Georgia women start slow, Staiti finishes strong to advance

Published 6:31 pm Monday, March 22, 2021

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Jenna Staiti scored all 19 of her points in the second half, making seven straight shots, Que Morrison had 11 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high eight assists, and No. 3 seed Georgia overcame a slow start to beat No. 14 seed Drexel 67-53 on Monday in the women’s NCAA Tournament.

Georgia advances in the Alamo Region to face the winner of the Oregon-South Dakota game.

Staiti and Gabby Connally were not in the starting lineup for the first time in 26 games. Staiti was late getting to San Antonio due to undisclosed medical reason and Connally rolled her ankle in a practice after the SEC championship game.

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Georgia struggled early without them, missing its first five shots and turning it over seven times through the first 6 minutes, 10 seconds. The Bulldogs only had two made field goals until Morrison beat the first-quarter buzzer with a long jumper to pull within 15-10.

It was tied at 25-all at halftime. After each team only made one field goal through the first four minutes of the third quarter, Staiti took over.

Staiti sank her seventh 3-pointer of the season with 44 seconds left in the third, giving her nine points in the quarter to build a 40-35 lead. Staiti made all four of her shots in the quarter, her teammates were just 3 of 13, and she kept it going in the fourth by making three straight baskets, including another 3-pointer.

Caitlin Hose, averaging just 1.4 points, came off the bench for Georgia (21-6), and made two much-needed 3-pointers in the second quarter after the Bulldogs missed their first four.

Hannah Nihill led Drexel (14-9) with 22 points, going 2 of 7 from 3-point range. Keishana Washington, the Dragons second-leading scorer, was held to seven points on 2-of-12 shooting.


UConn transfer Mikayla Coombs, who is usually the first player off the bench behind four senior starters, made her first start of the season and gave Georgia some much-needed energy in the third quarter. Junior Malury Bates made her first career start, wearing a protective face mask.

Both players finished with eight points.

Staiti entered the game at the 4:07 mark of the first quarter and Connolly checked in at the start of the second quarter, and they each played five minutes in the half.


The odds weren’t in Drexel’s favor as the last 14-16 seed to win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament was No. 16-seed Harvard’s victory over No. 1 Stanford in 1998.


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