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Georgia coach Joni Taylor speaks to players. 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 lost 63-55 against Vanderbilt Thursday night in Athens, despite junior Jenna Staiti’s season-high 18 points. Staiti also led the Bulldogs in rebounds, pulling down 11 boards on the night.

This will go down as her third double-double of the season. The performance from Staiti shows resilience following her season-low of two points in nine minutes of play against Ole Miss on Sunday. Though Staiti had an encouraging performance, she was disappointed with the outcome of the game.

"I just don't think we were focused,” Staiti said. “I don't think everyone out there was focused. I think out of the people out there, we had a lot playing very hard, but we just weren't focused."

Low effort and loss of focus were the stories of the second half for the Bulldogs. Georgia had a strong first half defensively but was unable to carry the momentum into the third quarter. The Bulldogs held the Commodores to only 25 points in the first half but floundered in the third quarter, giving up 24 points.

“I feel like we got too comfortable,” junior guard Maya Caldwell said. “We didn't really settle in like we were supposed to, and we let them get away. They went on a run, and we did not do a good job of stopping it.”

Caldwell added 12 points, making this her ninth game of the season scoring double-digits. She only had 10 double-digit games in her previous two collegiate seasons.

Georgia head coach Joni Taylor was visibly disappointed after the tiring loss. Whether the reason for the loss of focus was overconfidence following the Mississippi State game or the start of a new semester, Taylor holds the Bulldogs to a much higher standard.

“I thought we played how we practiced the past two days,” Taylor said. “I did not think we were very sharp. I did not think we were very focused and it showed up. In this league, it is going to tell on you if you are not prepared and you are not ready to go, and we weren’t tonight.”

Coach Taylor plans on pushing her girls to bounce back over the weekend as the team visits Tennessee in Knoxville. Tennessee is No. 23 in the nation and has a high-powered offense, averaging almost 75 points per game.

Taylor wants her team to go to Knoxville with a winning mentality and confidence.

“They have to decide what they want this season to be, and that is the biggest thing,” Taylor said. “We can give it to them, but they have to decide that they want to take some ownership and some leadership and show up every single day and be accountable.”

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