By Sydney Gibbs
Coming off Sunday’s loss against rival Georgia Tech that consisted of 19 total turnovers —- the same mistakes started happening all over again for the Georgia women’s basketball team against in-state opponent Mercer. Despite the rocky start that incorporated seven turnovers in the first four minutes of the game, the Bulldogs managed to get back into a solid offensive rhythm. Behind Gabby Connally’s 14 points and eight rebounds, the Bulldogs went on to beat the Bears, 76-60 on Thursday night.
Georgia has committed 66 turnovers in its past three games, including the win against Mercer. The mental mistakes and tough defensive play from opponents has affected the Bulldogs offensive performance and head coach Joni Taylor’s vexation has only grown. However, adjustments proved to be the turnaround.
“There was frustration from [the turnovers],”said Taylor. “We called a timeout and brought Que [Morrison] and Malury [Bates] in which gave us a spark — we took care of the basketball, and dug ourselves back into the game.”
The Bulldogs led 30-25 at halftime and things started to fall back into place when the third quarter began. Less turnovers were being committed, firm defense was being played and Georgia took advantage of plenty of second chance opportunities that presented itself in front of them.
“Defensively we got a lot of stops,” said freshman Chloe Chapman. “We were going on a good run so after halftime we kept that energy and that gave us the ability to stretch it out a little bit more.”
Georgia junior Que Morrison talked about the message that coach Taylor made to the team in the locker room at halftime. The key message was turnovers but also stressed that the players settle down and focus on key things in order to win the game.
Morrison ended the game with 10 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Chapman didn’t collect any points but she managed to come away with four assists and put great pressure on Mercer’s offense.
Mercer is fast and can shoot from all over the court. The penetration they displayed and the forcing of a few turnovers got them in a position to sneak up on the Bulldogs late in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs wouldn’t let up and kept scoring pushing the lead to 18 —– the largest in the game.
It was important to make sure that the result of the Georgia Tech game did not make a second appearance in the game against Mercer. Morrison emphasized the energy aspect and how essential it was to come out with high intensity.
“Our energy level was beyond sky-high,” Morrison said. “Even in warmups, it’s way better than what it’s been so with the energy that we had played a huge role in the type of game that we had. We started off slow but we kept our energy going.”
Georgia’s bench played significant minutes and proved to be the biggest factor with them outscoring the Bears’ bench, 28-5. Que Morrison played the most minutes but the freshmen Jordan Isaacs, Javyn Nicholson and Chapman have started to settle into their roles and play with a lot more confidence.
“The bench brought a lot of energy to today’s game,” Chapman said. “We were pressuring them really well and that gave us our boost to get those transition points and throw the other team off.”
Coach Taylor was pleased with how the bench came out and gave the team that spark they needed to secure their third win of the season.
“We have a chance this year to play a lot of people,” Taylor said. “Just because we want to press, we want to do some different things defensively and I thought tonight was the first night that we were able to have some confidence in doing that.”