantage of playing the earlier game on Friday, Georgia's game against South Carolina was never in doubt and Andy Landers had the opportunity to pace his players in anticipation of this game.  Since both teams earned a bye in the tournament, they should be equally fresh and should be up for a full 40-minute game.  It remains to be seen if yesterday's beating of South Carolina is in any way indicative of an improvement in Georgia - a team that limped into its bye with three consecutive losses to end the season.

There really isn't much to say about this game; Tennessee again has a huge advantage, so they ultimately will decide the fate of this game.  If the Lady Vols play to their potential, Georgia will merely be along for the ride.  If Tennessee takes the game easy and doesn't play hard (as happened in brief spurts against Florida), Georgia has a chance to nip them.  But as the tournament drags on, Tennessee should be more excited to play and more keyed up on the game at hand.

Tennessee 75 - Georgia 61

BassWatch™:  2 minutes left in the second half.

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