ATHENS, Ga. — The Southeastern Conference honored several programs and student-athletes from all 14 schools as part of its 2021 SEC Women’s Basketball Community Service Team, the league office announced on Thursday.
This marks the 23rd year for the SEC Community Service Team for women’s basketball as well as for men’s basketball. All league-sponsored sports have had a Community Service Team since 2004, with at-large teams for men’s and women’s sports being chosen from 1999-2003.
The entire Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball squad — which has been actively involved in the community under Head Coach Joni Taylor — was honored for its efforts in social justice initiatives and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I cannot say enough positive things about our young ladies and what they continue to do in the community,” Taylor said. “When fans watch our team on the court, they see a group of individuals who put others before themselves, who fight, who are tough and play together. What people may not realize is that is exactly who these young ladies are striving to be away from the basketball floor. They are unselfish, they are relentless in their service to each other and their community. Of all the things we have accomplished this year, I am most proud of the impact and the difference we have made in our neighborhoods and surrounding cities. I am truly honored to be their coach.”
‘Show Up’ has been the theme for the Lady Bulldogs this year. Taylor and her staff issued a challenge to their players to show up, not just on the court, but also in the community.
As a team, Georgia collected close to 150 water bottles for the Boys and Girls Club of Athens this past September. COVID protocols eliminated the use of water fountains, so the organization needed new, re-fillable water bottles. When the Lady Bulldogs found out about this, they immediately wanted to help. Taylor, along with several student-athletes, issued a challenge on social media, asking supporters to drop off new, re-fillable water bottles at Stegeman Coliseum. The community responded in a big way, with over 80 bottles collected in the first two hours alone.
Georgia also helped donate Christmas gifts to families at Stroud Elementary and collected food items for the Northeast Georgia Food Bank. Through Taylor’s Beyond Basketball organization, the Lady Bulldogs also took in donations of snacks for The Cottage of Athens – a non-profit that raises awareness of sexual assault and child abuse.
The Lady Bulldogs were also active in the Georgia Way’s ‘Dawgs to the Polls’ initiative, which worked to ensure that every student-athlete at UGA was registered to vote. During this past election season, Georgia women’s basketball student-athletes volunteered many hours to serve at polls around the area.
This is just a snapshot of the many community service efforts the Lady Bulldogs — and the rest of the SEC — have taken part in this season.