Lady Dogs win season opener

The Georgia Lady Dogs picked up a season-opening win over the Kennesaw State Owls Thursday night at Stegeman Coliseum. The score was 80-65. The next game is next Wednesday night, also in Stegeman, vs NC A&T. 

From McKenzie Rutan, UGA Sports Communications…

Georgia Head Coach Joni Taylor On Gabby's importance in the game...

"Gabby natural position is point guard so freshman year she played the point for us and backed up Taja Cole and sometimes they played at the same time and then obviously last year to get them both on the floor we moved her to the two. Her coming back to the point is really just her natural position. I think the biggest thing was making sure we were able to still get her shots at the point because it’s a lot easier when she was playing off the ball. We worked on that a lot this summer and she's handled it well. She's a junior now so she understands and accepts the responsibility that comes with number one being a point guard and also her production and how important it is for us to be successful."

On Maya this year... "Maya is finally looking like what we thought she was going to be. She is someone who can score on all three levels, she's a really big guard we play her at the four some. She really had a good summer. She lead us in scoring in all of our closed scrimmages and when we were in Italy. She can score in so many different ways so we can do so many different things with her. What I keep telling her is its going to feel different for you this year. Your freshman year you played a little bit, you played spot minutes, but you're going to be a major contributor and that responsibility is going to feel different. I always tell them that riding in the car is different than driving the car."

Thoughts on defense tonight...

"I am not very pleased at all with how we defended. I’ll say this; Kennesaw State is a good team. They returned all five starters, three kids on their rosters were freshman of the year respectively when they were freshman. They're talented

and they're experienced so we knew they were going to come in and give us a good game. We just did some things defensively that we just cannot do. There is a lot to correct on that end. We can’t get driven from the high post, we can’t let them catch it that easily on the block. Their guards were comfortable all night long so we've got to a better job of making them uncomfortable."

Georgia Players #2 Gabby Connally | Jr. | Guard On sharing the offense…

“I think it is really impressive. Coach said that we’ve all keyed in this year. Last year everyone did not shoot as well as they would have liked to but this year we all have been shooting better. We have so many players that can take shots this year and that have been.”

On prioritizing taking three-point shots…

“I don’t think it was ever a priority but I think everyone knew we needed to shoot the ball better. We all have been taking more shots this year. They always tell us to get in the gym and work on our shots individually because we need to be able to hit every open shot.”

On being excited for the rest of the season… “I am always excited to play in general. I realize that I have a bigger role this year than I have my first two years. I’ve really been trying to tune into that in practice and listen with open ears while also doing everything I can to adjust to what the team needs. I’m not trying to fight the times I know I won’t score as much and instead facilitate. I really just want to do all I can to help this team."

#11 Maya Caldwell | Jr. | Guard On having double digit three-pointers…

“This is a big win for us. We have been working on it every single day. Hitting open threes and Gabby (Connally) hitting contested threes, it helps us a lot. What you do in practice is going to show in play.”

On what the offense worked on in the off season…

“We have always been working on shooting. We really want to increase our percentage from the field, the three-point line and the field goal line.”

On outside shooting…

“We knew they were going to play us zone, so we knew the outside would be highlighted. A handful of us took it upon ourselves to get the extra three-pointers in.”

On hitting the buzzer beater…

“When their player shot it I thought there was a lot less time so when I came down and I realized I had more time, I pushed it and just shot it. It felt good coming off. I’ve done it a couple times before so I’ve got to keep the streak going."

#14 Jenna Staiti | R-Jr. | Center On her first career start…

“I just think the position I’m in right now, I just need to bring what I can to the table which is energy. I try to talk every day in practice. Coach Joni has been telling me to be more vocal. Having this starting spot lets me know that I need to step up and really set the stage for the younger girls on this team so they know what to do when they come in."

On what being vocal brings to the court…

“For me it really brings energy. If you aren’t talking, or clapping, there’s just dead energy in my opinion. When you watch us practice we always perform better when everyone is talking across the board. It correlates to success for us.”

On the offensive balance…

“I think our offense is really well balanced. Maya (Caldwell) and Gabby (Connally) knock down every shot that they take. I just think this year we have so many pieces that can go inside or outside, I think we will be really hard to guard."

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