A back-and-forth game in the second round of the 2017 Southeastern Conference Tournament gave Joni Taylor her first career SEC Tourney win as head coach with a 56-52 victory over Auburn at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
Georgia (16-14) was able to overcome 16 first-half turnovers and silenced the Auburn (17-14) press in the second half to advance to the next round. The Lady Bulldogs now have a date with No. 1 overall seed and SEC regular season champion South Carolina at noon ET Friday.
“Just credit our team for coming back and fighting,” Taylor said. “We rebounded from 16 turnovers in the first half to have only two in the second half. Auburn is a really good team and I am so proud of our team’s effort to go out and get the win. I can’t say enough about the great support today from our fans — it was awesome to look up and see all that Red and Black in the stands.”
Three Lady Bulldogs finished in double figures, led by 15 from Pachis Roberts. Caliya Robinson added 12 points, while Mackenzie Engram also scored 12.
Robinson, who drew a start for the first time in nine games, scored Georgia’s first four points and Roberts added a 3-point basket to give their team an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter. That advantage was short lived as Brandy Montgomery scored four-straight, jumpstarting a 10-0 run to give Auburn a 15-10 lead.
The Tigers shot 60-percent from the floor and the Lady Bulldogs were held nearly four minutes without a basket in the opening frame. Still, Roberts hit a layup at the buzzer to cut the advantage to 15-14 at the end of one.
Auburn exploded in the second quarter, scoring 17 points off 16 Georgia turnovers while holding the Lady Bulldogs scoreless for five minutes en route to a 29-22 halftime advantage.
Balanced scoring helped Georgia back into the game in the third quarter. Simone Costa nailed a 3-point basket to cut what was once a nine-point Auburn advantage to just two at 34-32 with 3:49 left in the frame.
Auburn hit just one of its last nine field goals in the third quarter as the Tigers and Lady Bulldogs went to the fourth with the score tied at 38-38.
The Tigers’ offense continued to slow down in the fourth quarter as Georgia hit key free-throws down the stretch for the 56-52 victory.
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