ATHENS — Georgia fought its way into the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament Championship Game for the first time since 2004 with a win over No. 2-ranked Texas A&M on Saturday.
The No. 16-ranked Lady Bulldogs scored a 74-68 victory over the SEC regular-season champion Aggies (23-2) in the semifinals at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C.
It’s Georgia’s first win over a top 5-ranked team since a victory over Stanford in the 2013 NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16.
South Carolina beat UGA 62-50 in the teams’ earlier meeting this season in Columbia on Jan. 21.
Taylor will be celebrating her 42nd birthday on Sunday.
“I’m extremely happy for the program,” said Taylor, who is in her sixth season as head coach since taking over the program from coaching legend Andy Landers.
“We talk about checking boxes, and we’re continuing to do that, and they are doing it the right way.”
Senior Maya Caldwell led the Bulldogs with 19 points, matching her season-high 7-of-12 shooting, while senior Jenna Staiti recorded a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds along with 6 blocked shots.
Taylor noted Staiti played only 12 minutes the first time the teams met this season in College Station, a 60-48 Aggies win on Jan. 31.
Junior guard Mikayla Coombs scored a career-high 12 points for the Lady Bulldogs.
With Texas A&M’s loss, it’s the first time since 2014 the SEC regular-season champion failed to make the SEC tourney finals.
“We want to finish strong,” said Caldwell, one of four seniors on UGA’s roster. “This is our (seniors) last year together and our last season together, and we know what we want, and we’re going to go get it.”
Georgia has not won the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament since 2001.
“Everyone is really excited, (but) here isn’t a lot of jumping up and down and cheering,” Caldwell said. “We know we still have unfinished business. We’re not done yet.”
UGA has won the SEC tournament championship four times (1983, 1984, 1986 and 2001).
SEC Network screenshot