The Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball team was defeated by the No. 10-ranked UCLA Bruins, 59-50, on its annual Elementary School Game Thursday morning in Stegeman Coliseum.
Junior Gabby Connally continued to pace Georgia in scoring. She totaled a team-high 16 points and was the only Lady Bulldog in double-figures. Connally also grabbed six boards to lead Georgia in rebounds. She accounted for nine of the Lady Bulldogs’ first 15 points.
“First of all, UCLA’s a great team,” Georgia Lady Bulldog Head Coach Joni Taylor said. “Cori (Close) does a great job. She has excellent players at every position and we knew we would have our hands full. With that being said, I thought we were in a position to win the game if we would have taken care of the second quarter. It’s the same thing that happened at Baylor, but it was the fourth quarter. It feels like it’s because of our unforced errors, whether it’s a turnover or not executing, not boxing out. I thought we defended their stuff really well. Michaela Onyenwere, that’s a first-round draft pick that you got to watch today. She’s really talented and UCLA’s got great pieces around her. But it wasn’t the first shot that hurt us—it was the offensive rebound. It’s something we talked about all week long, and I thought in the second quarter, they were just tougher than us on the boards and we didn’t do a good job of securing rebounds and it hurt us.”
After Connally scored Georgia’s first six points, a dish from junior Que Morrison to redshirt-junior Jenna Staiti gave the Lady Bulldogs a one-point advantage, 8-7, halfway through the first period. UCLA regained the lead off a 3-point shot and extended it to five with 21 seconds remaining. Connally’s third 3-pointer at the buzzer cut the Lady Bulldogs’ deficit to two, 17-15, entering the second quarter.
The Bruins quickly grabbed their largest advantage, six, in the second frame. The score remained stagnant at 21-15 for three minutes until back-to-back UCLA baskets handed Georgia its first double-digit deficit, 25-15, halfway through the period.
A basket from redshirt-sophomore Malury Bates, assisted by sophomore Shaniya Jones, marked the first basket of the second quarter for the Lady Bulldogs, ending a seven-minute scoring drought. UCLA continued to extend its lead to send Georgia into the locker room trailing, 33-19.
Halfway through the third period, a 9-0 Lady Bulldogs’ run combined with a 3:20 scoring drought for UCLA brought Georgia within single-digits of the Bruins, 41-32, after trailing by as many as 18. The Lady Bulldogs entered the final 10 minutes of regulation facing a 12-point disadvantage, 48-36.
While Georgia was again able to chip away at the deficit to get within nine, they were never able to cut it any further, falling to the UCLA Bruins, 59-50.