SPOKANE, Wash. -- Georgia coach Andy Landers becomes so passionate about whatever he is doing it scares him.

"I'm either all in or all out," he said Sunday, a day before the Lady Bulldogs faced second-seeded Cal in the Spokane Regional final of the NCAA women's basketball tournament.

The Georgian raconteur, who is something of a gentleman rancher, then provided an example.

"So I got a farm, right?" he started. "I had a calf that was born and mom didn't give any milk, so I have to bottle-feed the calf and raise the calf. I'm the calf's mother. Called him Buster.

"Buster was dressing up in Georgia gear for the Georgia/Florida football game. Buster was in our huddle. Buster was next to a stripper pole in Vegas. I mean, Buster was everywhere.

"But I was doing that. I was going out to there at 6, 7 o'clock in the morning and putting shirts and game shorts on Buster. I just said, 'Hey, come on, we can't run a pick and roll, but Buster looks good.' Give me a break."

For crying out loud

Georgia's seniors talked about how much Landers has meant to them as their careers come to a close. Then Landers fondly reflected on their time in Athens, Ga.

First he talked about All-Southeastern Conference forward Jasmine Hassell.

"We call Hassell 'Big Baby,' " Landers said. "She should have to pay the University of Georgia for all the tissue she used as a freshman and sophomore. You always knew where she was. Just follow the little blots on the hallway."


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On the go

Landers also had entertaining memories of 6-foot-3 Anne Marie Armstrong, who won three Georgia high school titles in basketball, three in volleyball and four in track and field, where she was a three-time state high jump champion.

"Now, if you think about it you go, 'Wow, that's great,' " Landers said. "No, that was awful. I told her when she was committing, if you can focus, you can be great. But you have never had to focus.

"What happens with a kid like that is, before school starts, you to start playing volleyball. And if you play for a state championship in Georgia you play right up until the time basketball season starts. And in her case then you take a week off to get rested. How do you get tired playing volleyball?

"Then you walk out and start the first game of the season and you score 20, 30 points. You didn't go through preseason conditions, you didn't lift, and you didn't run around the track, you didn't do the defensive drills. You did not do all the things everybody else did or that people don't like to do. And you played and you win a state championship.

"You take a week off. To rest up for track. For high jump. Now I want you to think about this. High school high jumping. What's involved there? You go out and you jump a few times every day, every other day. That's it. And then that season's over. Whew, been a long year."

Inspired

Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb became emotional when recounting the difficult lives of some of her players, including three who have had family members gunned down.

"Murder," she said. "It's unfathomable. How many of us have anyone in their life that had to go through that? I am so lucky to be around a group of kids that really inspire me. I can look at the grace and resilience in which they handled it and say they are a group of young people that maybe I teach them some things but I am learning from them all the time."

Gennifer Brandon's father was shot and killed by police in Southern California when mistaken for an armed robbery suspect. Tierra Rogers' father was murdered by an unknown assailant outside of her basketball game at Sacred Heart Cathedral in San Francisco when she was a junior. Eliza Pierre's brother and another man were shot during an altercation at a party in Southern California just before her junior season in 2011.

"You look at someone like Eliza," Gottlieb said while tearing up. "She could have been in a situation where she wasn't" a Cal basketball player.

Cal sophomore Reshanda Gray hasn't experienced a family member being murdered, but growing up in South Central L.A. included terrifying moments.

"The parents were pushing them to the back of the apartment while the bullets were flying," Gottlieb said.

Plenty of drive

The mothers of Cal's Talia Caldwell, Brandon and Pierre carpooled 22 hours from Los Angeles to watch their daughters play in Spokane. In Brandon's case it is her adoptive mom Michelle Chevalier, the Chatsworth High girls' basketball coach.