Lady Bulldogs advance to SEC tourney semifinals

Georgia center Jenna Staiti. (File photo by Tony Walsh/UGA Athletics)
Georgia center Jenna Staiti. (File photo by Tony Walsh/UGA Athletics)

Credit: Tony Walsh

Credit: Tony Walsh

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Jenna Staiti and Maya Caldwell scored 20 points each and 16th-ranked Georgia beat No. 17 Kentucky 78-66 in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament on Friday.

Fourth-seeded Georgia (19-5), which has won six of its last seven games, faces No. 2-ranked and top seed Texas A&M in a semifinal on Saturday. The Lady Bulldogs lost to the Aggies 60-48 on Jan. 31 after shooting just 31.1% and turning it over 18 times.

As has been the case all season, Georgia’s four senior starters — all pursuing master’s degrees — led the scoring Friday with Que Morrison adding 14 points and Gabby Connally 13. Besides becoming the eighth player in program history to reach 1,000 career points, 500 rebounds and 150 blocks, Staiti collected her ninth double-double this season and 16th of her career.

Georgia took off to a 13-2 lead and led the entire way. Caldwell had 13 points in the first half as the Lady Bulldogs went into the break ahead 35-20. Rhyne Howard had 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting but the rest of the Wildcats were only 3-of-20 at halftime.

The Wildcats (17-8), who won at Georgia 62-58 just over a week ago in their only regular-season meeting, rebounded to score 27 points in the third quarter but still trailed by 11. Howard scored Kentucky’s final 13 points in the fourth with her last basket getting the Wildcats within eight.

Howard finished with 33, matching her season high and moving her into seventh in program history with 1,613 career points. Chasity Patterson added 11 points for the fifth-seeded Wildcats.

Georgia scored 21 points off turnovers and went 23-of-29 at the free-throw line, compared to Kentucky’s 7-of-10.

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