ATHENS, Ga. – The Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball team defeated the Auburn Tigers, 61-50, thanks to a successful second-half performance Sunday afternoon in Stegeman Coliseum.
Sophomore Shaniya Jones shined, pacing all scorers and tying a career-high with 21 points in 21 minutes of play. Junior Que Morrison led Georgia in rebounds, grabbing eight boards. She also shared a team-high six assists with freshman Chloe Chapman.
“Hopefully, it’s the strength of our team that on any given night we’ve got several players that can contribute,” Georgia Head Coach Joni Taylor said. “Our starters didn’t start out well for us today and we subbed and our bench gave us a lift when we needed it. Then, in the third and fourth quarter our starters were able to come back in and take a lead and maintain it. The bench played well. Shaniya Jones was incredible tonight, I’m really happy for her. She’s struggled a bit and she’s just continued to stay the course and have her ears open and listen and come out tonight and make some shots for us when we were struggling to shoot the ball early on.”
Auburn jumped out to an early lead and quickly extended to a double-digit advantage, 14-4, halfway through the opening period. Junior Maya Caldwell scored the first seven points for Georgia. Freshman Jordan Isaacs was the other Lady Bulldog to score in the first frame, cutting Georgia’s deficit to six, 15-9. Two made free-throws from the Tigers sent Georgia into the second quarter trailing 17-9.
Auburn regained the double-digit lead shortly into the second frame. Jones sparked a 7-0 run with a shot from behind the arc to get Georgia within three, 21-18, with 5:58 remaining. Jones quickly tallied another 3-pointer to bring the Lady Bulldogs within two, their smallest deficit up to that point. Morrison broke a two-minute scoring drought to send Georgia into the locker room trailing 29-25.
Out of the locker room, another three-point basket from Jones propelled the Lady Bulldogs to their first lead of the contest, 34-33, with 6:35 remaining in the third period. Jones scored two more baskets on the fast break to extend Georgia’s lead.
While Auburn cut its deficit back to one in the closing minutes of the third quarter, a basket from Jones held off the Tigers. Back-to-back Georgia baskets, one from Morrison and one from Jones, gave Georgia its largest lead up to that point of nine (46-37) heading into the final ten minutes of regulation.
This lead was a result of the combination of an 8-0 Lady Bulldogs’ run, a 4:08 Auburn scoring drought and six Auburn turnovers in five minutes of play. A buzzer-beater from Morrison sent Georgia into the final period leading 48-39.
Made free-throws from senior Stephanie Paul gave the Lady Bulldogs their first double-digit advantage of the matchup in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. Georgia continued to extend its lead throughout the final ten minutes and never let Auburn within 10. After leading by as many as 17, a layup from redshirt-sophomore Malury Bates sealed the 61-50 Lady Bulldogs’ victory.
Up next, Georgia travels to Fayetteville to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks on Thursday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. The matchup will be televised on SEC Network.