A season-high 29 points from sophomore guard Gabby Connally lifted the Georgia Lady Bulldogs basketball team to a 71-64 road win at Vanderbilt on Sunday.
Connally, who had her best game since scoring 37 points against Texas A&M a season ago, hit 8-of-14 from the field and a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw line to lead all scorers. The only other Lady Bulldog in double figures was Jenna Staiti, who scored 13 points – her fourth-straight game with 10 or more points.
Georgia improves to 11-4 overall and is 2-0 to start SEC play for the first time since the 2010-11 season.
“We made some big shots at the end, starting with Gabby,” head coach Joni Taylor said. “Stephanie Paul and Maya Caldwell also played well and made some tough shots in the fourth quarter, and I’m not sure we come away with the win if we do not have that. This is a really tough place to play, but you cannot come out that flat against a SEC team on the road. I am happy with how we finished and we will get ready for Mississippi State on Thursday.”
Georgia and Vanderbilt combined for 11 turnovers in a sloppy first quarter, but a Staiti 3-pointer with just over a minute to go helped Georgia claim a 15-10 advantage to end the opening period.
The Commodores scored the first six points of the second frame to go up 16-15. Connally – with two 3-pointers — and Staiti – with nine first-half points — kept the Lady Bulldogs close as Vanderbilt clung to a 28-27 lead at the break.
A 9-0 run capped off by another Connally trey propelled Georgia to a 37-32 lead at the 6:02 mark of the third. Georgia’s post players – Staiti and Caliya Robinson – each got in foul trouble in the third quarter as the teams were tied at the end of three, 43-43.
Georgia would have to go the rest of the way without Staiti and Robinson, which opened the door for Paul and Caldwell, who combined for nine points in the fourth. Connally’s hot shooting from the free-throw line sealed the game late to help the Lady Bulldogs escape.
Up next, Georgia treks to Starkville, Mississippi this Thursday to take on the seventh-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT at Humphrey Coliseum.