Georgia women's basketball coach Andy Landers
WHO: No. 4 Georgia (27-6) vs. No. 1 Stanford (33-2).
WHAT: Women’s NCAA Tournament, Sweet 16.
WHEN: 9:30 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: Spokane, Wash.
SPOKANE, Wash. — Georgia senior Jasmine Hassell was just a freshman in 2010 when the Stanford Lady Cardinal embarrassed the Lady Bulldogs in the Sweet 16, 73-36.
Hassell scored just two points in that game and hasn’t forgotten about the drubbing as the No. 4 seed Lady Bulldogs head into Saturday’s rematch with No. 1 seed Stanford in another Sweet 16 showdown.
And even though the teams have identical seeds as they did four years ago, Hassell insists plenty has changed since then.
“I think we just have a different mindset,” Hassell told the UGA student newspaper, the Red & Black. “We’re a good team and we’re a special team. I think as long as we play defense, stay strong and communicate with each other we’re a great team.”
The Cardinal own a 7-3 all-time record against the Lady Bulldogs and are 4-2 against them in the NCAA Tournament, but Hassell isn’t the only one believing Saturday’s matchup will be different.
“This is not the same Georgia team and this is not the same Stanford team, so you can throw all that out the window,” UGA coach Andy Landers told the newspaper. “This is the here and now, and I think this matchup is a good one for us.”
Hassell, a first-team All-SEC pick of league coaches, paces Georgia in scoring (12.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg); Jasmine James, who was tabbed second-team and honorable mention All-SEC, chips in 10.8 ppg and a team-best 3.7 apg; and Shacobia Barbee, who was named to both the All-SEC Freshman and Defensive teams, leads the Lady Bulldogs (27-6) in steals and is second in both rebounds and assists.
But the Lady Bulldogs, who are playing in their 20th Sweet 16 in only 30 NCAA Tournament appearances, will face a Stanford team that has some stars of its own and has rolled through their first two tournament games — 72-56 against Tulsa and 73-40 against Michigan.
Pac-12 Player of the Year Chiney Ogwumike leads the Lady Cardinal (33-2) with eye-popping averages of 22.3 ppg and 13.0 rpg. Joslyn Tinkle and Amber Orrange also contribute double-digit scoring averages at 11.9 ppg and 10.7 ppg, respectively.
Georgia dispatched 13th-seeded Montana, 70-50, last Saturday and then topped No. 23-ranked and fifth-seeded Iowa State, 65-60, on Monday in its 19th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
COACHING SHOWDOWN: It would be difficult to find a list of all-time coaching leaders in women’s basketball history without finding Landers and Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer among the Top 10.
Landers and VanDerveer, who both are in their 34th seasons at the Division I level, have been quite productive for their current employers. For UGA and Stanford, they have a combined 1,564 victories (822 for Landers, 742 to VanDerveer), 56 20-win campaigns (28 for both), 58 NCAA Tournament appearances (30 for Landers, 28 for VanDerveer) and 15 Final Fours (10 for VanDerveer, five for Landers).
VanDerveer possesses a 7-3 edge in all-time matchups with Landers’ teams, and ranked matchups are a recurring theme in contests between Landers and VanDerveer. For four of the 10 dates, both teams have been ranked in the Top 10 of the AP poll.
GO WEST YOUNG WOMAN: Georgia has a long history of trekking west for the NCAA Tournament. While the use of geographic names for Regionals was discontinued in 2005, this will be the Lady Bulldogs’ ninth assignment to a Regional on the west coast.
Officially, Georgia was assigned to the West Regional of the bracket in 1985 (Los Angeles, Calif.), 1990 (Stanford, Calif.), 1991 (Las Vegas, Nev.), 1993 (Missoula, Mont.), 1997 (Missoula, Mont.), 2000 (Portland, Ore.) and 2004 (Seattle, Wash.).
Since then, the Lady Dogs’ unofficial assignments to the West came in 2010 (Sacramento, Calif.) and 2013 (Spokane, Wash.).
Georgia won the 1985 West Regional en route to an NCAA runner-up finish that season and reached the Elite Eight round of the West in 1991, 1997, 2000 and 2004.