Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Sickening

Monday March 27, 2006

I just can’t go very far into the Lady Dogs’ loss last night. Just heartbreaking. Andy Landers put it best.

“We didn’t lose. You lose when you go out and don’t apply the ability and talent that you have to the challenge that is ahead of you. There’s no shame in getting beat. The shame is in not fighting the fight.”

Amen. I don’t want to talk much about the game, but I must say something about Alexis Kendrick. Sunday night’s start meant that Kendrick had started more games than any other Lady Bulldog. From the moment she stepped on campus, she earned a starting position. In what turned out to be her final game, she played like the senior leader she was.

It wasn’t just that Kendrick scored 14 points or was a perfect 4-4 from beyond the arc. It’s when those points came that mattered. She had two three-pointers early on as Georgia built a lead. But early in the second half, UConn stretched its lead out to seven points, the largest margin they would have. Kendrick hit her third three-pointer to start a 7-0 run which would tie the game and start the back-and-forth heavyweight fight that ended the game. Then on Georgia’s final offensive series an offensive rebound was kicked out to Kendrick on the left baseline, and she buried what seemed like the biggest shot of her career.

It’s been a tough senior season for Kendrick. She hit an early-season gamewinner against Santa Clara, but that was her only basket of that game on a frustrating night. That’s more or less been the tale. Kendrick’s high-profile mistakes at the end of the LSU game in Athens were more the stuff of a shaky freshman than a veteran senior. She has struggled to find her place on offense this season while Sherill Baker flourished. But in the NCAA Tournament, Kendrick ended her Georgia career looking very much like the McDonald’s All-American that arrived four years ago. She nearly had a triple-double in Georgia’s first round win over Marist, and she came up with big play after big play on offense and defense last night.

Alexis is resilient, independent, smart, athletic, kind, and humble. She has survived four years 3,000 miles away from home without much of a support structure away from the team, and in the process she wrote herself into the Georgia record books. She was a rock that Coach Landers depended on to hold the team together on the court, and she did it every night and never missed a start. She has transformed from a shy role player to a confident woman who will be successful in any area of life. Last night’s loss was heartbreaking and a tough loss to get over, but Kendrick and fellow senior Sherill Baker can walk away knowing that they gave absolutely extraordinary efforts in their final game and played up to the standard of excellence they created in four incredible years at Georgia.

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