The Georgia women's basketball team defeated Auburn 61-50 to break a three-game conference losing streak. Heading into a string of four straight ranked opponents for the Bulldogs, here are three takeaways from The Red & Black.
Bench points provide needed spark
Coming off three straight losses, the Bulldogs needed something big to spark a bounce-back performance on Jan. 19 against Auburn. A career-high 21 points from sophomore guard Shaniya Jones was just what Georgia needed. The Bulldogs bench scored 34 points and proved to be the difference in a much-needed SEC win. Auburn was only able to add four points from the bench, giving the Bulldogs a 30-point advantage. Georgia’s bench was only able to score 11 points last week against Tennessee and five against Vanderbilt. Chloe Chapman also played a large part in handling the press and controlling the tempo down the stretch against Auburn. The boost in bench contribution will give the Bulldogs momentum heading into their upcoming games.
Protect the ball
Turnovers have been a problem all season for Georgia. The Bulldogs are averaging 17.5 turnovers per game, which is tied for 254th in the country. Once again, protecting the ball was a problem against the Tigers as the Bulldogs turned it over 18 times. Georgia has struggled to keep the ball since the start of SEC play, as the team turnover margin has dropped to -2.3. On the positive side, Georgia was able to score 12 second-chance points on 11 offensive rebounds against the Tigers. The effectiveness on the offensive boards proved key in cancelling out the large number of turnovers. The Bulldogs also managed to protect the ball in transition, leading to 19 fast-break points. Junior guard Que Morrison and Chapman each added six assists and only two turnovers. Limiting turnovers and rebounding the ball will play a large role throughout the rest of the season.
Third quarter is key
The third quarter has been the story of almost every game this season for the Bulldogs. Outscoring Auburn in the third quarter helped Georgia pull off the comeback win at Stegeman Coliseum. The boost came early in the third quarter as the crowd roared after a Stephanie Paul block led to a 7-2 scoring run. The block and a couple of Jones 3-pointers shifted the momentum and set off a dominant third quarter performance. Georgia shot 55.6% from the field over the period and limited Auburn to 27.3% shooting. The Bulldogs have struggled in the third quarter over the last two games, allowing 18 points to Tennessee and 24 to Vanderbilt.