University of Georgia guard Taja Cole (0), a red-shirt junior from Richmond, Virginia, gestures to a teammate during a game against the University of Florida at Stegeman Coliseum on Feb. 10, 2019 in Athens, Georgia. The Lady Dawgs defeated the Gators with an enormous point deficit of 93-58 in regular time. (Photo/Julian Alexander)

Bright faces, high-fives and hugs were circulating on the Georgia bench during the Bulldogs' 78-56 win over Ole Miss. The smiles and cheers got even brighter when walk-on Ari Henderson hit a 3-point shot from the right corner.

The excitement and happiness expressed by the Georgia players has been present for the past two home games. Georgia’s last home game, a 93-58 win over Florida, was a complete display on both sides of the ball. Against Ole Miss, it was the same formula that led Georgia to a win.

From the start, Georgia imposed its dominance on the Rebels.

“We know exactly what we have to do,” senior Caliya Robinson said. “We need to come out with energy and effort, we just need play how we play, The Georgia Way. When we do that, you get results like this.”

In both wins, Georgia only had nine turnovers, which is much lower than the Bulldogs' season average of 15.9. Head coach Joni Taylor repeated a phrase in the postgame press conference that the Bulldogs can’t keep hitting themself in the head with the same brick and expecting different results.

Georgia has avoided the same brick by making the simple passes and avoiding making passes in contested areas. Redshirt junior guard Taja Cole said the scouting report and knowing where the ball needs to be has helped decrease the turnovers.

“When you watch the Auburn game and watch us turn the ball over 28 times as a team, you kind of figure out that taking care of the basketball is important,” Taylor said. “We sat down and had a heart-to-heart conversation and since then, we’ve made some changes and we haven’t turned it over the way we were before.”

With the Bulldogs making the simple passes, they were able to show the flare that each of the guards possess when it comes to distributing the ball. Throughout the game, Cole was throwing no-look dimes to Maya Caldwell and Robinson in the paint.

Before these past two home wins, Georgia suffered back-to-back home losses in the month of January against Texas A&M and Alabama. The Alabama loss came at a crucial time for Georgia when it fell to 12-8 for the season.

“I think we had a talk right there at the half of our season,” Cole said. “Just about where we are, and where we want to be. I think we just really focus in and lock in and we are taking pride of playing Georgia basketball, which is definitely taking care of business at home.”

In both of those games, Georgia had 13 and 18 turnovers, respectively, and that led to having 13 and 19 points off turnovers.

Against Ole Miss and Florida, the Gators only had six points off turnovers and the Rebels had 10.

“We emphasize on (turnovers) a lot actually,” Robinson said. “Even in practice, we emphasize on turnovers. I think today was the start that we actually emphasize on ourselves on not turning it over, and passing the ball well or just doing a lot things that we do well.”

The resurgence Georgia has seen playing at home has put the Bulldogs back in the conversation for a higher seeding in the SEC tournament. Taylor will hope the same brick of turning the ball over will not knock Georgia off its path again this season.

“We are at a point where we are peaking at the right time,” Taylor said. “I think we have a more mature understanding of who we are as a team and what we need to do versus where we were at the beginning of the year.”

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.