The University of Georgia women’s basketball team defeated the Furman Paladins, 77-48, on Sunday afternoon in Athens, GA at Stegeman Coliseum.
The Lady Bulldogs’ were led by sophomore Shaniya Jones, who made her debut on Sunday and didn’t waste any time making her presence on the court known, dropping 20 points in approximately 14 minutes of play. Jones transferred from Virginia Tech in January of 2019 earlier this year and was not eligible to play until Sunday afternoon’s game.
It marks the most points scored by a Lady Bulldog in a debut during the Joni Taylor era and the most since Tasha Humphrey scored 25 in the first game of her career against Furman in 2004. Coach Taylor commented on the performance of Jones after the Dawgs’ win on Sunday.
“I’ve said it earlier, ‘She’s a walking bucket.’ She’s a three-level scorer. You don’t see that a lot anymore. She can score from 3, score from midrange, she gets to the rim. She can also get others involved—she’s fun to watch. She’s going to be a crowd favorite for sure” said Taylor. “She’s still got more to learn. She has no idea what we’re running on offense. Defensively, she’s getting run off and left and things like that. I’m happy for her. I’m happy that after she sat for a year, she was able to come out and have this type of performance. Hopefully, it builds her confidence, but it’s back to the drawing board. My motto is ‘You don’t get too high, you don’t get too low,’ so we’re going to keep chopping wood.”
Coach Taylor also answered the question as to why Jones’ minutes were limited versus Furman.
“It just worked out that way. I think it will come. Her first debut, I was going to go through the normal rotation we have, and so, when she had her chance, she went out there and played well,” said Taylor. “Then, the next time we subbed, she was the first sub off the bench because she earned the right to be the first sub. As she continues to progress, her minutes will come.”
And what did Jones think of her debut?
“It felt good. I didn’t think that I was going to come out like that,” said Jones. “But once shots started going in and I started getting more comfortable and letting stuff come to me, like Coach Karen (Lange) told me, everything just started falling into place.”
Jones added: “As you saw, my shot was. Normally, I’m an attacker, and I got to the basket every time, but just me working on my shot. Honestly, I was just coming in trying to work on the things that I need to work on for my team and doing the things I need to do for my team in order for us to be successful.”
The only other Lady Bulldog to finish in double-figures was senior Stephanie Paul who put up 14 points, who was also asked to comment about Shaniya Jones‘ performance.
“She did amazing tonight. We were so excited for her to come back and play. She had been waiting a year, and she just shot the ball really well,” said Paul. “She passed the ball really well. She played some great defense. So, it was just really exciting having her back out there.”
Paul added: “She helped us a lot, especially offensively. She can create her own shot and deliver the ball. I’m excited for her, especially going into the SEC soon, so that’ll be fun.”
In addition, freshman Javyn Nicholson hauled in a team-high seven rebounds. Click here for the full box score and game stats from Georgia 77-48 win over Furman.
The win came after an 11-day break for the Georgia women’s team, which Taylor shared her thoughts on how the team performed after the hiatus.
“That was great. It was definitely what I wanted to see. I thought we took advantage of the break and got our young players a lot of reps, a lot of scrimmaging. They had a better understanding of our offense, our defense, so I’m excited for them that they were able to work on something, and then see it get carried out in the game,” said Taylor. “I thought our shot selection was good. We obviously shot the ball well today, but it’s because we were comfortable in our offensive execution and we took shots within our offense, instead of being pressured, being rushed. I am pleased with how we knocked the rust off today after an 11-day break.”
What’s up next for the Lady Hoop Dawgs? Georgia is set to host UCLA on Thursday, December 19, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. ET in Stegeman Coliseum on the SEC Network.