The University of Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball team overcame an early deficit and found its stride in the second quarter to beat the Florida Gators, 68-58, Sunday afternoon.
The victory improves Georgia’s record to 10-1 overall and 2-1 in the SEC. It also marked the program’s 500th all-time win at Stegeman Coliseum.
Jenna Staiti scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, marking her fifth double-double of the season. Staiti has scored in double figures in 19 of the last 20 games. Maya Caldwell added 11 points to help the Lady Bulldog seniors improve to 7-0 against the Gators in their careers.
“We held a team that has been able to score a bunch of points,” Georgia head coach Joni Taylor said. “We were able to keep them from getting their average and contain some really good players. [Florida guard] Lavender Briggs is a talented player. [Florida guard] Kiara Smith is super talented, and so is [Nina] Richards. [Florida’s] guards are the head of their snake, and I thought we were able to contain them for the most part.”
Georgia took a 5-0 advantage early in the first quarter before Florida made a 9-0 run of their own. The Lady Bulldogs went over four minutes without scoring a field goal, but Javyn Nicholson’s layup ended that lengthy scoring drought with 5:15 remaining. Mikayla Coombs hit a go-ahead jumper at the first quarter buzzer cutting the Bulldogs’ deficit to just four points – trailing 20-16 going into the second period.
Nicholson slid into the paint and scored a layup to give the Lady Bulldogs their first lead, 27-26, since 7:23 in the first quarter. Caldwell hit a 3-pointer in the opening minute of the second quarter and ended the half on a same note. Georgia led 37-32 going into the locker room.
Georgia started the second half strong, expanding its lead to 52-38 with 4:04 left in the third quarter. Staiti sparked Georgia’s offense, scoring 13 of her 15 points in the third frame alone.
Florida trailed by as much as 17 points in the fourth quarter before making a late rally. The Gators’ Lavender Briggs hit a 3-pointer that capped a 9-0 surge that made it 66-58 with 2:14 left to play.
Staiti found the basket and scored, putting the Lady Bulldogs back up by double-digits. The Gators got no closer than eight points down the stretch.
Next up, Georgia travels to Tennessee to face the Lady Vols this Thursday at 7 p.m. ET.