Georgia junior forward Mackenzie Engram scored a career-high 21 points and the Lady Bulldogs used an impressive 34-9 run to move past 2016 NCAA Tournament participant BYU, 81-51, Wednesday night at Stegeman Coliseum.
The score was knotted at 18-18 with 6:49 remaining in the second quarter in what seemed like a back-and-forth game. That is when the Lady Bulldogs (3-0) turned it on with their dominant 34-9 run until the 1:40 mark of the third period.
That streak was just too much for BYU — a team that returned three starters off of last year’s squad that went 26-7 and was picked second in this year’s WCC preseason standings. Overall, the Georgia defense forced 24 Cougar turnovers, capitalizing on the miscues for 30 points.
Engram was not the only one to have the hot hand Wednesday night. The Lady Bulldogs had five players finish in double figures, including Halle Washington with 16, Caliya Robinson with 12 and Pachis Roberts with 10. Not to be outdone, freshman Stephanie Paul came in the game to score 11 points in the second half.
Roberts has now scored in double figures in each of Georgia’s first three games ,while Engram dropped three 3-pointers, the most in a single game for the forward.
“It was just a great all around performance against a really well-coached BYU team,” associate head coach Karen Lange said. “Our post players came out with a purpose and with a fire in the paint. Our guards did a great job getting them the ball. Defensively, we were able to force turnovers and then were able to score a lot of points in transition, which was big for us tonight.”
Washington had a hand in each of Georgia’s first three baskets, scoring on a driving layup and then dumping off an assist to Robinson as BYU built an early 10-4 advantage just six minutes into the game. Washington then delivered an assist on an and-one to Roberts to cut into the Cougars’ advantage.
Georgia held BYU scoreless over the next 4:28, before Makenzi Pulsipher nailed a 3-pointer to stop the Lady Bulldog surge. Georgia still led 16-13 at the end of the first period.
The back-and-forth pace carried over into the second quarter until the Lady Bulldogs finally built some distance between themselves and the visitors thanks mostly to an impressive 16 first-half points from Engram as Georgia carried a 32-21 lead into the locker room.
It was all Lady Bulldogs in the second half as they held the Cougars to just eight third-quarter points on their way to the 81-51 victory. The Georgia offense continued its offensive spree in the last half, shooting just over 60 percent, including hitting 9-of-11 shots in the third frame. BYU edged the Bulldogs in the fourth, but Georgia held on en route to the win.
With the victory, Georgia is now 3-0 and improves its NCAA-best non-conference home win streak to 59 games. The Lady Bulldogs now make the short trek over to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.