ATHENS – Georgia battled its way through for the first time since 2004 by beating Texas A&M in second place in the SEC women’s basketball tournament championship game.
The Lady Bulldogs in 16th reached the semi-finals in the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, SC, a 74-68 win over SEC regular season champion Aggies (23-2).
It’s Georgia’s first win against a top 5 team since defeating Stanford in Sweet 16 of the 2013 NCAA tournament.
SEC Trainer of the Year Joni Taylor and her team with the number 4 will meet South Carolina with the number 2 at 2 p.m. on Sunday (TV: ESPN2). The Gameocks defeated Tennessee 67-52 in the other semifinals.
South Carolina defeated UGA 62-50 at the previous season’s meeting of the teams in Columbia on January 21.
« I’m very excited about the program » said Taylor, who is in her sixth season as head coach since taking over the program from legendary coach Andy Landers.
« We talk about checkboxes, and we keep doing it, and they get it right. »
Senior Maya Caldwell led the Bulldogs with 19 points, which was her 7-of-12 shooting that season, while Senior Jenna Staiti had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. </ Taylor noted that Staiti only played 12 minutes when the teams first met at College Station this season, a 60-48 Aggies win on Jan. 31.
With Texas losing A&M it is the first time since 2014 that the SEC regular season champion has the SEC tournament finals have not reached.
« We want to finish strong, » said Caldwell, one of four seniors on the UGA list. « This is our (senior) last year together and our last season together, and we know what we want and we’re going to get it. »
« Everyone is really excited, (but) not much going on here and jumped and cheered, « said Caldwell. “We know we have pending deals. We are not finished yet. «
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