Last night 17th ranked Georgia took down 2nd ranked NC State in Raleigh. Jenna Staiti led the Bulldogs with 21 points in this victory. Georgia was mad coming off their one-point loss to Georgia Tech. They needed to demonstrate that they were still a threat, and they did that and more last night. Georgia shocked NC State with a brilliant performance in overtime.
Georgia Shocked NC State 82-80 in Overtime
The Bulldogs primarily dominated the first half thanks to an excellent second-quarter performance. In that quarter, Georgia outscored the Wolfpack 20-8. Holding a high-powered offense to just eight points in a quarter demonstrates the strength that Georgia’s defense possesses. The Bulldogs helped their chances by putting Elissa Cunane in foul trouble with two early fouls forcing NC State to put Camille Hobby in the game guarding Staiti down low, and she struggled mightily. However, freshman Jillian Hollingshead played a significant role in affording the Bulldogs with a second option down low. Staiti had five quick points at the end of the quarter to put her team up 40-28.
The Wolfpack came out like gangbusters in the third quarter outscoring Georgia 24-11 to take the lead heading into the fourth. Cunane came back in the game and instantly scored nine of her points in the third. This quarter, NC State played excellent defense, allowing just three field goals overall. They looked like they might even run away with it in the fourth because they had all the momentum. But Georgia would have none of that idea. Immediately, Que Morrison made a jumper to give her team the lead back, although it would not last long. NC State went up by as many as five at 61-56 with 6:46 to go. Then Georgia went on a 6-0 run to take the lead back 62-61 just forty seconds later.
After that, NC State took the lead and would remain ahead for a while. With 57 seconds left, Diamond Johnson made a huge shot to give her team a four-point lead. Then Morrison scored again to cut the lead to two. Georgia got the ball back, and Morrison, an 87% free throw shooter, was fouled. She only made one free throw, so the score was NC State 73 Georgia 72. Georgia was forced to foul. With five seconds left, Cunane was at the line, and she missed both free throws, but little Kai Crutchfield got the rebound and was fouled. She made both free throws to put State up 75-72. Georgia called a timeout and gave the ball to their best three-point shooter Sarah Ashlee Barker who made a crazy three to tie the game at the Buzzer. This shot gave Georgia momentum for overtime, where Georgia shocked NC State with a two-point victory.
In OT, teams went back and forth until Morrison scored with 1:13 to go to put her team up by two. Subsequently, Kayla Jones was fouled for the Pack, but she only made one. This miss loomed large at the end. Elissa Cunane had a chance to put her team ahead, but she missed a challenging layup attempt. NC State was forced to foul, and Morrison made one free throw to put her team up 82-80 with two seconds left. Unfortunately, NC State had no timeout and could not get a shot off at the end.
Georgia shocked NC State last night, adding an impressive win to their resume. This win will help their seeding significantly in March. Georgia has an excellent chance at a top-three seed come March. For NC State, they were on a ten-game win streak since that loss to SC early on. This loss is a surprising setback that could hurt their seeding in the long run. If they win the ACC, I still expect them to be a one seed, but with the way Louisville and Duke are currently playing, that looks like no easy task.
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