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Wednesday July 6th, 2022 3:16AM

No. 15 Georgia needs huge comeback to top Alabama, 72-68

By The Associated Press

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Jenna Staiti scored 15 of her 17 points in the second half and forced a crucial turnover in the closing seconds as No. 15 Georgia overcame a 19-point halftime deficit to beat Alabama 72-68 on Sunday.

Que Morrison scored 21 points to lead the Bulldogs, who shot 65 percent in the second half.

Alabama roared out of the gate. Brittany Davis was 4-for-4 from behind the arc in the first quarter, sparking the Crimson Tide to a 24-15 lead after one quarter. Davis finished 6-for-6 in the first half and Alabama was 10 of 12 as a team to take a 48-29 lead at intermission.

Davis went cold in the second half and did not score after intermission and the Tide managed just eight third-quarter points while Georgia rode nine points from Mikayla Coombs to cut the deficit to just six, 56-50, heading into the final quarter. Staiti, at 6-feet-4, was a match-up challenge who did most of her second-half damage from around the free-throw line, shooting over defenders almost at will.

Zoesha Smith tied the game at 60-60 with a layup with 6:27 to play and Coombs gave Georgia its first lead at 67-65 when she put back her own missed layup. Down by one, Alabama's Megan Abrams drove the lane with :18 left, but Staiti and Sarah Ashlee Barker collapsed in the paint and forced the turnover. Morrison added two free throws and Staiti's free throw with a second left put the game away.

Staiti finished with nine rebounds and five blocked shots for Georgia (13-3, 2-2 Southeastern Conference). Coombs finished with 13 points and five rebounds.

Alabama (10-5, 1-3) got 42 of its 68 points from behind the 3-point line and finished shooting 56 percent from distance, hitting 14 of 25 attempts. But the Tide was just 7 of 27 from inside the arc for the game.

Davis finished 18 points to lead Alabama. Taylor Sutton added 13 points off the bench and Hannah Barber hit 4 of 5 from deep to finish with 12 points. Jada Rice added 10 points and made a key block on Staiti in the final minute to keep the game within reach for Alabama.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Sports - Women's College Basketball
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