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Georgia coach Joni Taylor speaks to players after the game. The University of Georgia women’s basketball team defeated the University of South Carolina Upstate 67-53 in regular time on Nov. 26, 2019, in Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/Julian Alexander, jalexander@randb.com)

The Georgia women’s basketball team edged out Virginia Tech 77-72 Saturday afternoon for its third consecutive win and its second victory in the Daytona Beach Invitational. With three Lady Bulldogs reaching double-figure points, Georgia handed Virginia Tech its first loss of the season.

Junior guard Gabby Connally led Georgia with 22 points and accuracy at the free-throw line, sinking 7-of-7. Center Jenna Staiti recorded 16 points and Que Morrison added 10, all contributing over half of Georgia’s points in the win. 

“Our team grew up this week,” head coach Joni Taylor said. “We challenged them to step up to the standard of Georgia basketball. We are not there yet, but give our players credit for taking a huge step in the right direction with two wins this week.”

The Hokies had their own set of troubles in their first loss this season, including eight turnovers in the first ten minutes, ultimately turning the ball over 22 times. The Lady Bulldogs capitalized and scored 20 points off of Virginia Tech’s errors.

Georgia kept the lead on the Hokies throughout the game, barring the final minutes of the second quarter as Virginia Tech’s Dara Mabrey scored 10 points the half and give her team 33-29 lead going into halftime.

Staiti responded early in the third quarter, scoring eight points in the first six minutes to bump Georgia into a 47-42 lead. Former Lady Bulldog and current Hokie Taja Cole answered with a basket but was quickly shot down by Connally and Staiti in a 6-0 run for Georgia.

Virginia Tech’s trouble with fouls ultimately decided the game as Cole committed a technical foul with less than a minute to go. Connally’s perfect attempts at the free throw line secured the lead for Georgia to hand the Lady Bulldogs their third consecutive win and improve their record to 6-2. 

The Lady Bulldogs will travel to No. 2 Baylor this Wednesday before returning for a home game against Furman on Dec. 15.

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