Georgia guard Gabby Connally (2) calls out to teammates during a NCAA women’s basketball game on Sunday, January 19, 2020 at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia. Georgia defeated Auburn 61-50. (Photo/Julian Alexander, jalexander@randb.com)

The Georgia women’s basketball team got off to a good start in its grueling four-game stretch against ranked opponents. 

Junior guard Gabby Connally said Thursday’s game against No. 21 Arkansas was a “signature win.” Georgia managed to slow down one of the top offenses in the nation, limiting the Razorbacks to 55 points, 31 below their season average. Georgia will need another big outing Sunday if it hope to beat No. 1 South Carolina in Athens. 

“We know that it’s going to be a challenge, it’s not going to be easy,” Connally said. “We’re not going to just walk in and get a win. … But I think it’s exciting for all of us because we know what we're capable of and that was seen [on Thursday].” 

South Carolina is the fourth team to be ranked No. 1 in the AP poll this year, which is tied for the most in one season in the history of women’s college basketball. Sunday’s game will be the second of the season for the Bulldogs against a No. 1 team, with the first game ending in a 72-38 defeat against Baylor on Dec. 4. But this time Georgia will be at home inside Stegeman Coliseum. 

The Gamecocks score an average of 83.6 points per game as well as outscore their opponents by an average margin of 25.8 points. The Gamecocks are led in both points and rebounds by 6-foot-5 freshman Aliyah Boston, averaging 13.4 and 9.1 respectively.

“We’ve got to number one try to keep [Boston] off the block as much as we can,” head coach Joni Taylor said. “She [offensively] rebounds the ball really well. We’ve played against bigs before who we’ve had to double, so we’ll be prepared to do it again.”

Taylor and her team will practice and prepare for South Carolina like any other team, but they are aware of the challenge the No. 1 team presents.

“[Our coaches] do a really good job with their scouting and preparing us for the game,” Connally said. “But when they give us a game plan, it’s just a matter of us executing it.”

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