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Bulldog strong: Fun, togetherness key in UGA’s 1st SEC win

The University of Georgia has a strong track record of SEC home openers, and tonight (Jan. 5) the Lady Bulldogs moved to 9-2 with a win over Texas A&M. According to Head Coach Joni Taylor, there isn’t just one player who can carry her team.

UGA Sports Communications

Athens, GA — The University of Georgia faced a Goliath of a conference match-up in Texas A&M, but the Lady Bulldogs fought hard, defeating the Aggies 69-59. This pushed the Lady Bulldogs out to a 9-2 record in SEC home-opening games.

Georgia was looking for redemption after a loss at Missouri, but it wasn’t going to be easy. Texas A&M is home to the SEC’s leading scorer, Danni Williams, and the league’s assist leader, Curtyce Knox. And, the Aggies came into this game with an 11-3 record, while UGA lagged behind with only eight wins.

It was fight or flight for the Lady Bulldogs, and boy did they fight.

Four from Georgia’s squad put up double-digit points. In fact, Pachis Roberts and Mackenzie Engram both scored at least 10 points in the first half alone.

“There’s not one player who can carry this team,” said Georgia Head Coach Joni Taylor. “When everyone shows up and is alert and has fun, we are okay. We play so much better when we get to have fun.”

“We’ve been working really hard,” said Georgia’s Simone Costa, who was one of the four Bulldogs who recorded double-digit points with 13. “The way we’re practicing is showing in the game.”

Texas A&M’s Knox fought to keep her team competitive as she scored 15 points in the first half and dished out eight assists overall on the evening.

But Knox’s tenacity wasn’t enough. Teamwork and aggression carried UGA to a 17-point lead heading into intermission, 40-23.

“We were focusing on finishing shots,” said Roberts. “We knew we were almost there, so it was doing the little things for us that really matter.”

The Aggies returned from halftime ready for more — Anriel Howard in particular. She played a vital role in closing A&M’s 17-point deficit and finished the game with 14 points while grabbing 11 boards.

UGA’s Costa fought back and helped the Lady Bulldogs regain momentum sinking 13 points throughout the game, but Roberts and Engram also shined. Engram tallied a game-high 19 points and four rebounds while Roberts stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.

“Give Roberts a lot of credit; she’s the best defensive player on the court,” said Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair. “Give Engram credit; I expected this out of [her] ever since I saw her as a freshman.”

The Aggies fought to score 20 points in the third period and grab 43 rebounds throughout the game. The effort fell short, however. The Lady Bulldogs were able to snag redemption and defeat the giant thanks to intense action on both sides of the court.

Georgia hopes to keep this momentum going as they face Vanderbilt on Sunday (Jan. 8) at home. Texas A&M meets Kentucky on Sunday in Lexington.