Second Half Comeback Surges Georgia Past No. 13 Tennessee, 66-62

Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019
ATHENS, Ga. -- A hot-shot second-half performance led the Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball team to a 66-62 comeback win against the No. 13-ranked Tennessee Sunday afternoon in Stegeman Coliseum.

After trailing by 12 at halftime, Georgia scored 25 points in the third period to snag the lead and eventually the win. Of the Lady Bulldogs’ 25-point third period, redshirt-junior Taja Cole accounted for nine points, while junior Stephanie Paul and sophomore Gabby Connally added four points apiece in the third period.

Four Georgia players had double-digit scoring performances to seal Georgia’s victory. Senior Caliya Robinson led all scorers with 16 points. Robinson also added a season-high six blocks, including two crucial blocks in the remaining minutes of the fourth period. Cole and redshirt-sophomore Jenna Staiti added 12 points a piece. Staiti also continued her scoring streak, marking her fifth game in the last six she has scored in the double-digits. Sophomore guard Connally finished the game as the second-leading scorer with 13 points.

With this win, Georgia improves to 3-1 in the SEC and 12-5 overall, while Tennessee drops to 12-4 and 1-3 in the SEC. Tennessee’s loss to Georgia marks its third-straight SEC loss this season.

“We took care of the basketball,” Georgia head coach Joni Taylor said. “We had players make big shots. Taja [Cole] makes big shots, and then when she got into foul trouble Gabby [Connally] took over and made big shots. Caliya [Robinson] has been huge for us the last two games, and Jenna [Staiti] is continuing to come on and be steady for us."

Robinson gave the Lady Bulldogs their first points of the game, with a two-point jumper following tip-off. After back-and-forth baskets by both teams, Tennessee began to pull away midway through the first period to cap the first ten minutes leading 22-10. Robinson accounted for six of the Lady Bulldogs’ 10 points in the first period.

Though Tennessee continued to extend its lead in the second period, a two-point jumper by Robinson at the buzzer helped cut the Lady Vols’ lead, sending Georgia into the half down 36-24.

Returning to the court after halftime, Georgia held Tennessee scoreless for almost four minutes to start the third period. Meanwhile, the Lady Bulldogs cut a double-digit Tennessee lead to six points (37-31, UT) behind two-straight baskets by Paul and a 3-pointer from freshman guard Donnetta Johnson.

Midway through the third period, Georgia gained the lead for the first time since the first period with baskets by Connally, Johnson, Cole and Robinson. Cole knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the game. A tip-in by Robinson on the next possession made the score 43-41 for the Georgia lead which the Lady Bulldogs maintained the rest of the game.

Connally scored behind the arc with less than a minute to go in the third period, and Cole knocked down a 3-pointer at the third-period buzzer to send Georgia into the final 10 minutes leading 49-47.

No. 13-ranked Tennessee fought back and eventually made it a one-point game, but crucial points from behind the line by Staiti, along with two Robinson blocks in the remaining minutes of the fourth, sealed the 66-62 victory for Georgia.

Georgia travels to Columbia, Missouri, next to face No. 2-ranked Missouri on Thursday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m. on SEC Network.