191113_JCA_WBasketballvNCAT_37.jpg

Georgia center Jenna Staiti (14) attempts a shot. The Georgia women’s basketball team played North Carolina A&T State University on Nov. 13, 2019 in Athens, Georgia. The final score was 72-54. (Photo/Julian Alexander, jalexander@randb.com)

The Georgia women’s basketball team defeated Georgia State 85-51 Thursday night at Stegeman Coliseum to remain undefeated. After leading wire-to-wire, the Bulldogs are 6-0.

Seniors Jenna Staiti and Maya Caldwell led the Bulldogs with 16 points each. Staiti’s 16 and 10 rebounds marked her 14th double-double performance in 15 games.

“Tying with her is a great honor,” Caldwell said. “I've been in the gym, putting up shots, watching film and just doing a little bit of the extra things on my own to build my confidence.”

Freshman Sarah Ashlee Barker also had her first career double-double performance with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Eight other Bulldogs logged points on the night.

“That’s what makes us fun to watch is that you got to scout everybody on our team, so when everybody shows up and contributes, this is what it looks like,” said head coach Joni Taylor. “It takes the pressure off of a certain few to feel like they have to do it every single game. It also makes practice competitive because in a way you are looking over your shoulder since you know there is someone who can come in and be productive, so it is just made for really good chemistry and really fun practices.”

The Bulldogs’ two-way versatility shined in the first quarter as it put up 26 points and played stout defense with five blocks. Georgia shot 56% from the floor as Que Morrison, Caldwell, and Gabby Connally each had five in the first quarter. Morrison hit a 3-pointer in the final few seconds of the first to extend Georgia’s lead to 26-10. The first quarter set the tone and the Bulldogs held their lead for the rest of the way.

Freshman Zoesha Smith put up the last points of the half, to push Georgia’s lead to 45-23 as they headed to the locker room. The Bulldogs shot 50% from the field in the first half and held the Panthers to 25.8%. They also won the rebounding battle by seven, shot 10 more free throws and scored 11 points off Georgia State turnovers through the first two quarters.

The Panthers remained scoreless to start the third as the Bulldogs went on an 8-0 run followed by jumpers from Mikayla Coombs, Caldwell and Staiti. Staiti led Georgia with eight points in the third quarter while freshman Sarah Ashlee Barker put up five.

Barker’s free throw with 54 seconds left in the third gave Georgia a 34 point lead. Later, a 3-pointer from Caldwell would give Georgia its largest lead of the game (36) with under a minute to go in the fourth quarter.

Georgia dominated the floor from start to finish, outscoring the Panthers 40-28 in the paint and outrebounding them 50-32 overall.

Next up, Georgia returns to Stegeman Coliseum to face Furman on Sunday at 2 p.m.