The University of Georgia women’s basketball team made 12 3-pointers in its Sweet 16-qualifying win Monday over Iowa State.
If Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer has her way, Georgia won’t come anywhere close to making that many from beyond the arc. If the Bulldogs do, though, it could be a long night for the Cardinal.
Stanford (33-2) and Georgia (27-6) face off tonight in the Arena for a berth in the Elite Eight. Tipoff is at 6.
“They did shoot the ball really well,” VanDerveer said.
Then VanDerveer summed up her game plan: “We plan to guard them.”
In other words, the Cardinal’s strategy won’t be to invite 3-point shots as Iowa State did.
“They did have a lot of open looks,” VanDerveer said. “I don’t think that you can just gamble and hope they’re going to miss.”
Had it not been for freshman Shacobia Barbee, Georgia may have returned home and not stayed around in Spokane after surviving the first and second rounds at Gonzaga University.
Barbee played beyond her years, scoring a game-high 20 points and making three of those 3-pointers. Georgia’s three senior starters – Anne Marie Armstrong, Jasmine Hassell and Jasmine Jones – combined to make 11 of 36 shots from the field.
Barbee caught VanDerveer’s attention as she scouted video.
“She’s a player,” VanDerveer said.
Barbee’s age doesn’t matter to VanDerveer.
“I don’t think when you check in the game you don’t check a box ‘I’m a freshman, here’s how I’m going to play’,” VanDerveer said.
VanDerveer said she’s been impressed with what Georgia coach Andy Landers has gotten out of his team.
“He utilizes his personnel very well,” VanDerveer said. “He doesn’t have people doing that that they’re not good at. They take shots that he wants them to take. They’re just a really talented team (and) they play well together.”
Landers sees a complete team in Stanford.
“They shoot the 3, they have the drivers, they have the shooters and they have the inside presence,” Landers said. “And as always has been the case with Stanford through the years, a very disciplined, well-coached offensive team that knows what they want and who can get it for them.”
It starts with 6-foot-4 junior and three-year starter Chiney Ogwumike, who averages 22.3 points and 13.0 rebounds.
“They have a great one (and) to keep from butchering her name we have nicknamed her Ogie,” Landers said. “She’s just a terrific presence, regardless of what she does. She has an uncanny sense on the defensive end to know who to help, when to show help, when to fake help, when to switch.”
The task of defending Ogwumike will be difficult, too, Landers said.
“She’s a tough proposition – whether she’s in the high post, low post, somewhere in between, off the bounce,” Landers said.
What Landers may be most concerned with, though, is Stanford’s defense.
“The thing that could go unnoticed from time to time … could be their defense,” Landers said. “I’m very impressed with how they defend different teams. They do a great job of scouting and then implementing a defensive scheme that seems to always be effective.”