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Georgia guard Gabby Connally (2) looks out overt the court during a women’s basketball game against the University of Missouri on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020 at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia. The Tigers defeated the Bulldogs 73-65. (Photo/Julian Alexander, jalexander@randb.com)

On Wednesday, the Georgia women’s basketball team defeated Mercer 83-64 thanks to an efficient shooting effort at Hawkins Arena in Macon, Georgia. The Bulldogs shot 32-for-53 from the field, their best shooting performance since 2009.

“It was great to see us score in transition like that. We had a few more turnovers than we would have liked, but we will get it corrected,” said head coach Joni Taylor. “It was just a great effort from our team tonight.”

Sophomore forward Javyn Nicholson and junior Malury Bates led the team with a combined total of 28 points and 11 rebounds. Nicholson totaled 15 points on the night while Gabby Connally recorded 14.

“It's definitely a confidence thing, being a sophomore and getting the jitters out of my freshman year,” Nicholson said. “I was able to just play my game and be aggressive. Coach Taylor had confidence in me on the offensive end, and I was able to go out there and make it happen.”

Georgia turned the ball over 20 times compared to Mercer’s 16, but the Bulldog’s ability to capitalize on fast breaks and get the ball in the paint made up for their lack of ball security. The Bulldogs also held Mercer to just 36.4% from the field and outrebounded the Bears 42-27.

Georgia started out the game on a 7-0 run after free throws from Jenna Staiti, a 3-pointer from Connally and a layup by Maya Caldwell.

The Bulldogs scored 24 points in the paint and Caldwell led all of those with nine points going into halftime up 43-29. Freshman Sarah Ashlee Barker made her collegiate debut totaling 18 minutes of play and 4 points. Freshman Zoesha Smith also logged 10 minutes.

Mercer cut Georgia’s lead to 10 in the third quarter, but an 8-0 run extended Georgia’s advantage to 56-40. Mercer guard Amoria Neal-Tysor’s 22-point performance wasn’t enough to give the Bears a chance in the end.

Georgia travels to face rival Georgia Tech in Atlanta at 2 p.m. on Sunday.