Behind a career-high 24 points from junior center Jenna Staiti, the Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball team defeated the LSU Tigers, 73-56, Sunday afternoon at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Georgia (15-12, 6-8 SEC) led throughout the entire 40 minutes on Sunday and has now won three of its last four contests on the season. The victory marks just the second win in Baton Rouge for Georgia since the 2001-02 campaign and hands LSU just its second home loss of the year.
The Tigers, who fall to 18-8 overall and 8-6 in the SEC, gave up their most points against an SEC foe this season.
Individually, the 24 points by Staiti marked her fifth-straight double-figure scoring game. She hit 10-of-16 shots from the field and hauled in nine rebounds. As a team, Georgia made 15-of-16 (93.8 percent) from the free-throw line and 26-of-53 (49 percent) from the floor.
“We jumped out and were able to take control of the game early,” head coach Joni Taylor said. “It was huge for us to get off to a good start and to get out in transition and score. I’ll say this — Baton Rouge has always been a tough place to play, and for us to get just our second win in here since 2002 speaks to how well our entire team played today. We are growing and maturing at the right time of the season.”
Maya Caldwell and Staiti each made a 3-pointer to start the game. Staiti followed with another 19-footer that forced LSU to call a timeout with the Lady Bulldogs leading 8-2.
Georgia finished the first quarter with a 20-10 advantage thanks to seven points from Staiti and a 50-percent shooting effort in the opening frame.
The Lady Bulldogs led for the entirety of the opening 20 minutes as they took a 34-27 lead into the locker room. Staiti led all scorers with 10 points, while Gabby Connally nailed a trio of 3-pointers in the first half. Georgia also committed just six turnovers in the first and second quarters.
Baskets by Staiti and Connally, along with a driving layup from freshman forward Jordan Isaacs helped Georgia get off to a strong start in the second half. The Lady Bulldogs led by seven points — 44-37 — with 4:34 left in the third quarter.
A technical foul on the LSU bench followed immediately by a technical on LSU’s Faustine Aifuwa gave Georgia four free-throws, which Connally knocked in with ease to give the Lady Bulldogs a 56-43 lead going into the fourth.
LSU could not recover and Georgia outscored the Tigers 17-13 in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
Up next, the Lady Bulldogs play at Kentucky on Thursday night in Lexington, Ky.