WBB Game Notes: Georgia Takes 2-0 SEC Record To Starkville
Georgia (11-4, 2-0 SEC) vs. #6/7 Mississippi State (14-2, 2-0 SEC)
Thursday, Jan. 10 | 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT| Humphrey Coliseum (10,575)
TV: SEC Network (Pam Ward, Carolyn Peck and Steffi Sorensen
Radio: Georgia Bulldogs Sports Network - 960 AM in Athens (Jeff Dantzler)
Live Stats: GeorgiaDogs.com
» Georgia travels to Starkville, Mississippi on Thursday to take on the sixth-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT at Humphrey Coliseum.
» The Lady Bulldogs are 2-0 in SEC play for the first time since the 2010-11 season, when the team began the conference slate with six-straight wins.
» Sophomore guard Gabby Connally was named the SEC Co-Player of the Week after her 29-point performance against Vanderbilt on Sunday. In the first two SEC games, Connally shot over 50 percent from the field (8-of-14), 73 percent from 3-point range (8-of-11) and a perfect 100 percent from the free-throw line (8-of-8).
» Three of the last four games between Mississippi State and Georgia have been decided by 10 points or less. Georgia lost to the State Bulldogs, 64-56, in 2015 and then beat No. 10 Mississippi State, 47-43, in 2016. During Georgia’s last trip to Starkville in the 2016-17 season, Georgia led for over 30 minutes in a 58-49 loss.
» Thursday’s game features two of the top post players in the SEC. Georgia’s Caliya Robinson (246) and MSU’s Teaira McCowan (242) rank one and two respectively among the league’s active career shot blockers. Not to be outdone, Georgia redshirt sophomore center Jenna Staiti, who has scored in double figures in four-straight games, ranks third in the SEC this season with 32 blocks.
» Redshirt junior point guard Taja Cole leads the SEC and is seventh nationally in assists with 6.7 per game. With 101 total assists, Cole has 22 more dimes than the next closest SEC player, which is Mississippi State’s Jazzmun Holmes with 79 total.
More on Connally … Sharp-Shooter in Midst of Career-Best Run
» Entering this week, Connally is in the best stretch of her career. She has scored in double figures in seven of her last eight games. Over the current eight-game stretch, she is averaging just over 16 points per game and is now the team’s leading scorer with 13 ppg this season.
Staiti Becoming Elite Player for Lady Bulldogs
» Redshirt-sophomore center Jenna Staiti has reached double figures in scoring in four-straight games (as of Jan. 8), including back-to-back 13-point performances against LSU and Vanderbilt to begin SEC play. Staiti’s minutes have increased late this season. During her freshman year at Maryland, Staiti’s career-best for minutes played was just 16 minutes. She has played 20 minutes or more in four-straight games.
Georgia Continues Unselfish Play
» The Lady Bulldogs are currently second in the SEC in both total assists (250) and assists per game (16.7) as a team.
During head coach Joni Taylor’s tenure, Georgia has finished no worse than third when it comes to assists. In 2015-16, Georgia led the league in dimes, before finishing second in 2016-17 and third in 2017-18.
» With eight freshmen and sophomores and just four juniors and seniors, the Lady Bulldogs are the youngest team in the Southeastern Conference. All eight of Georgia’s freshmen and sophomores have seen valuable playing time as each has averaged over 10 minutes played per game. Sophomore Malury Bates, who was averaging 16.1 minutes played per contest, is out for the year with a torn ACL.
First Starts for Numerous Lady Bulldogs
» Georgia has used six players that had never started a game prior to this season in this year’s rotation. Among those is sophomore guard Gabby Connally, who has started each of Georgia’s 15 games. The Lady Bulldogs’ three freshmen have each started at least one game this year, with Donnetta Johnson receiving the nod in the last four contests.
Georgia Leads League in Most Defensive Numbers
» The Lady Bulldogs are among the SEC’s best when it comes to defense. Georgia paces the conference (16th nationally) in field-goal percentage defense, holding teams to just 34.1 percent shooting from the field. The Lady Bulldogs are second in 3-point field percentage defense (26.3 percent) through the first 15 games.
When it comes to blocked shots, Georgia is among one of the best teams in the nation and is ranked third nationally behind SEC foes Mississippi State and South Carolina with 97 total blocks this season.
Georgia Has Led in All Four Losses
» In each of Georgia’s four losses this season, the Lady Bulldogs have led in the game. Against UCLA, Georgia built a 12-point advantage and led for over 30 minutes. Against Georgia Tech, the Lady Bulldogs led by five points, while they erased a 15-point deficit against Maryland to build a two-point advantage late in the second half. Against Villanova the Lady Bulldogs led by seven in the first quarter. In four losses, Georgia was outscored in the fourth quarter, 74-56.
Lady Bulldogs Add Top Prospects in 2019 Signing Class
» The initial signing period was a good one for the Lady Bulldogs as Georgia signed three players who are among some of the best in the nation. Currently, the Lady Bulldogs’ 2019 class ranks 14th overall by ESPNW.
Mitchellville, Maryland native and five-star guard Chloe Chapman was the first to ink with Georgia. Chapman, a five-star prospect, is the No. 28 overall recruit and No. 7 point guard according to ESPNW. Later in the week, Georgia announced the signing of five-star forward Javyn Nicholson from Lawrenceville, Georgia. Nicholson is ranked No. 6 among the country’s top power forwards. Another Georgia native, Jordan Isaacs from Alpharetta, rounds out Georgia’s class. She is a five-star player according to Prospects Nation and No. 14 overall forward according to ESPNW.
This past week, Georgia inked Virginia Tech transfer Shaniya Jones, who was a four-star guard in the 2018 class. She is on campus and will be an eligible sophomore at the conclusion of the 2019 fall term.