Now with a 4-0 record, the Georgia women’s basketball team is having one of its best starts to a season since 2017.
In their first home game of the season Sunday afternoon, not only did the Bulldogs take home the win, but they scored the most points since facing Arkansas on Feb. 21, 2019, with 93. Through the first four games, Georgia’s strong suits have become apparent.
Along with four seniors in the starting five, Georgia’s advantage rests in the depth on the bench. Head coach Joni Taylor has more options than ever before and has spent more time dividing playing time between her starters and bench. Among those options are sophomore Javyn Nicholson, junior Mikayla Coombs, Malury Bates, Caitlin Hose, and freshmen Sarah Ashlee Barker and Zoesha Smith.
6-foot-2 Nicholson was the first Georgia freshman to have double-double figures since Tasha Humphrey. Coombs averages 6.5 points per game, sixth-highest on the team so far. Barker is making a name for herself, averaging 18.8 minutes per game and 6.3 points.
When Gabby Connally or Jenna Staiti leave the game, they can take a breather knowing that their team will back them up just as well as they did.
“I think it makes us hard to guard because any given night, anyone on this roster can go off,” Staiti said. “Scouting makes it a lot harder because you have to worry about every single player on this team. It's nice to know that you have one group that can go in and another one that can keep the same energy. It's just nice to see that everybody on this team can make a contribution.”
Georgia has lived out its motto of “showing up” so far as the Bulldogs have three-straight road victories thanks to its faster offense and dominance in capitalizing close fourth quarter victories.
Last year, the Bulldogs went 4-5 on the road and struggled to finish in the last quarter of play. This season, Georgia has kept up the momentum after an overtime win at Georgia Tech, by out-scoring a prolific offense in Oklahoma.
With half of the roster over six feet, Georgia has found success scoring from extra opportunities at the basket. Already averaging 42 rebounds per game, their size and athleticism has helped give the Bulldogs the advantage.
As unexpected this year has been, Taylor appreciates her graduating seniors’ decision to stay one more year to try to compete for a championship.
“They lead the way in everything we do — every drill and every time they step foot on the practice floor,” Taylor said. “They have an edge to them in terms of the legacy they want to leave. I think it's really important for them to leave this program in the right way and they have done a tremendous job of bringing everybody along with them and creating the standard we want for Georgia basketball.”