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Loss Ends Lady Dawgs Turnaround Season

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Hopes of win come undone against Duke in second quarter

NCAA Womens Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Missouri vs Georgia
Georgia’s second-round NCAA Tournament trip was its first in five seasons.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Managing just two points in a single quarter is hardly a good thing, especially in postseason play.

But that’s exactly the fix that the Lady Bulldogs found themselves in on Monday night against Duke, and the horrific second quarter put Georgia in a hole too deep to climb out of in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Monday night in Athens.

The 66-40 win by visiting Duke earns them a trip to Albany, NY to face the tournament’s top seed, UConn.

Both teams had some good and bad moments through the first quarter, and Georgia was in the game, down 15-12 going to the second quarter. That, however, is when things came undone for the Lady Dawgs, who trailed 35-14 at the half. In short, if it could go wrong for Georgia on Monday, it did during the second quarter.

The Lady Dawgs shot five percent from the field - their lowest percentage in the other three quarters was 28 percent. One game after Caliya Robinson and Mackenzie Engram posted more than 20 points against Mercer in the first round, they sledding was much tougher against the Blue Devils. Robinson was the only Georgia scorer in double figures with 11 points. Duke, however, was able to get its offense in rhythm with four players scoring at least 10 points. With such a big halftime deficit, there wasn’t much Georgia could to do catch up.

So, where does Georgia go from here as a program?

The good news is that it is coming off a season in which the program’s status was elevated. A 26-7 record marked a season in which the Lady Bulldogs finished tied for second in the SEC after being picked to finish eighth.

A culture of expecting to win has been set, and it’s also won that should breed hunger for even bigger things in the future as well. As far as conference play goes, Georgia was far from an also-ran this year. Season’s like this one can do nothing but help raise the impression of the program that’s a stone’s throw from one of the biggest basketball talent hotbeds in the country. A team like Georgia may not be able to win over local products against teams like UConn, but there’s no reason for the likes of Auburn or Florida State to be able to beat out UGA on a regular basis. Seasons like this one will make selling the Georgia program easier for Joni Taylor and her staff.

With three seniors graduating, including Engram, the torch gets passed to a strong incoming class to build on this past season and make it a building block instead of a footnote. With the current seniors departing, Andy Landers final recruits depart - the program now more than ever is that of Joni Taylor’s.

This program is not ‘back,’ but if the past season indicates anything, it may be on its way there.