Georgia guard Gabby Connally (2) dribbles the ball. The Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide in overtime 76-75 on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020 at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/Ryan Cameron rcameron@randb.com)

A crucial turnover by Alabama with 33 seconds remaining in overtime allowed the Georgia women’s basketball team to maintain its one-point lead and escape a scare in Stegeman Coliseum on Sunday, beating the Alabama Crimson Tide 76-75. It was the Bulldogs’ first win at home since Jan. 19 against Auburn and something the Bulldogs needed to keep their momentum after their win on the road at Florida on Feb. 9.

“This feels good. I didn’t think we were going to lose that game,” redshirt junior Jenna Staiti said. “I had confidence. We have been playing really well and practicing a lot of short clock situations. I had faith in us.”

Staiti and Que Morrison both led the team with 18 points each, and Gabby Connally followed with 15 points and five assists. Wherever Morrison was on the court, she looked comfortable and continuously made shots fall whenever she needed them to. She set the tempo for the game and had a career-high 44 minutes.

“Today was just my day,” Morrison said. “I was feeling it, and the team trusted in me and my ability. Next game, I’m going to try to bring that same thing.”

Staiti and Morrison’s performances didn’t go unnoticed by head coach Joni Taylor. Their current confidence level will be valuable going into the next few games that lie ahead.

“They’ve played well down the stretch,” Taylor said. “When you play that well, you can stack on and stack on, which gives you confidence as a player. I’m happy for both of them, and that’s what we need.”

The first half of the game looked extremely promising for the Bulldogs, as they consistently made shots fall in the paint and locked down defensively, forcing nine turnovers and three steals in the first quarter. They were leading 41-25 going into halftime, but when the second half rolled around, Alabama made it close.

Georgia extended the lead by as many as 22 points at the beginning of the third quarter, but the momentum shifted in Alabama’s direction and was able to cut into the Bulldogs’ lead, making it a seven-point game. The Crimson Tide outscored the Bulldogs in the second half 42-26. But the resilience the team had going into the overtime period was the difference maker.

“They’re dangerous, and we knew that,” Taylor said. “We wanted to come out early and be aggressive, and we did. Then, they came out and did the same thing to us in the third and fourth quarter, but we found a way to get stops when we needed to.”

Taylor said she knows there are still places the Bulldogs can improve upon going into their last three games of the regular season.

“Not giving up a 20-point lead, for starters,” Taylor said. “We fouled way too much. We just got down on penetration, and we couldn't get the ball stopped and were giving up and-ones. We were giving up 3-point plays, and we just can not do that.”

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