25 things to know about the full Lady Bulldogs’ basketball schedule

Finally, a full 25-game schedule is here. Here are some things to know about it.

Georgia head coach Joni Taylor during the Bulldogs’ practice session at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2020. (Photo by Tony Walsh)

ATHENS, Ga. — Anybody have some Etta James playing?

“At last, my schedule has come along,” she said in the all-time hit … uhh … with a word substituted.

See, this young reporter has a little bit of old school inside of him. That’s beside the point. Everyone get excited.

College women’s basketball is near, and the schedule is here. Finally, we know who Georgia is playing to open the season on Nov. 25 and beyond. The Lady Bulldogs released their full slate for a delayed start to the season. A release came in ample time, but the wait has seemed endless during the age of a pandemic.

Nonetheless, here we are. Basketball. Feels kind of normal again (maybe, right?).

“We are thrilled to finally announce our full schedule for the upcoming season,” Georgia head coach Joni Taylor said in a Friday statement. “We know there will be challenges ahead during this pandemic, but our players, our staff and everyone associated with our program have been resilient during this time. It gives us a little sense of normalcy to finally be able to announce a schedule, and I know all of us are excited to get started.” 

Here is the schedule in its 25-game entirety. The time designations are given for non-conference games, but to be determined for SEC play.

Nov. 25: at Mercer; 6 p.m.

Nov. 29: at Georgia Tech; 2 p.m.

Dec. 3: at East Carolina; 6 p.m.

Dec. 6: Oklahoma; 2 p.m.

Dec. 9: Jacksonville State; 7 p.m.

Dec. 12: Radford; Noon

Dec. 17: Georgia State; 7 p.m.

Dec. 20: Furman; 2 p.m.

Dec. 22: Appalachian State; Noon

Dec. 31: Mississippi State

Jan. 3: at Auburn

Jan. 7: at South Carolina

Jan. 10: Florida

Jan. 14: at Tennessee

Jan. 17: Ole Miss

Jan. 25: Arkansas

Jan. 28: LSU

Jan. 31: at Texas A&M

Feb. 4: at Alabama

Feb. 11: Auburn

Feb. 14: at Missouri

Feb. 18: at Vanderbilt

Feb. 21: Tennessee

Feb 25: Kentucky

Feb. 28: at Florida

March 3-7: SEC Tournament (Bon Secours Wellness Arena; Greenville, S.C.)

Somehow, Georgia and the rest of college basketball pulled off the big task. Finding a way to form a schedule during the challenges of Covid-19 isn’t easy, but it’s done.

The Lady Bulldogs will take the court a lot over the next few months. Their eyes are on the prize of a return to the NCAA tournament.

So, let’s dissect the path to get there. I’ve compiled 25 thoughts and notes — one for each game, of course — that you need to know ahead of the opener in less than two weeks.

  1. Georgia scheduled the maximum number of games, 25, as allowed by the NCAA. It will play nine non-conference games and 16 SEC contests.

  2. Stegeman Coliseum will operate at a 20% capacity due to Covid-19. Seats will be available in blocks of two or four seats only.

  3. All seating is reserved inside Stegeman Coliseum for the 2020-21 season.

  4. Tickets will be mobile-only.

  5. Fans are required to wear face masks at all times when inside Stegeman Coliseum.

  6. Season ticket applications are available through the team’s website and must be completed by Nov. 18 to receive priority seating.

  7. Season tickets are $40 and single-game tickets are $5 in blocks of two or four if remaining inventory allows.

  8. The Lady Bulldogs open with three-consecutive road games, beginning Nov. 25 at Mercer, then round out the early-season slate by hosting six straight at Stegeman Coliseum.

  9. Mercer hosts Georgia at Hawkins Arena for the first time since 2017. Macon is now home to three Bears’ staffers with Georgia ties — head coach Susie Gardner (former Lady Bulldog player) and director of player personnel Bryce Dillard (former UGA graduate assistant). Dillard took the position of Drew Landers (son of former Georgia legendary coach Andy Landers), who is now an assistant at USC Upstate.

  10. Georgia women’s basketball is the school’s only major program to set a date with Georgia Tech. Due to Covid-19 scheduling limitations, football and men’s basketball couldn’t play the in-state rival.

  11. The Yellow Jackets have had Georgia’s number over recent years. Georgia looks to snap a two-game losing streak (GT won 73-40 last season in Athens) after having a dominating run over Georgia Tech in the past.

  12. The Dec. 6 game with Oklahoma serves as the Big 12-SEC Challenge game and has been official since May 28. The Sooners finished 12-18 last season.

  13. SEC play opens Dec. 31 as Georgia hosts Mississippi State, which beat the Lady Bulldogs twice last season.

  14. The SEC crossover games, meaning that Georgia will play those teams twice, are Auburn (Jan. 3 and Feb. 11), Florida (Jan. 10 and Feb. 28) and Tennessee (Jan. 14 and Feb. 21).

  15. Two off weeks —on Jan. 21 and Feb. 7 — are installed for Georgia to make up potentially-postponed conference games.

  16. Georgia’s lone game against No. 1 South Carolina comes on Jan. 7 in Columbia, S.C.

  17. Georgia hosts other top SEC programs — Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Kentucky — inside its home arena.

  18. Georgia hosts Ole Miss on Jan. 17. Rebels’ guard Donnetta Johnson transferred from Georgia after the 2018-19 season and is eligible to play against the Lady Bulldogs for the first time.

  19. The Arkansas game on Jan. 25 is a reunion for Georgia center Jenna Staiti and Arkansas guard Destiny Slocum. They played together at Maryland before transferring.

  20. Georgia hosts a three-game homestand in SEC play from Jan. 17-28.

  21. Most of Georgia’s games are within reasonable driving distance for each team — aside from trips to Texas A&M and Missouri. Many programs might choose to use buses as a primary form of transportation as a safety precaution.

  22. Georgia might have an advantage with its top SEC games at home. The Lady Bulldogs finished 17-14 last season and 7-9 in the conference.

  23. The Feb. 4 trip to Alabama is a homecoming for Taylor yet again. She played with the Crimson Tide from 1997-2001. It’s also an opportunity for freshman Sarah Ashlee Barker, who grew up with Alabama ties. Her father, Jay Barker, played quarterback in Tuscaloosa in the 1990s.

  24. Georgia hosts Kentucky on Feb. 25, hoping to avenge a loss in Lexington last season. The Wildcats are led by All-American junior guard Rhyne Howard. Kentucky also welcomes a new coach as Kyra Elzy is the interim in place of Matthew Mitchell, who retired on Nov. 11.

  25. The SEC tournament will be held in Greenville again in 2021. The dates for the postseason event are March 3-7.