The Lady Bulldogs (17-10, 5-9) left the court with more turnovers than points and walked away from the 44-26 loss to Auburn (10-17, 1-13) with the longest losing streak in Landers’s 36-year coaching tenure weighing heavy on their shoulders.
“It’s like we’re broken,” senior Erika Ford said.
The Lady Bulldogs have not missed a bid to the NCAA tournament since 1994. But where playing deep into the NCAA tournament once looked to be the goal— even expectation— for Georgia, the struggling Lady Bulldogs are just looking for a win before the end of the regular season.
“I don’t think we have responded at all to the adversity that we’ve experienced,” Landers said. “I just don’t see people bowing their back and saying ‘we’ve got to get this done.’”
It wasn’t just turnovers that doomed Georgia against the Lady Tigers, who had not won a Southeastern Conference game before Sunday. The Lady Bulldogs’ starting five only shot 4 of 28 from the field—all four made by sophomore Halle Washington.
With junior Merritt Hempe out for an undisclosed amount of time, Washington was granted an opportunity with her first start of the season.
“I’m just trying to make a difference, because I know I’m tired of losing,” Washington said. “I feel like everyone should be tired.”
Washington, after “working her butt off in practice,” to earn the start, felt the need to carry the team on her back and help Georgia find the fire and rhythm it had earlier in the season. The sophomore led the team in offensive rebounds (5) and score nine points in her attempt to snap the losing streak.
At halftime, the Lady Bulldogs trailed by two, with a low-scoring 17-15 on the board. Lopsided scoring in the second half—Auburn’s 71 percent from the field to Georgia’s 16 percent— kept stretching that margin.
Georgia didn’t have a three-pointer against Auburn until junior Pachis Roberts found net with just under 10 minutes left on the clock. Roberts’ two shots from beyond the arc were the only three-pointers by Georgia all day.
Washington said she saw her teammates begin to defeat themselves as the score tilted out of their favor, which, according to her, has happened “too many times” in recent games.
And now, could be happening with their season as a whole.
“We have to fight. There’s no fight,” Washington said.
It’ll be a little harder to the Lady Bulldogs to shake Sunday’s loss, as it goes down in the record books for lowest points scored in the program’s history, surpassing the 31 points scored over forty years ago.
“We’ve got to come together and figure out a way to get these last two wins otherwise it doesn’t look very bright for us,” Ford said.
Coming off their worst game of the season, the Lady Bulldogs now have to face No. 6 Tennessee on Thursday—the matchup that started the seven-game downward spiral.