Caliya Robinson is the definition of dependable. Well, she usually is.
In the Georgia women’s basketball team’s 67-55 win over Vanderbilt, Robinson couldn’t buy herself a bucket. It’s rare to say that about a team’s second-leading scorer. It’s even rarer to say that about a team’s most efficient scorer.
Averaging 13.1 points per game on 51.4 percent shooting, Robinson’s game against Vanderbilt did not live up to those averages. The junior forward had a subpar six points on a woeful 3-for-14 shooting. And there was truly never a point where she had her groove going.
Robinson started the game shooting 1-8 from the field. She was able to get a layup before halftime that looked like it could jumpstart her offensive game, but a quick foul took her out of the game for the rest of the first half.
The Lady Bulldogs took a 36-25 lead into the half, but Robinson went in with a lackluster four points on 2-of-9 shooting. Still, her teammates had only encouraging words for the usually dominant forward.
“We were trying to encourage her all night,” senior Mackenzie Engram said. “We all know what she’s capable of. She was just missing bunnies… That just shows it was an off night.”
The second half was still not favorable for Robinson. Her shooting trends continued as she only made one of her five shots in the third quarter. She didn’t have much of an opportunity to shoot much more as she was taken out late in the third quarter with her fourth foul. With the reserves mostly finishing out the rest of the game, Robinson didn’t get an opportunity to put up another shot for the rest of the game.
Despite the poor shooting performance, head coach Joni Taylor was quick to say she never thought about changing the game plan. She knew it wasn’t anything bad that Robinson was doing, it was just one of those nights.
“The shots Caliya [Robinson] missed were good shots,” Taylor said. “Some nights you just don’t find the rim.”
This isn’t to say Robinson did nothing right all night. In fact, other than shooting the ball, she was the same rebounding and defensive machine Georgia is used to seeing. Robinson, despite playing only 21 minutes, was the game’s leading rebounder with 11. On top of that, she was also dominant on defense despite only putting up one block.
Robinson's performance helped the team greatly. Last year though, if Robinson had this kind of scoring production in a game, it likely would have ended poorly. At least Taylor thought it might have.
“If Caliya didn’t score last year, a lot of the times we didn’t win,” Taylor said
Thankfully for the Bulldogs, they don’t always need high volume scoring from Robinson anymore. It allows her to have the off night all basketball players encounter every so often.
With two big games against 11th-ranked Tennessee and seventh-ranked South Carolina, Georgia will likely need everything they can get from its players.