Lady Bulldogs basketball finish season on the rise: ‘winning is written all over Georgia’

Georgia women's basketball finished its first season under coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson playing at its best with seniors like Brittney Smith raising her level of play.
NCAA tourney

Georgia women’s basketball made a statement in the NCAA tourney under first-year coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson.

It was only two games, but the Lady Bulldogs style of play, effort and execution said everything about the direction of the program.

“We brought a bunch of kids together, (and) they bought in,” said Abrahamson-Henderson, whose Georgia team won nine of its final 13 games, it’s losses coming to No. 1-ranked South Carolina, No. 2-ranked Iowa and No. 9-ranked LSU.

“The Georgia brand is there, and I’m just really really proud of them to do this this year with 15 brand new players and our coaching staff. That’s why I keep saying that Georgia is here today.

“There’s going to be a lot of young kids that are going to want to play for us because winning is written all over Georgia.”

Georgia first-year coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson won 22 games her first year in Athens and became the first UGA women's basketball coach to beat a Power 5 team in an NCAA tourney game since Andy Landers in 2013 when the Bulldogs eliminated Florida State.
Georgia athletics, Dawgnation

The Lady Bulldogs didn’t get the desired result in the 74-66 loss to the No. 2-seeded Hawkeyes on Sunday.

RELATED: Georgia battles, can’t overcome Iowa’s home court advantage

But it’s not a stretch to suggest Georgia would have beaten Iowa had that game been played in other building that Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

All the pregame talk was about Iowa star Caitlin Clarke, but UGA’s Diamond Battles was just as efficient.

“We locked in on the game plan, we focused on key components of what (Coach) Abe says to do,” Battles said. “Our defense was really good today. We stuck to the game plan. We boxed out. We was on the boards. We got loose balls, we played Georgia basketball today.”

UGA athletic director Josh Brooks made the trip to Iowa City to support the Lady Bulldogs and left impressed.

“We are thrilled about the future of Georgia women’s basketball under the leadership of Coach Abe,” Brooks said. “To take a roster of 10 newcomers to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with 22 wins was a remarkable achievement.

“Our team laid a tremendous foundation for years to come, and I know there are a lot of exciting days ahead.”

RELATED: Georgia women’s basketball applies ‘elite defense’ and ‘connected’ concepts similar to UGA football

It’s clear Abrahamson-Henderson, a former Georgia player herself, is going to insist upon it.

To the credit of the Lady Bulldogs head coach, she didn’t submit to adulation of the winning team, like so many other coaches typically do in the wake of defeat.

Coach Abe fought for her team, declaring that Battles — not Clarke — was the best player on the floor.

Further, the Georgia coach made her postgame about her team, and rightfully so after the way they competed.

“I know everything is going to be about Iowa right now, but my team is really good,” Abrahamson-Henderson said. “We came in here, we fought like crazy, we were the underdogs, but there was no underdog here today.

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