Lady Dawgs get ready for LSU

ATHENS – Georgia takes on No. 3 LSU again this weekend.

For the Lady Bulldogs, it's their third chance this season to test themselves against the conference elite. For sophomore forward Tasha Humphrey, it's just another chance to pad her stats.

Humphrey is the reigning co-national freshman of the year and is making a strong case for SEC Player of the Year honors this season. She is averaging a league-best 24.1 points in conference games and is third in the SEC in rebounding in conference games (9.9 per game).

She'll get plenty of exposure Sunday when the No. 13 Lady Bulldogs (17-5, 7-2 SEC) plays the Tigers (20-1, 8-0) at 3 p.m. in Baton Rouge on ESPN2.

"I think this is what I play the game for, the big games," Humphrey said. "I love going out there and competing against the best. It gives you an opportunity to see how you fare against what people consider the best teams in the country with the best players in the country."

In Georgia's four games against SEC opponents who were ranked at the time, Humphrey has averaged 28 points. She scored 31 the last time Georgia and the Tigers got together.

"The great thing about having a player like Tasha is you have a go-to player that enjoys big games and enjoys pressure situation," Georgia coach Andy Landers said. "I think that confidence permeates your team. They know there is a person that if we do things well and get her the ball when and where she needs it, that she can deliver."

In five of the Lady Bulldogs' nine conference games, Humphrey has scored the most points that opponent has given up to any player this season. On Monday, she was named the SEC's co-player of the week after averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds in wins over Kentucky and Alabama.

In 27 weeks of collegiate basketball, she has been named the conference's player of the week five times. She is the first Georgia player and one of only 10 in SEC history to earn the honor five times. (Vanderbilt's Wendy Scholtens holds the record at eight.)

If Humphrey is going to be named Georgia's first conference player of the year since Kelly Miller in 2001, she'll most likely have to win Sunday's head-to-head matchup against LSU forward Seimone Augustus, a senior who was the 2005 national player of the year.

The last time the two teams faced, Humphrey had seven more points and eight more rebounds than Augustus, but Augustus hit the game-winning basket with 13 seconds remaining.

Augustus is averaging 22.4 points per SEC game but averages only 3.9 rebounds in league games. Still, she's the best player on the league's best team, and she's still the king of the hill.

"Augustus obviously is a terrific player, a terrific player, but I don't think she's had any better year than Tasha," Landers said. "I think in some ways Tasha has had a better year, so I think she's certainly a candidate. Will she get it? If I'm a bettor, I'd bet no she won't because of the reputation that Seimone has created and deserves. In all likelihood, there is only going to be one player of the year, and I think everybody has a good idea who that probably will be."

The award doesn't mean much to Humphrey anyway, she said.

"I'd take an SEC Championship or an NCAA Championship over player of the year any day," she said. "That shows that not only are you a good player but you helped your team."

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