Before Thursday’s 67-55 win over Vanderbilt, Georgia women’s basketball senior Mackenzie Engram was honored for scoring her 1,000th career point in a game against LSU last week.
She and head coach Joni Taylor stood smiling at midcourt as the announcement was made and fans rose to their feet. Taylor handed Engram a commemorative basketball to celebrate the milestone, and the two leaders of this season’s Georgia team spoke with each other before they joined the rest of the Bulldogs for the announcement of the starting lineup.
“I just told her I was proud of her,” Taylor said. “There have been a lot of dynamic scorers that have come through Georgia women’s basketball, and she can now say that she’s one of them,”
As if Vanderbilt did not get to see the massive reminder that Engram was one of Georgia’s best scorers, the senior went on to co-lead the Bulldogs in points during their 12-point victory.
“This year, her focus has not been scoring, it’s about being a great leader and rebounding the basketball and doing other things,” Taylor said. “Her scoring has just come.”
This ability to not focus on shooting has opened up the floor for both Engram and her teammates. She, along with point guard Taja Cole, tallied 11 points on Thursday night as she shot 55 percent from the field with one 3-pointer and four rebounds. Engram played for 27 minutes in the blowout victory, good for second-most on the team.
Her 1,000th career point allowed her to join an exclusive club of 38 former Bulldogs to reach the milestone. Since she missed 15 games during her sophomore season due to a heart condition, Engram said the feat was even more rewarding.
“To know that I’m a part of history is always good,” Engram said. “I missed half of my sophomore year so to still reach that milestone, I’m satisfied with that.”
On a night when one of Georgia’s star players in Caliya Robinson struggled from the field and the Bulldogs allowed 24 points in the paint to the Commodores, Engram’s leadership would have been apparent even without the quick pregame ceremony.
Thanks to assists from players like Cole, Engram was able to contribute to Georgia’s dominating 16 fast break points while holding Vanderbilt to none.
Even though the Commodores did not need to see Engram be presented with the commemorative basketball before the game to know that she is one of Georgia’s leading scorers, they had to anyways.
There was a home game for Georgia on Sunday against Ole Miss that was played after Engram scored her 1000th point on the road at LSU, but the Bulldogs opted not to celebrate the milestone then. Engram explained that the decision was not about Vanderbilt or anyone else, though, but instead was more of a precaution.
“I just don’t think the ball was here yet,” she said. “They wanted to make sure I got [to 1,000 points] before they ordered it.”