Lady Dogs knock off Tennessee for second time this year

ATHENS, Ga. — The No. 22-ranked University of Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball team defeated No. 21 Tennessee, 57-55, at Stegeman Coliseum Sunday afternoon in front of a season-high crowd of 1,113 people. This is the first time since the 1984-85 that the Lady Bulldogs have swept the Lady Volunteers in a season.

The Lady Bulldogs improve their record to 17-4 overall, 8-4 in the SEC.

Georgia locked down on defense, holding Tennessee to a season-low in points and a season-low in field-goal percentage (29 percentage).

Senior guard Gabby Connally was a dominant force on offense for the Lady Bulldogs, scoring 24 points. She is the first player to score five or more 3-pointers in back-to-back SEC games since Mary Beth Lycett (Smart). The senior also matched her season high of 38 minutes, last doing so against Missouri on Feb. 14, 2021.

Senior Jenna Staiti had a strong night defensively, blocking six shots and almost surpassing her season high of seven. She leads the SEC with 68 and is averaging 3.1 per game.

“You saw two teams that knew it was going to be a battle, playing for a lot, everybody in our league is,” said Head Coach Joni Taylor. “I think that’s what showed up today. We knew they were going to make a run because they are really talented, and everybody was diving on the floors for those balls – it was emotional. That’s just Georgia-Tennessee, but even more so I would say today because of where we are in the standings, and we are down to the wire. We want to play well going into the tournament, and that is what showed itself for 40 minutes. It was a fun game to be a part of.”

It was a low scoring first quarter for the Lady Bulldogs and Lady Volunteers. For the first five minutes, each team scored two points. At the 5:06 mark, Staiti hit a layup that would help Georgia pull ahead. Connally, Javyn Nicholson, Que Morrison, Sarah Ashlee Barker and Staiti all contributed scoring marks to end the quarter ahead 14-10.

A 3-point shot from Connally four minutes into the second quarter would start a 12-3 run for Georgia. Defensively Georgia held Tennessee to a 12.9 percent shooting percentage in the first half while Staiti notched four blocks. Georgia went into the locker room on top 27-19.

In the third quarter Tennessee bounced back, scoring 12 points to close the gap within the first five minutes. Connally would be a dominant shooter, putting away 10 points. Both teams ended the third scoring 20 points each, Georgia stayed ahead 47-39.

Within the first three minutes, Tennessee would go on a 7-0 run to turn the fourth quarter into a back-and-forth game. Georgia stayed ahead until the very end, Connally, Mikayla Coombs and Jordan Isaacs combined for 16 points to edge out Tennessee 57-55.

Up next, Georgia hosts Kentucky on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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