ATHENS, Ga. - A dominant third quarter boosted the University of Georgia women's basketball team past North Carolina A&T, 71-59, on Monday evening to kick off the 2023-24 season in Stegeman Coliseum before 2,116 spectators.
North Carolina A&T (0-1) opened scoring with a fastbreak layup before Avinger ripped five points to give the Lady Bulldogs a 5-4 lead. The Aggies used a pair of free throws with 16 seconds remaining in the first quarter to take a one-point, 15-14, lead heading into the second frame.
A triple from Avinger and a pair of free throws from Flournoy gave Georgia (1-0) a 19-18 lead in the second quarter. An eight-point scoring run from the Aggies gave NC A&T a 28-21 lead with under two minutes in the half. Both teams traded points to close the half as the Aggies took a 33-25 lead into the locker room.
Seven consecutive points from Flournoy cut the Aggies' lead to three to start the third quarter. A 6-1 scoring run from the Lady Bulldogs gave Georgia a slim 39-38 lead, punctuated by Avinger's fourth triple of the evening. The Lady Bulldogs then sparked a 12-1 scoring streak to build a 48-39 moving into the final period.
Trading points to start the final quarter, the Lady Bulldogs held onto the lead throughout the fourth. A 7-1 run from Georgia with two minutes remaining in the game gave the Lady Bulldogs their first win of the season, 71-59.
"One of our themes is always, 'not in our house,'" head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said. "This is our house, and you don't just let people come in your house and take all your jewelry or your money. You have to protect your house. I don't even know how many years I've been coaching, but I do know that if you can take care of your home court then you can have home court advantage all the time. That's pretty much half of your games.
"We really try to concentrate on that all the time and just make sure that this was a really good home opener, even though they're good team. They may win their conference this year. That's how good they are. (Tarrell Robinson) is doing a really good job with them, and he's got a seasoned team back this year as well. That was a good home opener for us because we knew they're going to be intense and play super hard."
- Coach ABE's career win total moved to 395, just five short of 400. She is looking to become the fourth active coach in the SEC to reach that milestone.
- This win marks the 18th-straight season opening win for the Lady Bulldogs.
- Asia Avinger tallied 15 points to mark the 37th double figure scoring game of her career with 11 coming in the first half.
- The Lady Bulldogs' defense held NC A&T to 0-of-12 from 3-point range to open the game. The Aggies shot just 18.8% from 3 in the first half.
- Four Lady Bulldogs scored in double figure, the third straight game with three or more players scoring in double figures.
- NC A&T had 15 turnovers, marking the 35th straight game Georgia has forced double figure turnovers under Coach ABE.
- Avinger and De'Mauri Flournoy notched 15 points apiece to lead the Georgia scoring effort .
- The Lady Bulldogs outscored NC A&T 23-6 in the third quarter, holding the Aggies to 1-of-10 from the field