Coach Joni Taylor’s team tips off at noon today in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, looking to build on substantial momentum from a deep run in SEC Tournament.
Georgia fell 67-62 to South Carolina in the tournament final, but that contest was tied at the half and close throughout. Playing toe-to-toe with a perennial power and NCAA #1 seed like the Gamecocks was something this Bulldog team might not have been able to do at the beginning of the season. But the Hoop Hounds played well on both ends of the court in that tournament run, and indeed down the stretch headed into it. After a late January loss to #4 Texas A&M the Lady ‘Dawgs reeled off a 6-1 finish before falling to Coach Dawn Staley’s Garnet & Black. That run helped cement Coach Taylor as the SEC coach of the year and a finalist for national coach of the year honors.
The Drexel Dragons meanwhile come in as a 14 seed with a 14-8 record after winning the Colonial Athletic Association tourney last week. The Dragons have played smothering defense this season, holding opponents to 57.2 points per game, good for 33rd in the nation. Opponents have shot only 38.3% from the field against Coach Amy Mallon’s squad. Mallon is in her first year as Drexel’s head coach after serving as the Associate Head Coach for 16 seasons.
Georgia appears to have an advantage in size and depth, with three ‘Dawgs averaging in double figures, four seniors in the starting lineup, and a veteran bench. But a solid defensive basketball team coming in off a hot shooting conference tournament win is not the first round draw you want. This matchup could be dangerous if the Dragons can find an offensive rhythm.
Tip off is at noon with television coverage on ESPN2.
The winner of the ‘Dawgs/Dragons matchup will face the winner of tonight’s Oregon/South Dakota matchup in the second round. Until later...