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Post Lady Dogs impressive in season opener

Monday November 16, 2009

It’s too soon by any stretch of the imagination to call the Lady Dogs “back”, but Sunday’s season-opening 62-51 upset of Oklahoma showed that things could be a good bit different this year.

Georgia asserted its advantage inside with Angel Robinson and Porsha Phillips, and Oklahoma’s Abi Olajuwon proved to be no Paris twin. The Sooners were uncharacteristically cold from outside until a flurry of jumpers helped them draw even at 43, but Georgia had more punch down the stretch.

Perhaps the biggest change so far is the impact of freshman guard Jasmine James. Her athleticism on the perimeter pairs nicely with Houts and gives the Lady Dogs an element they really haven’t had since Alexis Kendrick. James isn’t just an outside shooter – she can penetrate and looks to score inside the arc. Tasha Humphrey began a memorable Georgia career by leading her team to an early-season upset of a Big 12 opponent in 2004, and hopefully James’s 15 points in a similar win herald the arrival of another Lady Dog great.

James and the other newcomers, including Candace Williams, Jasmine Hassell, and Anne Marie Armstrong all had their freshmen moments, but all seemed to grasp the tempo and effort necessary to compete at the SEC level. The team overall looked a great deal more active and aggressive than last year when many offensive trips seemed to bog down until Houts threw something up as the shot clock expired. That didn’t happen much yesterday. Nine players saw action, and that helped the team stay fresh against an opponent who, as Robinson noted, “started to slow down” in the second half.

A strong early schedule continues for the Lady Dogs next Sunday when nationally-ranked Rutgers comes to town. Georgia lost an ugly game up there last year, and shaking off that loss with another win would show that this program isn’t ready to lose its spot among the national powers.

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