NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Competing in the semifinals of the 2018 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament for the first time since 2013, the No. 3-seed Georgia Lady Bulldogs basketball team dropped a 71-49 contest to the No. 2-seed South Carolina Gamecocks at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night.
Georgia’s record moves to 25-6 on the season and 13-5 in the conference. All six of the Lady Bulldogs’ losses have come to top-25 teams in the latest Associated Press rankings; four of the six were against teams currently in the top-10.
South Carolina, who looks to defend three-straight SEC Championships on Sunday, posted the highest field goal percentage (57 percent) against the Lady Bulldogs this year, scoring on a Georgia resistance that led the conference in field goal percentage defense in the regular season and held its previous six opponents to less than 40-percent shooting.
“We are obviously disappointed we did not get the win today, and we have to get back to doing what we do,” Georgia head coach Joni Taylor said. “We didn’t score and when that happens you have to step up defensively. Credit South Carolina. They made adjustments and made shots.”
Freshman Que Morrison charged the first minutes of the game for the Bulldogs, providing a quick 4-0 margin with a free throw and a 3-pointer. At the 7:45 mark, the freshman fought for back-to-back offensive rebounds – two of a team-best eight total boards on the game – in the same Georgia possession, setting up a Mackenzie Engram layup, dished out by redshirt sophomore Taja Cole for the 6-2 lead.
SEC Player of the Year A’ja Wilson tore through the final minutes of the first quarter, scoring the next nine South Carolina points and fueling a four-point Gamecock edge at the end of the opening frame. South Carolina contained the Georgia attack to nine points in the second half and shot 66.7 percent on the quarter to close the first 20 minutes of play at 35-21.
Georgia scored the first six points of the second half, relying on a jumper apiece from junior Caliya Robinson, senior Haley Clark and Engram to bring the South Carolina margin to eight. Halfway through the third quarter, Morrison chipped away at the Gamecock lead with a pair of layups. Still, South Carolina separated itself by as many as 18 points in the quarter, holding a 53-37 advantage at the end of the third frame.
The Gamecocks continued in the fourth quarter, hitting free throws to preserve the edge against the Lady Bulldogs, sealing the final 71-49.
Georgia awaits the NCAA Tournament selection show on Monday, March 12.