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Georgia center Jenna Staiti (14) reaches after the ball 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)

The Georgia women's basketball team fell 88-77 in its last away game of the regular season. Redshirt junior Jenna Staiti scored 22 points, continuing her steak of double figures in six straight games, but it was not enough to beat No. 15 Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. 

Four Bulldogs scored in double figures, as did four Wildcats. 6-foot-2-inch sophomore guard Rhyne Howard led Kentucky to victory with 25 points, followed by redshirt senior Sabrina Haines with 15.

Staiti added eight rebounds to her stat sheet, junior Maya Caldwell added 18 points and junior Gabby Connally collected 14 points and 5 rebounds. Senior Stephanie Paul grabbed four rebounds and dished out two assists in 15 minutes, but did not score a single point.

“What’s frustrating is that if we score 77 points in a game, you expect to win,” Georgia head coach Joni Taylor said. “In the first and second quarters, we turned Kentucky loose and gave up way too many easy looks. Rhyne Howard is one of the best players in the nation and credit her for playing a great game tonight.” 

Connally started the game off with a 3-pointer from the left corner. Georgia would shoot 87.5% from deep, missing only one of eight attempts. Kentucky made 10 3-pointers in the first half, but Georgia’s offense kept them in the game. Staiti had 15 of her 22 points in the opening half, while Connally scored nine by intermission. The Wildcats led 53-46 over the Bulldogs.

Both team’s offenses slowed down in the second half, scoring 14 points each in the third quarter. Kentucky’s leading scorer and All-American Howard earned her third foul and remained on the bench for most of the quarter.

Up 67-60 at the beginning of the final period, caution went out the window for the Wildcats. Howard came back in and scored 13 of Kentucky’s 21 points in the final quarter. Georgia fought till the end and scored 17 in the period, falling short by 11. 

Georgia outrebounded Kentucky 34-31, but turned the ball over 15 times, five more than Kentucky. The Wildcats went 20-for-21 from the free-throw line, compared to a low 12-for-20 from the Bulldogs. Georgia’s 3-point defense allowed the Wildcats to go 12-for-27 from behind the arc.

The Bulldogs return home to host Florida this Sunday. It will be the last game of the regular season, and Stephanie Paul and Ari Henderson will be honored as Georgia's two seniors.

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