UM looks to stay atop SEC with win tonight

Ole Miss senior guard Ashley Awkward summed up tonight's game at Georgia about as well as one could. "Georgia is not going to be an easy game to win. I have never experienced a win at Georgia since I've been here."

Awkward and the 22nd-ranked Rebels, atop the Southeatern Conference at 5-0 with a 16-4 overall record, are in Athens today for a 6 p.m. game against the Bulldogs. Veteran Georgia head coach Andy Landers' ballclub is 16-4 overall but 3-2 in league play.

The Rebels have had a week to prepare for 14th-ranked Georgia. Ole Miss hasn't played since beating South Carolina 76-57 in Oxford a week ago.

"It makes a difference to me and hopefully it will help us," Awkward said of having a week off from games rather than playing every four days or so, as usual. "We had a Thursday game and a couple of days off (from practice) just to get our legs back. We can now play Georgia fresh and be better prepared."

The players and coaches all talked about how they needed the break this week from games. It had been a tough stretch of several months to get to this point in the season.

Ole Miss head coach Carol Ross said winning at Georgia is always a challenge.

"Georgia has always been good defensively and at rebounding the basketball, which is why they've been good year in and year out in league play," said Ross, who actually was a player at Ole Miss when Landers got the head coaching job at Georgia. "They're scary. They're deep. They're obviously very talented offensively. And Athens is one of the hardest stops on the SEC circuit."

Ross is 2-4 against Georgia since returning to Ole Miss as head coach.

Senior Cori Chambers leads the way for the Bulldogs at a 14.6 clip per game. Chambers knocks down an impressive 42.7 percent of her shots from beyond the arc.

Junior Tasha Humphrey drops in 14.5 points per game and is also the team's leading rebounder with 6.9 boards per game. Senior Janese Hardrick adds 9.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.

Landers is 673-212 in his 28th season with the Bulldogs. His overall coaching mark is 755-233 in his 32nd season in the business.

For the Rebels, three players are averaging in double-figures with senior guard Armintie Price leading the way with 19.1 points per game. Price leads the Rebels in rebounding (8.6), steals (3.7) and assists (4.7) on the season.

Freshman guard Alliesha Easley turns in 11.4 tallies per game, while Awkward drops in 10.4 points per outing. Senior forward Jada Mincy is grabbing 7.1 boards, while sophomore center Shawn Goff is getting 6.9 per game and also adding 9.5 points.

Awkward led Ole Miss with 22 points in the win over South Carolina. She made 4-of-5 shots from beyond the 3-point arc, including a first-half buzzer beater from long distance to give UM a 40-25 lead at the break in that game.

After the road game against the Bulldogs tonight, the Rebels come home to face the other Bulldogs of the SEC - Mississippi State - at C.M. "Tad" Smith Coliseum Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.

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