ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — The Georgia Lady Bulldogs are motivated to avoid another early exit from the NCAA tournament.
They're still feeling the sting of last year's rare first-round loss to Marist. Georgia's long tournament history includes 19 trips to the round of 16.
Georgia is the No. 4 seed — just like last year — and plays Montana on Saturday in Spokane, Wash.
Senior forward Jasmine Hassell said the pain of last year's first-round loss has not been forgotten.
"It was heart-breaking because you're so used to going to the Sweet 16," Hassell said Wednesday. "We want to go past the Sweet 16 this year."
Georgia is making its 30th NCAA tournament appearance in 34 seasons with coach Andy Landers. The Lady Bulldogs have advanced to five Final Fours but have never won the championship.
This year's senior class made back-to-back appearances the round of 16 in 2010 and 2011.
"I would say the lesson we learned from last year is you can't overlook anyone, no matter what conference they come from, no matter what their ranking is or record is," said senior guard Jasmine James. "A good team is a good team. You can't overlook them.
"You're going to have to go in and compete hard for 40 minutes, no matter who the team is. I think that is definitely something we were able to take away from last year."
James said Georgia players last season may have presumed they would win at least two NCAA tournament games.
"You're used to getting to the Sweet 16," James said. "It's kind of expected, like it's what you do. Then to go out in the first round was kind of like 'Whoa.'
"It makes you understand you have to go out and earn it. Nobody is going to give anything to you."