A dreadfully slow start led to a disappointing end for the Georgia women’s basketball program on Sunday night.
The No. 6-seed Lady Bulldogs lost to No. 3-seed Iowa State by a 67-44 count in the Round of 32 of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament in Ames, Iowa.
The Cyclones (28-6), who advance to play No. 10-seed Creighton in the Sweet 16, kept Georgia (21-10) away from the rim with various zone defenses, essentially packing the paint.
“The first four minutes of the game we looked like we were giving a zone clinic,” said Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly, whose team took full advantage of playing on its homecourt by reaching the Sweet 16 for the first time in 22 years.
“It’s not the way we play, but we felt we had to in this game.”
The Lady Bulldogs’ shooting suffered, as they were just 19-of-62 (30 percent) shooting, including 4-of-16 shooting from 3-point range.
Georgia committed three turnovers and missed nine shots to open the game, falling behind the Cyclones by an 11-0 count in the opening five minutes before getting on the scoreboard.
“They got off to a really quick start,” UGA coach Joni Taylor said. “Once they get a lead it’s tough to come back, because they don’t turn it over, and they don’t foul you.”
The Lady Bulldogs were unable to get within six points the remainder of the first quarter, and they were down double digits from the second quarter onward.
Graduates Jenna Staiti and Que Morrison finished their Georgia women’s basketball careers leading the team in scoring on this night.
Staiti had 16 points and 9 rebounds, and Morrison scored 10 points.
The Georgia women’s basketball program has made 20 previous trips to the Sweet 16 — a mark bettered only by Tennessee, UConn and Stanford — but none since 2013.
Taylor, the 2021 SEC Coach of the Year, said she’s confident the Lady Bulldogs will get back to that level of basketball
“It’s devastating that we haven’t done it already,” Taylor said. “You come to Georgia not to make the NCAA tournament, but to make deep runs in the NCAA tournament.”
The Lady Bulldogs opened the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament with a convincing 70-54 win over Dayton.
Georgia was previously 3-0 all-time against Iowa State, the most recent meeting coming in the 2013 NCAA tournament in the second round when the Lady Bulldogs advanced to the Elite Eight.
This marked the Lady Bulldogs’ 35th NCAA tourney appearance, second-most all-time behind Tennessee (40).