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Bulldog grit: Georgia does it again — win in OT

Five wins in the last seven games has Georgia head coach Joni Taylor feeling confident as the regular season winds down. The Lady Bulldogs captured an overtime victory over Alabama to improve to 15-13 this season.

NCAA Womens Basketball: SEC Championship-Georgia vs Tennessee Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Athens, GA — The Georgia Lady Bulldogs shined against the Alabama Crimson Tide with an overtime finish. Georgia walked away with its fifth win in the past seven games, defeating the Tide 71-65.

The Lady Bulldogs were on fire out of the gates with Pachis Roberts sinking a three-pointer in the first play of the game. She also finished the game achieving her second double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

“We’ve won the last couple games at home…some big games too,” said Roberts. “Just knowing that all of our team is going to step up and play when it counts is what really matters.”

Both teams played with heart and tenacity with the clock ticking down not only on this game, but the entire season as well. This passion was evident throughout the game and made it difficult for either team to pull ahead.

Georgia’s Mackenzie Engram scored seven of the team’s 11 points in the first quarter and finished the evening with a game-high 19 points. But Jordan Lewis’s seven of nine total points and Alabama’s tough defense kept Georgia on its toes.

“We knew [Alabama] was going to go from man to zone [defense], so it didn’t really throw us off,” said Engram. “[Coach Taylor] is always in our ear telling us to relax…and play like we’ve been practicing all week.”

The Lady Bulldogs were shooting with 50% accuracy while Alabama could only drop 32.1 percent of its shots in the first half.

UGA held onto the lead at intermission, 33-27.

Momentum seemed to be shifting in Georgia’s favor. Engram continued to shine throughout the game, chipping in eight rebounds in addition to her 19 points on the night. Shanea Armbrister also claimed a career-high 12 rebounds and freshman Stephanie Paul put 10 total points on the board.

But, the Lady Bulldogs just couldn’t hold on.

Alabama’s Meoshonti Knight pushed the team to tighten the gap on UGA in the third quarter. With 19 points in the third and 15 in the fourth quarter as a team, the Crimson Tide forced the Bulldogs into overtime, tying the score 61-61.

“The team still showed toughness,” said Alabama head coach Kristy Curry. “They had some stops and some breaks.”

It was Alabama’s missed free throws and UGA’s Caliya Robinson and Roberts scoring four points each that allowed the Bulldogs to clinch its third overtime win in February.

“Here we overtime and we’re confident,” said Georgia head coach Joni Taylor. “We’re confident in what we can do, and I feel good about where we’re going into the tournament.”

The Lady Bulldogs takes on the University of Florida on Sunday (Feb. 26) at 12 p.m. ET. The Crimson Tide will finish off the season at home against the University of Missouri at 2 p.m. CT.