Looking Ahead With Georgia Lady Bulldogs Forward Stephanie Paul

NCAA Womens Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Missouri vs Georgia
Mar 2, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; Georgia Bulldogs forward Stephanie Paul (3) dribbles the ball as Missouri Tigers guard Amber Smith (23) defends during the first half of the SEC Conference Tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports USED WITH PERMISSION

by Jackson Fryburger
Woodward Academy

Georgia women’s basketball is typically thought of as a tournament level program that finishes towards the top of the Southeastern Conference.  However, all of that seemed to change with the 2016-17 season.

The Lady Bulldogs finished the 2016-17 campaign at 16-15 overall with a 7-9 record in SEC play.  They dropped three games throughout the season to rivals Georgia Tech and Florida.  In most seasons, the Bulldogs take care of business against their two arch-rivals, but not that year.

Coming off that disappointing 2016-17 season, the Lady Bulldogs were picked to finish 8th in the Southeastern Conference.  Surprisingly though, the Bulldogs started to win games … a lot of games.  By the end of the regular season, Georgia found themselves in 3rd place in the SEC with a 25-5 record.

The Bulldogs went into Nashville for the SEC Tournament in March and got a big win over Missouri.  However, South Carolina blasted Georgia out of the building the next day.  That led the Dawgs to selection Monday, where they found out their NCAA Tournament fate.  The NCAA gave Georgia a No. 4 seed for the competition, which meant that they would be hosting a regional.

Georgia beat Mercer 68-63 to enter the final round of regional play against Duke.  However, the game went in the Blue Devils’ favor by a 66-40 score.  Georgia went cold shooting in their final contest of the season, but it hardly dampened the mood for a relatively successful season.

“We had a different mentality coming into the next season and especially in the offseason,” Georgia’s Stephanie Paul (forward) said, adding that, through their dedication, freshman had an impact on the success of the program last year.

“(It was) a great season and we obviously would have liked to finish better,” she said.  “We were picked to finish 8th and we ended up finishing 3rd in the SEC.”

The only teams to finish ahead of Georgia were Mississippi State and South Carolina.

Paul noted how the “mentality” of the team was key to their success. “We don’t want to be the prey, we want to be the predators.”

Looking towards next season, Paul said that the team wants to go “a little further in the tournament” than they did this past year.


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