Lady Dogs’ basketball season a disappointment so far

ATHENS – Georgia men’s basketball has been the focus of criticism this season and deservedly so as the SEC’s last-place team. But the Bulldogs’ women’s team has been a disappointment in its own right and finds itself with some work to do as the regular season comes to a close this week.

The Lady Dogs (18-8, 7-7 SEC) just received another blot on their postseason resume when they dropped a 65-60 decision to Auburn on Sunday. The Tigers (10-15, 2-12 SEC), who are in last place in the SEC, scored the last 11 points of the game and outscored Georgia 17-6 in the fourth quarter.

“They were tougher than we were and that’s disappointing and embarrassing,” coach Joni Taylor said.

That was Georgia’s fourth loss in the last five games. Now, with SEC Tournament seeding on the line, the Bulldogs head to Arkansas (16-10, 6-7) on Thursday (8 p.m., SECN+) in danger of falling below .500 in conference play. Currently sixth in the league, the Bulldogs will fall to seventh with a loss to the Razorbacks.

Georgia gets Texas A&M (14-12, 4-10) at home in the regular-season finale next Sunday (2 p.m.)

The current situation is far below expectations for Taylor’s seventh Georgia basketball team. The Bulldogs were upset last year to have been ousted by Oregon in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year. That brought an abrupt end to a 21-7 season that saw Georgia finish as runners-up to South Carolina in the SEC Tournament.

That continued a trend of underachievement in the NCAA Tournament. Under Taylor, the Bulldogs have won only two NCAA Tournament games since advancing to the Elite 8 in 2013.

But there was a lot of optimism coming into the season. Taylor was named SEC coach of the year and received a $100,000-a-year raise and contract extension through the 2027 season.

Then seniors Jenna Staiti and Que Morrision made the decision to take advantage of the NCAA’s extra year of eligibility and come back for another season.

Their returns haven’t lifted Georgia to the offensive heights that were expected. The Bulldogs enter the final week of the season ranked ninth in the SEC in scoring at 69.7 points per game. And Georgia is averaging an unsightly 15.8 turnovers per game. Morrison had 7 in the loss to Auburn.

The Bulldogs insist it’s not too late to turn things around.

“I still think we haven’t had a complete game yet where everybody’s feeding off everybody’s energy,” said Javyn Nicholson, a junior forward who recently moved into the starting lineup. “When we do we’re going to be scary.”

Time’s running out fast.

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