Bouncing back a taller task for Lady Dawgs

ATHENS - Following a hard-fought loss at No. 3 LSU last Sunday, the Georgia Lady Bulldogs would like nothing better than to return to their winning ways. Standing in their way, however, is yet another top-five foe ­ No. 5 Tennessee. Such is life in the SEC.

³You always look forward to playing a big basketball game and this is certainly one of them,² Andy Landers said. ³Regardless, through the years, it¹s always been a big game. Our kids are excited about it. I¹m excited about it. The fans will be ready.²

Tonight is a rematch of a 94-85 track meet the Lady Vols won in Knoxville five weeks ago. That night, the Lady Dogs rallied from a 13-pointdeficit early in the second half to pull within 63-62 with 11:34 left. Tennessee then pushed its advantage back to nine points before Georgia inched back to a 77-76 count with 3:53 remaining but never could get over the hump.

³I thought at Tennessee, Tennessee was bad on defense, which is something you don¹t hear people say very often about Tennessee,² Landers said. ³The only problem was that we were worse on defense. Tennessee did the things that Tennessee needed to do to win, and we didn¹t affect those things very well. On Thursday night, we¹ve got to affect those things to win.²

Landers has been relatively pleased with this team¹s performance since the 2006 calendar rolled over.

³I¹m pleased with our basketball team and where we¹re at, but I¹m not satisfied,² Landers said. ³I think our heart and our head are in the right place. When your heart and your head are in the right place, your body usually follows. We¹ve been consistent with our effort. We¹ve been consistent with our preparation. We¹ve been consistent with our execution. There have been nights when we couldn¹t put enough points on the board. There have been some nights where, for whatever reason, we weren¹t as affective as we wanted to be defensively. When you look back at it at this point, we¹ve been a pretty consistent basketball team.²

The Lady Bulldogs are a more than respectable 7-3 in SEC play, an even better mark considering that all three losses are to No. 3 LSU and No. 5 Tennessee. Georgia¹s seven league wins have been by an average of 25.3 points per game and only one of those was within single-digits ­ that because South Carolina made a buzzer-beating layup to cut the margin in Columbia to nine points.

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