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Lady Bulldogs looking to play more up-tempo style this season
Georgia opens season ranked No. 19
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ATHENS — Jasmine James says she wasn't surprised to learn Georgia is moving to a more up-tempo style this season.

Size isn't a strength for the Lady Bulldogs, who lost 6-foot-5 center Angela Robinson from last season's Sweet 16 team.
It's time to run.

"Definitely, I feel it fits our team very well," James said. "We're not the tallest team."

The Lady Bulldogs also lost four-year starting point guard Ashley Houts from last season's 25-9 team.

Georgia is No. 19 in The Associated Press Top 25 preseason poll.

Coach Andy Landers said his players learned quickly there is more to the up-tempo style than just the fun of fast-break baskets.

He said his young team, which has eight freshmen and sophomores, enjoyed the new style for the first few days of practice. Then came the realization that it is a physical grind to maintain the demanding pace.

"Getting excited about it seems to have been easy," Landers said this week. "I think players enjoy that style and they were very, very good the first three or four days. Maintaining that tempo and that pace is a physical challenge and we're not where we need to be."

Landers laughed when asked if the players have learned that defense sets up fast breaks.

"We've got a long way to go on the defensive end," he said. "But we show signs from time to time. There's positive flashes."

James, a sophomore from Memphis, may take the scoring lead after averaging 11.5 points per game last season. She set a Southeastern Conference record by being named the league's freshman of the week five times, and she led the Lady Bulldogs in scoring in 14 games.

James would seem the logical candidate to take over for Houts, but Landers is not naming a point guard. He says he wants James, freshman Ronika Ransford from Washington, D.C., and others to share the ball-handling duties.

Landers said his new system "and the abilities of our players" are reasons he's not designating a starting point guard.

"I just think that we have kids that I trust with the basketball," he said. "I trust their skills, I trust their abilities and I trust their judgment."

Ransford was a McDonald's All-America who has impressed observers with her ball-handling skills in preseason practice.

Ransford could eventually move into the lead point guard role to free James for scoring.

"There is not a designated point guard but I do feel like (Landers) is pretty comfortable with the ball being in my hands when we do have to set it up in a half-court set," James said.

Senior forward Porsha Phillips and junior guard Meredith Mitchell join James as returning starters.

The 6-foot-2 Phillips led Georgia with 8.2 rebounds per game last season while averaging 8.7 points. The league's coaches voted Phillips to the eight-player preseason all-SEC team. James was a second-team selection.

Landers, 58, has 750 wins with five Final Four appearances in 31 seasons as Georgia's coach.

Georgia plays Lander in an exhibition on Wednesday and opens its season on Nov. 14 against Georgia Southern.

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