Lady Bulldogs Down Owls in 2019-20 Season Opener, 80-65
SOURCE: GEORGIA SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS
The Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball team won their 14th-straight season opener, defeating the Kennesaw State Owls 80-65 on Thursday night in Stegeman Coliseum.
Georgia (1-0) is now 38-9 in season-opening games. Junior Gabby Connally led Georgia in scoring, notching 28 points and a career-high nine assists. Two other Lady Bulldogs scored in double-digits as redshirt junior Jenna Staiti and junior Maya Caldwell tallied 16 and 18 points, respectively. Making her first career start, Staiti recorded a double-double with 11 rebounds.
“Kennesaw State is a good team,” Georgia head coach Joni Taylor said. “They returned all five starters. I think the biggest thing was making sure we were able to still get Gabby her shots at the point because it’s a lot easier when she was playing off the ball. We worked on that a lot this summer and she’s handled it well. She’s a junior now so she understands and accepts the responsibility that comes with number one being a point guard and also her production and how important it is for us to be successful.”
While Kennesaw State scored first, Georgia quickly regained control with two baskets, including a deep three-pointer from sophomore Caitlin Hose. Georgia then forced a 8-0 run with field goals from three different Lady Bulldogs.
Junior Que Morrison gave Georgia its first double-digit lead with two minutes remaining in the first quarter. Free throws on both ends of the court extended Georgia’s lead to 20-11 at the end of the period.
Connally came out firing in the second, securing five early points with a jumper followed by a three-pointer on a fast break. Morrison’s second 3-point shot of the night gave the Lady Bulldogs’ their biggest lead of the game, 30-17.
With Kennesaw State scoring five straight, Georgia held the Owls at arm’s length with layups from four different Lady Bulldogs. In the closing minutes of play, Connally extended Georgia’s lead to 15 with two-straight three-pointers.
The Lady Bulldogs went into the locker room leading 46-31 after draining five of their last eight field goals to end the half.
While Kennesaw State was able to cut Georgia’s lead to single digits with five straight points with five minutes remaining in the third period, the Lady Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run as time expired. A three-point buzzer beater from Caldwell sent Georgia into the fourth quarter leading 61-45.
A three-pointer from Connally within the first minute of the fourth quarter gave the Lady Bulldogs their largest lead of the night, 64-45. While Georgia conceded its double-digit lead only once in the final period after two straight three-pointers from the Owls, it held off Kennesaw State 80-65.
Up next, the Lady Bulldogs will host the North Carolina A&T Aggies Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. in Stegeman Coliseum. The game will be televised on SEC Network +.