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Post Lady Dogs limp into Lexington

Thursday February 11, 2010

When the Lady Dogs and Kentucky met last month in Athens, Georgia needed overtime to escape an upset bid from the Wildcats and preserve their 14-game winning streak. At the time it was a close call against an unranked upstart. The two teams have take different directions since that game. Georgia is just 4-5 since that game on January 7th, and Kentucky has lost just once.

The roles have reversed somewhat. The Cats are the SEC’s hottest team with a seven-game winning streak coming into tonight’s game (7:00, FSN) and they sit firmly in second place in the league behind Tennessee. They’re now ranked higher than Georgia. Veteran forward Victoria Dunlap is getting help from freshman guard A’dia Mathies – last week’s SEC Freshman of the Week.

It’s not a good time for Georgia to face such a hot team. While Kentucky holds a 15-game winning streak at home, the Lady Dogs are just 2-3 on the road in conference play this year. Complicating things is a rash of injuries to two of Georgia’s most experienced and talented players. Angel Robinson and Ashley Houts have been hurting for a while, and it’s shown up in the disappointing results over the last few weeks.

Robinson is doubtful for the game tonight – an upgrade from an earlier report that claimed she would miss the game. She is in Lexington with the team, so it will likely be a game-time decision. Houts has been struggling with an ankle injury since the Tennessee game and has missed significant minutes for the first time in her career in several recent games.

You couldn’t pick two players with more impact in the last meeting against Kentucky. Houts had her best performance on offense all season with 27 points. Robinson collected 11 rebounds including 5 offensive boards. Losing just a bit of that production makes things very difficult on a team that hasn’t broken 50 points in either of its last two outings. Georgia will look to freshmen Jasmine Hassell and Tamika Willis to fill in for Robinson, and Jasmine James will handle the bulk of the point guard duties when Houts isn’t in.

The Lady Dogs have leaned on defense for much of the season, and they did well to hold Kentucky nearly 15 points below their scoring average back in January. Coming off their lowest-scoring output of the season Georgia is going to have to find more scoring from a lot of young players to have a chance on the road against a red-hot team.

Georgia has a bye week next week which should help rest and heal they’re key players. No game is easy given the current state of the team, but Sunday’s home game with Alabama should be a win. If Georgia can get past Kentucky, they’ll have a good chance to head into the bye week in good shape to make a late season charge back towards the top third of the conference standings. They’re just a half-game out of third place right now. A loss at Lexington though would leave them in 8th place and just .500 in conference play. It’s as big of a crossroads game as Andy Landers’ team will face this year.

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