Originally created 02/20/03

Landers suspends Braxton for season



ATHENS, Ga. - The season is over for Kara Braxton, the Georgia women's basketball team's top scorer.

Coach Andy Landers suspended the 6-foot-6 sophomore forward for the remainder of the season Wednesday for "repeated violation of team policies."

Her inability to adhere to those policies and lack of response in rectifying the situation have brought this about. It's become a distraction we can do without," Landers said in a statement released before the No. 13 Lady Bulldogs left for Knoxville, Tenn., and their game tonight against No. 3 Tennessee.

When reached by telephone in her dorm room, Braxton, who practiced Tuesday but not Wednesday, declined to comment about the suspension. She said she might feel like talking about what happened in a few days.

Braxton averaged a team-high 15.7 points in 21 games this season, despite playing only 23.8 minutes per game. She also led the team in turnovers (78) and was second on the team in rebounding (7.3).

The latest suspension marks the third time Braxton has been disciplined this season. She was first suspended for the Lady Bulldogs' game against Middle Tennessee State on Dec. 30. She was then suspended for Georgia's game against Auburn on Feb. 9 after she was late for practice.

Braxton returned to practice Feb. 11, and Landers said he wanted to put the incident behind him.

"I consider this issue done," he said, adding undisclosed "follow-ups" were put into place following Braxton's reinstatement. "She made a mistake, a judgment mistake. Did she break the laws of our country? No. Should she serve time for it? No. But it was a mistake that violates the spirit of what we're doing as a team, and for that there are certain ramifications."

Landers said Tuesday he had a "good" conversation with Braxton and that he "didn't meet any resistance."

But Sunday he expressed concern Braxton was repeating a pattern of mistakes.

"You want to coach people you can depend on, and there aren't very many players on any teams anywhere in this country who miss two or three games a year because they weren't at the right place at the right time," Landers said.

Landers sent Braxton a message against LSU on Feb. 2 when he didn't insert her into the game until the 8:25 mark of the first half. He said after the game that it wasn't his job "to nurture mediocrity."

The suspension comes one day after Braxton celebrated her 20th birthday and was named one of 20 finalists for the women's Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Award.

Braxton was named Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year last year after she led Georgia in scoring (16.3), rebounding (6.8), blocks (59), steals (54) and turnovers (101).