In the First Round of the 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, the third-seeded University of Georgia women’s basketball team (21-6, 10-5) defeated No. 14 seed Drexel (14-9, 8-6), 67-53, at the Bill Greehey Arena in San Antonio, Texas, Monday afternoon.
Senior Jenna Staiti led the team in scoring with 19 points after going 7-of-9 from the field with a perfect 2-2 record behind the arc. Staiti has now scored in double figures in 31 of the last 36 games dating back to last season. Senior Que Morrison was Georgia’s next-leading scorer with 11 points.
“I want to start by tipping my hat off to Drexel,” Georgia head coach Joni Taylor said. “Amy [Mallon] has done a really good job all year long. They’re a tough team, the action they run is very difficult to guard, and they’ve got two great players in [Hannah] Nihill and [Keishana] Washington. I thought we did a really good job of settling in, disrupting them on the defensive end and some of their turnovers gave us a chance to get our offense going. They did a really good job of smothering us on the offensive side of the floor, but they’re a really good team. I’m proud of our young ladies and what they’ve been able to do since getting to San Antonio. There have obviously been a whole lot going on in terms of being in quarantine and the inequities of being in the bubble, but they put their heads down and continued to work. I’m just really proud of how they played.”
To open, Georgia struggled to make plays in what was a Drexel-dominated first quarter. A six-minute scoring drought for the Lady Dogs allowed the Dragons to take a 8-2 lead. However, Georgia began showing signs of a comeback as the team tallied eight points in three minutes. Morrison’s shot at the buzzer off an offensive rebound made it a five-point game going into the second quarter, with Drexel leading 15-10.
Georgia took advantage of a Drexel scoring drought to start the second quarter. Coming off the bench, junior Caitlin Hose made an immediate impact for the Lady Dogs. Having averaged only two points per game this season, she tallied six points in the second quarter with consecutive 3-pointers. Her first marked Georgia’s first three-point basket of the game and also gave the Lady Dogs their first lead (18-17) since the opening minutes of the first frame. A back-and-forth offensive battle ensued to round out the second quarter, sending the teams into halftime tied 25-25.
Despite not starting the game for the first time this season, Staiti continued to be a force for the Lady Dogs as she opened the second half with nine of Georgia’s 15 third-quarter points. Redshirt junior Mikayla Coombs, who scored four of the 15, also proved to be a key factor in the Lady Dogs rebuilding their advantage. Her second basket of the third quarter gave Georgia a 31-27 lead and one it would maintain the remainder of the game. A Staiti 3-pointer capped the third, and the Lady Dogs took a 40-35 advantage into the final frame.
In the final frame, the Lady Dogs continued to lock down on defense as they held the Dragons to 18 points compared to Georgia’s 27. The other end of the court featured a group scoring effort by Georgia. Led by Staiti’s 11 points, four other Lady Dogs also contributed points to give Georgia the 67-53 win over Drexel and advance to the Second Round. The Lady Dogs will face either No. 6 seed Oregon or No. 11 seed South Dakota on Wednesday, March 24.