Georgia senior Gabby Connally (2) shouts direction to her teammates. The University of Georgia women’s basketball team beat Oklahoma 93-80 on Dec. 6, 2020, in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/ Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

Georgia women’s basketball defeated Furman 69-43 on Sunday to improve to 7-0, matching its best start since the 2017-18 season. 

A combined effort from three starters and over half of the bench highlighted the Bulldogs’ victory. 

Senior Que Morrison and Jenna Staiti nearly performed in double figures in points and rebounds. Morrison had nine points with 13 rebounds, while Staiti posted 15 points and six rebounds. Maya Caldwell also made double-digits in scoring with 10 points. 

“How I feel about the game depends on what quarter we are talking about,” said head coach Joni Taylor. “I was pleased with the first quarter, not pleased with the second, pleased with half of the third, and all of the fourth.” 

From the bench, sophomore Chloe Chapman made her first appearance this season with two points. Freshman Sarah Ashlee Barker posted eight points and three rebounds and Mikayla Coombs finished with seven points. 

“I've been practicing and eager to get back on the floor,” Chapman said. “I think for the minutes I’ve played, I did pretty well of course there is always room to get better. I got a good feel for the game and I was excited to be out there again.” 

After the Paladins’ Tierra Hodges matched Morrison’s made jumper early in the first quarter, the Bulldogs held Furman to two possessions for eight minutes of play. 

A block by Malury Bates and a steal from Morrison began an 8-0 run for over two minutes in the first. Two 3-point jumpers from Caldwell and Gabby Connally allowed a 12 point lead which was extended by a jumper from Javyn Nicholson. 

After Barker went 2-for-2 at the free-throw line, Staiti added one more to end the first quarter with a 13 point advantage. 

Furman outscored the Bulldogs 16-12 in the second half as the Paladins capitalized off of nine Georgia turnovers. The Paladins also out-rebounded the Bulldogs, 15-10. 

Chapman made her first layup of the season at 5:41 minutes in the second half, extending Georgia’s lead 31-14. After Nicholson’s layup gave Georgia its largest lead of the half, 33-16, a foul on Staiti sent Hodges to the free-throw line. The Paladins then shut out the Bulldogs for the last four minutes of the first half. 

Shooting 20% from beyond the arc, two 3-point jumpers from Furman’s Aaliyah Irizarry-Perez and Evie Depetro cut Georgia’s lead to single digits, 35-26. 

Getting off to a slow start early in the third quarter, both teams remained scoreless for over a minute until Caldwell made the first layup with the score at 37-26. 

The Paladins went on an 8-0 run for over 2 minutes. After Morrison broke the silence for Georgia, another layup by Barker and two from Coombs gave Georgia the 12 point advantage at the end of the third. 

It was all Georgia in the fourth quarter as the Lady Bulldogs went on a 15-0 run led by five points from Morrison. After a 3-point jumper from Caitlin Hose, the Bulldogs secured the victory with their largest lead of the game. 

Georgia’s speed allowed for 20 fast break points compared to the Paladins’ six, and the Bulldogs outscored Furman 42-18 in the paint. 

The Bulldogs return to Stegeman Coliseum to face Appalachian State on Tuesday at noon to conclude non-conference play.