UGA fell to Vanderbilt 54-49 in overtime Thursday in the SEC Tournament in Jacksonville. Freshman Caliya Robinson led the Bulldogs with a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds, followed by Merritt Hempe and Pachis Roberts, who had seven points each.
Georgia (21-9, 9-8 SEC) led 46-43 with 15 seconds left in regulation, but a foul on a 3-point shot by Robinson sent the Commodores (18-13, 6-11 SEC) to the line, who tied the game 46-46 and sent the game into overtime.
Georgia scored the first basket of overtime, but back-to-back buckets by the Commodores gave them a 50-48 lead with 1:43 left to go. A Halle Washington free throw brought Georgia back within one, but the Bulldogs could not get back over the hump, missing several chances in the final seconds to win the game.
Here are five observations from the game:
1. Scoring struggles
Both teams struggled to score for most of the game, taking turns going on scoring droughts in the first half. After going down 18-8 in the first quarter, Georgia outscored Vanderbilt 12-2 in the second quarter, but only tied the game at 20 points each.
Georgia shot 9-for-31 in the first half for 29 percent, while Vanderbilt shot 9-for 24 for 38 percent.
2. Exchanging free throws
Free throws made the difference in Thursday’s contest. While they helped the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter, they hurt them in overtime. Georgia made eight free throws in the fourth quarter, including two by senior guard Marjorie Butler that put the Bulldogs on top 46-43 with 15 seconds left.
Three free throws by Vanderbilt sent the game into overtime, then Georgia went 1-for-4 from the line in overtime, hurting its chances to take back the lead.
3. Lack of bodies
Georgia being down some key players proved to be a huge disadvantage in the second-round matchup against the Commodores. The Bulldogs were without leading scorer Shacobia Barbee for the third straight game and had to play without Robinson and senior Tiaria Griffin in overtime.
4. No threes
The Bulldogs failed to hit a single 3-pointer in Thursday’s game, going 0-for-12 from beyond the arc. Georgia did, however, manage to score 34 of its 49 points from inside the paint. Vanderbilt went 3-for-10 from three and scored 22 points in the paint.
5. End of a streak
Thursday’s loss marks the first time in 17 years that the Bulldogs have not advanced to the quarterfinals in the SEC tournament. The last time Georgia lost in the second round of the tournament was in 1999.
The Bulldogs will now wait to find out their NCAA tournament seeding on Selection Sunday on March 13.