UGA dropped its second conference game in row Thursday after a 54-48 loss to Missouri in Stegeman Coliseum. Tiaria Griffin led the Bulldogs with 14 points as Shacobia Barbee chipped in a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds.
Georgia (12-3, 0-2 SEC) overcame a 10-point deficit in the third quarter, but the Tigers (14-1, 1-1 SEC) outscored the Bulldogs 16-8 in the fourth, killing their comeback efforts.
“We dug ourselves a hole early in the game,” head coach Joni Taylor said. “We got down really early in the first quarter. We took some shots, and we weren’t in the flow of our offense.”
Here are five observations from the game:
1. Failed comeback
Trailing by 10 points heading into halftime, the Bulldogs began the second half on a 5-0 run, bringing them back within five. A pair of free throws by senior guard Marjorie Butler put the Bulldogs on top by one, giving them their first lead with just over two minutes left to go in the third. UGA outscored the Tigers 19-7 in the quarter.
Missouri regained momentum in the fourth, scoring 10 straight points to earn back the lead. A 3-pointer by Griffin brought the Bulldogs back within two points with 22 seconds left, but two Missouri free throws after a technical foul on Barbee put the game out of reach.
“We have to understand what’s working for us,” Taylor said. “Third quarter, we got the lead because we were able to drive and penetrate, and they put their hands on us so we got to the free throw line.”
2. Cold offense
Georgia had another poor shooting night against Missouri. The Bulldogs were outscored 15-6 in the first quarter and shot 16.7 percent, making only two of their 11 field goals. Georgia went into halftime shooting 6-for-23 (26.1 percent) versus Missouri’s 11-for-19 (57.9 percent).
Despite their comeback efforts in the third, the Bulldogs went cold in the fourth quarter, making only three field goals.
“We’ve got to trust our offense,” Taylor said. “They all want to make plays, and they’re all trying to put it on their shoulders, but that’s not what got us 12-1. We’ve been unselfish and passed and moved the ball, and that’s what we’ve got to continue to do.”
3. Too many missed free throws
The Bulldogs also had several missed opportunities at the free throw line in Thursday’s loss. Georgia went 16-for-23 from the line in the game, with five of those misses coming in the second half.
The Tigers were sent to the line 26 times, and their eight made free throws in the fourth quarter helped them seal the victory.
4. Engram hits slump
Mackenzie Engram, who lost her starting spot for the game to redshirt junior Pachis Roberts, disappeared on offense for the second straight game. After going 1-for-6 against Texas A&M, the promising sophomore went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s game.
Engram began the season as one of the players to watch, and the Bulldogs will need her to step up in order to come back from their SEC deficit.
5. Down in the SEC
The Bulldogs are now 0-2 in a tough SEC conference heading into their game against Kentucky. The No. 10 Wildcats (12-1, 1-1 SEC) will be coming off a win against Alabama when they enter Stegeman Coliseum on Sunday.
“There’s a lot of season left,” Taylor said. “We’re down two, and we didn’t want to dig ourselves this hole. We’ve got a great Kentucky team that’s coming in here on Sunday, but we’ve got to be ready to play and give them the same effort, if better than what we did tonight.”
The Bulldogs will host Kentucky Sunday at 2 p.m.