The Georgia women’s basketball team will open their 2017-18 season in UGA’s newly renovated Stegeman Coliseum against the Wofford Terriers at 2:00 p.m. ET this afternoon (Sunday).
Georgia Women’s Basketball Game Notes
Georgia Lady Bulldogs vs. Wofford Terriers
Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. ET
Stegeman Coliseum (10,523) in Athens, Ga.
Georgia Bulldog Sports Network.
Flagship: WRFC-AM 960 (Athens)
(Jeff Dantzler, play-by-play)
CLICK HERE to listen to free audio stream at Georgiadogs.com.
SEC Network +
(Matt Stewart, play-by-play; Angel Gray, analyst)
CLICK HERE to watch via livestream on WatchESPN.
CLICK HERE to follow live stats online.
THE STARTING FIVE
This will be the first-ever meeting between the Georgia Lady Bulldogs and the Wofford Terriers.
The Lady Bulldogs are 35-9 all-time in season-opening games. Georgia enters its 45th year as a program having won 11-straight season openers dating back to 2005-06, when the Lady Bulldogs lost to then-No. 6 Baylor, 84-72. Georgia’s last loss at home in a season-opener came at the beginning of the 1991-92 season — a 92-66 defeat to No. 7 Stanford.
Georgia enters its third season under the direction of head coach Joni Taylor. In Taylor’s first two years, the Lady Bulldogs won a combined six games against top-25 teams, reached the NCAA Tournament in 2015-16 and had a top-10 signing class in 2017. In addition, the Lady Bulldogs have maintained their elite status as one of only three programs nationwide, joining Wisconsin-Green Bay and Tennessee, to have a winning record every season since women’s basketball became an NCAA sport in 1981-82.
A top-10 signing class of four eligible freshmen will join six returning letter winners and two transfers on the roster this season. Among the returners is preseason All-SEC second-team selection Caliya Robinson and forward Mackenzie Engram.
Speaking of Robinson … The Marietta native received a prestigious honor earlier this week. She was named to the Katrina McClain Award Watch List, putting her name among the top-20 power forwards.
RENEWED STEGEMAN HIGHLIGHTS SEASON-OPENER
Lady Bulldog faithful might notice a few changes when they enter Stegeman Coliseum for the first time this season. The $8-million project concluded this past summer and is considered a huge success in enhancing the game day experience. The Coliseum’s updated “look” features new black seats, an improved LED lighting system, a state-of-the-art sound system and graphics above the horseshoe end celebrating past teams and retired jerseys. What will catch spectators’ eyes immediately, however, is the addition of a massive center-hung scoreboard. All of the aforementioned, coupled with considerably more LED graphics panels, will greatly enhance the atmosphere within the venue.
TOP-10 CLASS READY TO TAKE THE FLOOR
The much talked about 2017 signing class, which includes three five-star and two four-star prospects, is ready to take the floor for the Lady Bulldogs this season. As a group, this year’s incoming freshman class of Malury Bates, Maya Caldwell, Gabby Connally, and Que Morrison, along with Maryland transfer Jenna Staiti, features five McDonald’s All-America nominees, two Naismith All-Americans, a former Georgia Player of the Year, an Atlanta Tipoff Club Metro Player of the Year and numerous other awards and accolades.
ROBINSON RISES AMONG LEAGUE’S BEST, NAMED PRESEASON ALL-SEC
Caliya Robinson, a 2016 SEC All-Freshman Team selection and 2017 SEC All-Defensive Team honoree, returns for her junior season as one of the league’s best scorers, rebounders, and shot-blockers. She enters her third year in Athens ranked among the SEC’s top-10 returning players in all three categories. Recently, she was named to the Preseason All-SEC Second Team in a vote by league coaches and was named to the Katrina McClain Award Watch List, which recognizes the top-20 power forwards in the nation.
WHAT RETURNS, WHAT WAS LOST FROM A YEAR AGO
Georgia returns six letter winners who made up about 60 percent of the team’s scoring and 53 percent of the squad’s rebounding a year ago. The short-handed Lady Bulldogs played with just eight scholarship players last season and will enjoy the added depth that a top-10 signing class brings to the roster during the 2017-18 campaign. Georgia returns two of its top three scorers from 2016-17 but must replace leading scorer and rebounder Pachis Roberts, who graduated after averaging 14.5 points and 6.9 rebounds last season.
WAIT OVER FOR COLE AND BLANARU
Taja Cole, one of the top prospects in the 2015 class who transferred to Georgia from Louisville before last season, is eligible after sitting out the 2016-17 campaign due to NCAA transfer rules. A native of Richmond, Virginia, Cole was a five-star prospect and the No. 8-rated point guard in the country in the 2015 class (No. 26 overall recruit nationally) according to ESPN.com’s HoopGurlz. She was a McDonald’s All-American and was the 2014-15 Gatorade Virginia Girls Basketball Player of the Year before playing in all 34 games during her freshman season with the Cardinals.
Bianca Blanaru, a 6-foot-5 center from Timisoara, Romania, played two seasons at Washington State before transferring to Georgia before the 2016-17 season. Blanaru will be a redshirt-junior this year after playing in 58 total games, including 19 starts, in two years with the Cougars. During her sophomore season, Blanaru swatted 22 shots and was part of a WSU frontline that set a new single-season record in blocked shots with 120.
CLICK HERE for the full game notes for Georgia versus Wofford women’s basketball game.