The Lady Dogs began the year by facing defending national champion Baylor in the State Farm Tip-off Classic. Georgia then hosted Santa Clara, the 2005 WCC Champions, before dispatching TCU, which has been to last five NCAAs, in Fort Worth. At the LMU/Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Classic the Lady Bulldogs faced UCLA, which appeared headed to the "Big Dance" in 2005 before an injury to leading scorer Noelle Quinn, and Loyola Marymount, an NCAA Tourney team in 2004.
Tonight, Georgia travels to Murfreesboro to face Middle Tennessee, perhaps the best-known Cinderella of the last two editions of the Big Dance. The Blue Raiders knocked off North Carolina in 2004 before dispatching N.C. State in the first round of the 2005 NCAAs.
"We knew the teams we were scheduling had tournament history," Andy Landers said.
What Landers didn't know at the time, however, was that his depth would be decimated with the loss of four post players before the first regular-season game as outlined on Page 3 of these Game Notes.
Those setbacks make tonight's challenge even more daunting. Landers, a native of Maryville, Tenn., was well acquainted with the success of MTSU long before the national spotlight focused on the Blue Raiders of late.
"Middle has been good for a long time," Landers said. "They've been very competitive within the different conferences they've played in through the years, winning championships and going to NCAA Tournaments. It's a program that's accustomed to winning and understands what you have to do to win. This particular team is very quick, very athletic, an excellent defensive team, very aggressive on the defensive end of the floor. It will be a challenge, as they always are, particularly in Murfreesboro."