ATHENS — Led by double-figure performances from the veteran duo of senior forward Mackenzie Engram and junior forward Caliya Robinson, the No. 17 Georgia Lady Bulldogs basketball team topped Ole Miss 69-45 Sunday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum.
Engram and Robinson totaled 18 and 17 points, respectively, and both recorded their 17th double-digit outings of the season. Robinson’s two blocks placed her in the top-5 all-time among Georgia blockers alongside Christi Thomas. The Marietta, Ga., native has collected 194 in just 80 career contests.
Georgia is now 20-3 overall – the first Lady Bulldog squad to post a 20-3 mark since the 1999-2000 SEC Championship team.
“We came out with adjustments in the second half and it made a difference, the intensity turned up,” Georgia head coach Joni Taylor said. “Ole Miss is a good team, they have played everyone close and are very good offensively and defensively.”
Georgia (20-3, 8-2), the league-leader in field-goal percentage defense, forced the Rebels (11-12, 1-9) to their lowest scoring output of the season, marking the fourth SEC team to total its fewest points against the Lady Bulldogs.
The Georgia defense also caused 28 turnovers for the second time this season, the Rebels’ highest mark on the year. For the first time in conference play, three Lady Bulldogs -- Engram, Robinson, and freshman guard Que Morrison -- posted three steals apiece to contribute to a team total of 14, the most for Georgia in SEC competition.
After Ole Miss opened with a 7-0 run, sophomore guard Taja Cole scored Georgia’s first points by way of a 3-pointer, kicking off an 11-2 run. From there, Robinson scored three straight buckets to keep the Lady Bulldogs within striking distance. Connally closed out the quarter with back-to-back buckets, including a running jumper at the buzzer to finish the first period tied at 15.
The second quarter mimicked the first for both teams. Nearly every shot was contested and the Rebels and Lady Bulldogs tied seven times and traded leads six times in the half. Ole Miss led at the break 30-28, but Georgia quickly regained the advantage by way of a Morrison 3-pointer to start the second half.
“We settled in and were finally able to get the ball inside which made all the difference in the world,” Taylor said. “That’s what we weren’t doing in the first and second quarters, we were settling for jump shots and not making them.”
That bucket keyed a 20-8 run by the Lady Bulldogs over the course of the third quarter to take a 48-38 advantage into the final period of play. After not scoring a basket the entire first half, Morrison led the run with seven points, while Robinson joined her with six points and two steals in the quarter.
Georgia continued through the fourth quarter, outscoring the Rebels 21 to 7 in the last frame. The Bulldogs separated themselves by their largest margin of the game (24) with two final 3-pointers from senior Simone Costa and sophomore Ari Henderson, the first three of her career, to seal the game.
Next up, Georgia hosts Vanderbilt at Stegeman Coliseum on Thursday, Feb. 8. The Lady Bulldogs defeated the Commodores 81-52 back on Jan. 4 in Nashville for the team’s first win in SEC play. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network Plus with tipoff set for 7 p.m.