The Lady Bulldogs showed up to win in their season opener against St. Bonaventure. The team came out on top 67-40. This game is only the second time that the schools have faced off against each other and Georgia has triumphed on both occasions.
St. Bonaventure was the first to put points on the board with a jumper by Asianae Johnson. Georgia quickly bounced back and secured the lead for what would be the rest of the game with two free throws by Stephanie Paul and a jumper by Taja Cole within the first two minutes of the game.
Cole and forward Caliya Robinson were on fire in the first half scoring a combined 15 points of Georgia’s leading score of 36-16. Redshirt sophomore transfer Jenna Staiti made a 3-pointer during her first minutes on the court as a Bulldog. The 6-6 center had to watch from the bench last season by NCAA transfer rules, so her impressive debut meant a lot to her and the team.
“I knew my teammates were going to come out and get me,” she said. “Even coach Taylor came out [to celebrate with me]. This is why I’m here… this is why I’m at Georgia. Just seeing all my teammates express their love for me… they’re like my sisters.”
One teammate that Georgia was without this game was Que Morrison. She could be seen supporting her “sisters” on crutches from the sidelines. She tore her lateral meniscus during preseason practice and underwent surgery for the injury last week. As a sophomore, Morrison was expected to be a vital asset to the Lady Bulldogs’ success. She was named to the All-SEC Freshman team last year and averaged 27.1 minutes per game as a starter on the wing.
Heading into the final quarter, the Lady Bulldogs led 55-20. Although the Bonnies doubled their points, it was not enough to upset Georgia.
“Overall [I’m] pleased,” Georgia head coach Joni Taylor said. “We got to see a lot of different lineups and matchups. I was not thrilled we gave up 20 points in the fourth quarter. That is something we have to continue to work on. When we sub, we need to make sure we have the same effort on both ends of the floor. Overall, I was happy with their effort and the looks we got offensively.”
St. Bonaventure had a high number of turnovers, especially in the first half. The Bonnies’ mistakes gave Georgia a chance to use their shooting power. The Lady Bulldog scored 14 points off of 15 turnovers.
The crowd came to Stegeman Coliseum energized and excited to watch Georgia do what they do best: win. Cole said that she was pleased with the turnout, especially for a 6 p.m. game. She had a message for the growing fan base.
“We are going to continue working hard. We are going to continue building this program. I just hope you guys can watch us coming up,” said Cole.
Georgia has not lost a season opener at home since 1991, and they kept that tradition going tonight with a solid win over St. Bonaventure