Maya Caldwell scored 19 points to lead four players in double figures as Georgia topped Texas A&M 74-68 on Saturday in the Southeastern Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament semifinals at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
The fourth-seeded Lady Bulldogs will be making their first appearance in the SEC Tournament championship game since 2004. Georgia will take on the winner of the South Carolina-Tennessee semifinal contest on Sunday at 2 p.m. in the title game.
Georgia improved to 19-5 overall and 10-5 against conference opponents. The Aggies slipped to 23-2 overall and 13-1 against the league.
Caldwell, a senior guard, matched her season high in scoring for the Lady Bulldogs, connecting on a team-best three 3-pointers. She also matched senior guard Que Morrison with four assists. Mikayla Coombs, a junior guard, went 7-of-10 from the floor as she added 14 points. Senior center Jenna Staiti pumped in 13 points, pulled down 12 rebounds, and blocked six shots. Morrison had 12 points, six rebounds, and four assists.
For Staiti, who eclipsed 1,000 career points in the quarterfinals win over Kentucky on Friday, it was her 29th time in 34 games scoring in double figures and her 13th contest with a double-double.
Texas A&M, the SEC’s regular-season champion, got 16 points from senior forward N’dea Jones, 14 from sophomore guard Jordan Nixon, and 11 each from senior guard Aaliyah Wilson and junior guard Alexis Morris.
The Lady Bulldogs posted 25 points in the first quarter, capping the stanza by matching their highest lead at 25-13. Texas A&M caught Georgia in the second quarter and ultimately took a 35-32 advantage into the locker room.
The Aggies’ top lead in the second half was just five at 46-41, but Georgia had it 50-49 entering the final quarter. Coombs’ layup at the outset of the fourth quarter gave the Lady Bulldogs a lead they did not relinquish. Texas A&M closed to 59-55 in the final five minutes, but consecutive 3-pointers by Morrison and Caldwell put things out of reach. Appropriately, Georgia bookended the game with another 25-point outburst in the final period.
“Texas A&M is a really tough team,” said Georgia’s Joni Taylor, the SEC Coach of the Year. “They came at us after the good start, but we got into halftime and got settled. I am so proud of the resiliency of our team. I am so happy for our players. I am really excited for everybody involved.”
The Lady Bulldogs will be seeking their first SEC Tournament title since 2001 on Sunday.
“Coach Taylor has talked all year about this team making history,” Caldwell said. “We’re just excited to have this chance.”