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Georgia guard Gabby Connally (2) looks over her shoulder at a NCAA women’s basketball game on Sunday, January 19, 2020 at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia. Georgia defeated Auburn 61-50. (Photo/Julian Alexander, jalexander@randb.com)

The Georgia women’s basketball team defeated No. 21 Arkansas 64-55 at Bud Walton Arena on Thursday. The Bulldogs held the Razorbacks to a season low in points, and the win is the Bulldogs’ first victory against a ranked team this season. 

The win moves Georgia’s overall record to 12-7 and its SEC record to 3-3. 

Georgia started the game by grabbing a 4-0 lead, but the Razorbacks responded well to take a 13-10 lead into the second quarter. 

The second quarter started slow for both sides as neither team scored through the first three minutes. Georgia took control late in the quarter with a 9-0 run before Arkansas guard Amber Ramirez scored an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game. Both teams went into the locker room with 29 points. 

The Razorbacks started the third quarter outscoring the Bulldogs 10-2 before Georgia’s Gabby Connally ended the run with a 3-pointer. Later in the quarter, the Razorbacks boasted their largest lead of the game, but the Bulldogs answered with an 8-0 run of their own and took a 44-43 lead into the final 10 minutes of the third. 

Georgia began the fourth quarter by scoring the first seven points to extend its lead. The Bulldogs used the momentum to carry out a 19-2 run, finishing by scoring late free throws to secure the second conference win on the road this season. 

Controlling tempo and limiting Arkansas’ 3-pointers were keys to victory for the Bulldogs in Fayetteville. Arkansas entered the game as the third-best 3-point shooting team in the country, but Georgia limited the Razorbacks to finish 3-for-16 from behind the arc. 

Junior forward Jenna Staiti added four blocks to help defend the paint. Malury Bates and Javyn Nicholson both added valuable minutes off the bench with 11 and 14, respectively. 

”We knew coming in [Arkansas] shoots the 3-point shot really well and gets to the free-throw line,” head coach Joni Taylor said. “Even though they hit some free throws, our team did a great job keeping them off the arc. Gabby [Connally] played really well for us, and our post players were outstanding tonight.”

Connally led the team offensively with 18 points on the night. She was able to knock down three 3-pointers and shoot 7-for-12 from the field. Shaniya Jones added 10 points making this back-to-back double-digit games for her. 

The Bulldogs used their stifling defense to create offense as they scored 21 points off of turnovers. Thirteen second-chance points also helped the Bulldogs secure the victory. 

Georgia will attempt to carry this momentum through the weekend against No. 1 South Carolina inside Stegeman Coliseum on Sunday.

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