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Georgia guard Gabby Connally (2) makes a drive towards the net. The Georgia women’s basketball team lost to the Vanderbilt Commodores on Jan. 9, 2020 in Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia. The final score was 63-55. (Photo/Julian Alexander, jalexander@randb.com)

The Georgia women’s basketball team ended its three-game losing streak on Sunday by defeating Auburn 61-50 inside Stegeman Coliseum. The win moves Georgia’s record to 11-7 overall and 2-3 in the SEC. 

Sunday was Georgia’s designated “We Back Pat” game, so Georgia head coach Joni Taylor and Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy wore purple dresses to honor the Pat Summitt Foundation, and fans were encouraged to wear purple to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease. 

Georgia fell behind early after only scoring nine points in the first quarter. However, sophomore Shaniya Jones sparked the Bulldogs offensively by leading the team in scoring with a career-high 21 points while coming off the bench. 

“My focus was on when I got the chance to go into the game,” Jones said. “[I was trying to] just do what I was supposed to do to the best of my ability, and just do anything my coach needed me to do.”

Junior guard Maya Caldwell had some success in the first quarter, scoring seven of the Bulldogs’ nine points. Auburn finished the quarter leading 17-9. 

Georgia outscored Auburn 16-12 in the second quarter, with 10 points coming from players off the bench. After their turnaround second quarter, the Bulldogs went into the half down 29-25. 

Despite surging to a close deficit at halftime, Taylor was not thrilled with what she saw on the court. 

"[Taylor] wasn't in the best mood [during halftime],” Jones said. “She was basically telling us this was unacceptable, and we needed to come out here and fix it." 

Jones knocked down a 3-pointer with 6:35 left in the third quarter to give Georgia the lead. Georgia later finished the quarter with a buzzer beating layup from junior Que Morrison to go up 48-39. 

Georgia continued to display its depth in the final quarter, grabbing 10 of its 41 rebounds and scoring 13 points in the fourth. A Malury Bates layup in the final moments sealed the 61-50 win and gave Georgia’s bench its 34th point of the night. 

“Our bench showed tremendous heart and effort when our starters were struggling a little bit, and it was a total team effort today,” Taylor said. “They’ve proven in practice they deserve a chance.” 

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