ATHENS — The Lady Bulldogs basketball team started their season with a 76- 55 win over the Stetson Hatters. Here are five takeaways from Sunday’s game:
Shacobia Barbee back in action
Finishing the game with 10 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, senior guard Shacobia Barbee earned only the third triple-double in Lady Bulldogs’s history — the first in over 20 years.
“What? I didn’t know that. That’s a long time,” Barbee said. “It feels good. That’s about all I’ve got for you. Really most of the credit goes to my teammates.”
Barbee was injured against No. 5 Tennessee last season, putting her out for the majority of conference play. Previous to her injury, she notched four double-double games.
Going into the first half against Stetson, Barbee had already grabbed 10 boards and was up to seven assists. She got encouragement from her teammates to go for it in the second half.
The only other players to accomplish the feat were former Georgia standouts and WNBA players Teresa Edwards (1986) and Tracy Henderson (1995), which is “pretty good company” according to head coach Joni Taylor.
Barbee also led Sunday’s game in steals with six.
While Atlanta-native and popular rapper Silentó got the crowd dancing on the court at halftime, he celebrated with the team after the Lady Bulldogs’ victory.
The team and Taylor showed of their moves to Silentó’s hit song “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” on the court.
The Joni Taylor era has officially begun
Picking up a milestone win, Taylor tallied a victory in the first game without Andy Landers at the helm.
She has been in charge since she was announced as Landers’ successor in April, but Sunday’s game was the first time fans, players, and even Taylor would know how that looked in a real game.
“It was a lot different, the way her strategies were and the things she was telling us in our time outs,” Barbee said. “Her energy that she brought into the huddle and her pushing us to not let us let down and keep attacking us at all times. That was really good. I think that was the biggest difference.”
Taylor has preached an up-tempo style of play since she took over. And the implementation of that and her approach to substitution was well-received by her players.
“It was just, like, different. But it was a good different,” sophomore Mackenzie Engram said. “Looking at the sideline, messing up and she’s like smiling. That’s kind of who she is. She’ll get on to you but I’m also very happy that we got this win for her.”
Landers was in attendance for the game. He is set to begin his new gig with the SEC Network in early December. He will be in the studio come conference time and has no interest in calling Georgia games.
He says he knows too much about them.
Young players, big contribution
Engram also made a splash in the season opener, notching an 18-point, 11-rebound double-double.
“Coming into the season my goal was eight rebounds a night, but I felt the height advantage (against Stetson) helped a little bit,” Engram said.
Going into the half, Engram led the team in points with 12 and had six rebounds. Engram’s post coach had her eye on the stats and told her to grab enough rebounds so she could start her sophomore campaign with a double-double.
Sunday’s performance is only her second career double-double.
Last season, Engram was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team. So she was excited to see newcomer Amber Skidgel knock down two shots from beyond the arc.
“I smiled ear-to-ear when she made her three,” Engram said. “It was like me making it. I’m just so happy for her.”
-Sunday’s win marked the program’s 900th victory
-Senior Tiara Griffin led the team in points with 21
-The Lady Bulldogs face Michigan State on Wednesday in East Lansing, Mich.
-The team played in front of a crowd of 3,530 on Sunday
FULL POST-GAME PRESS CONFERENCE BELOW