The Georgia Lady Bulldogs are back in business.
The program that defeated then-No. 2 Texas A&M in last year’s SEC Tournament en route to a No. 10 ranking and a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament was merely receiving votes entering this season despite the decisions of stars Jenna Staiti and Que Morrison to return as graduate students.
Last year the Lady Dawgs were a feel-good story and received a lot of attention because they were a part of an SEC championship game that featured two Black female head coaches in their Joni Taylor and South Carolina’s Dawn Staley. This year, they defeated No. 21 Notre Dame on Nov. 26, which vaulted them into the rankings, but overall, there was still less excitement surrounding the team entering Thursday night's matchup against the No. 2 NC State Wolfpack.
All that has changed now because Georgia defeated the Pack 82-80 behind a game-winning layup from Morrison with 1:13 left in overtime at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, N.C.
Morrison’s layup made it 81-79 and Kayla Jones was unable to tie it when she made just one of two free throws with 52 seconds remaining. NC State’s Elissa Cunane then missed a layup with six seconds remaining and the Wolfpack were not able to get a shot off after getting the ball back with 0.3 seconds left.
A deep three made while leaning to her left made by Georgia’s Sarah Ashlee Barker with 0.4 seconds remaining in regulation forced overtime.
Georgia (9-1, 0-0 SEC) led by 12 at halftime before NC State (10-2, 1-0 ACC) won the third by 13. The fourth was close throughout.
Staiti led the Lady Bulldogs with 21 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks. Morrison finished with 20 points, six boards, six assists and five steals and Barker (4-of-7 from deep) had 16 points and eight boards.
Cunane paced NC State with 20 points, while Diamond Johnson (3-of-3 from distance) dropped in 17 and Jones posted nine to go along with 11 boards, four helpers and three swipes.
The Wolfpack had won 10 in a row since losing to No. 1 South Carolina in their opener.