Landers and Lady Dawgs very aware of Augustus

ATHENS – Andy Landers rarely, if ever, stops to think about all the elite women's basketball players he has seen come through the Southeastern Conference.

"I usually wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it," the Lady Bulldogs coach said.

Landers has coached in the sport's preeminent conference for 26 years, and he has seen a staggering number of the game's greats in that time. Whether he has coached them – as in Teresa Edwards and Katrina McClain or current star Tasha Humphrey – or faced them – as in Tennessee's Chamique Holdsclaw, Mississippi State's LaToya Thomas or Florida's DeLisha Milton.

"There's just some great ones. I'll go to my grave thinking we had the greatest one of all time with Edwards," he said. "It's always a challenge. The players that we're talking about were players that you had to try to affect in special ways. You had to adjust and adapt defensively and sometimes even offensively to accomplish some objectives."

This year is no different. Last week, Tennessee freshman Candace Parker, who many are touting as the future face of the game, scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a victory over Georgia. Today, it gets no easier.

The No. 13 Lady Bulldogs (13-4, 3-1 SEC) take on No. 3 LSU (15-1, 4-0), which is led by 2005 national player of the year Seimone Augustus. Augustus is tied with Humphrey for the SEC scoring lead this year with 19.7 points per game.

Last season the player who was on the cover of the first Sports Illustrated for Women with the headline "The next Michael Jordan?", averaged 20.1 points and led the Lady Tigers to the Final Four. She scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds in both of her matchups against the Lady Bulldogs.

"There have been a lot of really good players, and she's one of them," Landers said. "I haven't taken the time to rank them, and I probably won't. I think what's important is on this day in this season, there is not any any better than her."

Augustus is the worst kind of great player in Landers' opinion, the kind that comes through when the Lady Bulldogs have no match for her.

"Milton down at Florida was a great player, but we had a match for her in (Tracy) Henderson," he said.

"The thing that's tough is sometimes when these kids filter through, and you're caught without a match. It becomes a team challenge with (Augustus). She's 6- and very athletic, and we don't have that player."

The parade of great players in the SEC has a numbing factor, Landers said.

"I think it's kind of like living in Decatur. You probably don't pay a lot of attention to Stone Mountain," he said. "We kind of take for granted and become I guess accustomed with where we live and who we live with and around.

"That would kind of characterize me and all the players in this league. That's the way it is, and you just kind of get used to it. It seems like there are always two or three of them that are here. You just hope you have one of them."

Dawg Post Top Stories