Four double-digit scorers and a stout defensive outing propelled the No. 19 Georgia Lady Bulldogs basketball team to a resounding 97-45 season-opening win against Gardner-Webb Thursday evening at Stegeman Coliseum.
The Lady Bulldogs have now won 16-straight season openers and improve to 1-0 on the young season, while Gardner-Webb falls to 0-2.
Georgia hit 39-of-78 (50 percent) from the field and was led by Javyn Nicholson’s double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds and Jenna Stati’s 16-point, 11-rebound effort.
“What we have been talking to our team about all summer and fall is picking up where we left off,” head coach Joni Taylor said. “I think we have done a tremendous job of staying focused and working towards that goal. Our starters set the tone for us. It’s not a secret that we want to run a transition and get some easy baskets. I thought Mikayla and Sarah Ashlee Barker stepping into the starting lineup just really complimented Jordan, Jenna and Que very well. They play well together, and they haven’t played a lot together. We’ve mixed them up in preseason to keep things fair and competitive, but I think they just have a mindset to pick up where they left last year and that’s what we wanted to do.”
Mikayla Coombs got the Lady Bulldogs rolling with a break-away lay-up off the tip, followed by a Que Morrison jumper to make it 4-0 early. The Lady Bulldogs pushed on to a commanding 19-0 lead with 3:44 left in the first. Sarah Ashlee Barker beat the buzzer with a 3-point shot to end the first quarter up 28-4.
The Lady Bulldogs kept up the pressure through the second quarter. Zoesha Smith added another bucket in the paint to open the frame, and at the 7:37 mark, Nicholson powered her way to the basket to extend the lead to 32-4. The Lady Bulldogs closed out the second half up 46-16, behind 28 points in the paint. Morrison leads all scorers with 13.
Gardner-Webb scored 17 points in the 3rd quarter, but the Lady Bulldogs were able to extend their lead to 76-43. Staiti notched 8 points in the quarter with the team shooting 44 percent from the field.
Georgia closed out the second half on a 14-10 run. Staiti led Georgia scorers in the second-half with 10, and she finished the night with a team-high 16 points. Gardner-Webb’s Jhessyka Williams led all players tonight in scoring with 18.
Next up for the Lady Bulldogs is a match-up with the Furman Paladins on Monday, November 15th at 7:00 pm in Stegeman Coliseum. Coverage will be on SEC Network Plus.