If Georgia basketball plays smart, the Lady Dogs easily advance

Georgia coach Joni Taylor speaks with guard Que Morrison (23) on Sunday in Athens.News Joshua L Jones
Georgia coach Joni Taylor speaks with guard Que Morrison (23) on Sunday in Athens.News Joshua L Jones /

Georgia basketball opens up the 2022 NCAA Tournament against Dayton on Friday as the Lady Dogs look to make a long run. This appearance is the Lady Dogs 35th in 40 NCAA Tournaments, ranking No. 2 nationally.

Dayton and Georgia have never met before, so this game will be interesting to watch. The Lady Dogs have played exceptionally well away from Stegman Coliseum this season as they are 9-4.

Georgia will need to have a solid game to keep their tournament run going because Dayton will come ready to upset the Lady Dogs.

Head coach Joni Taylor has had some time to get her girls ready for this game, as they got eliminated early on in the SEC Tournament. This year marked her seventh at Georgia since taking over for Andy Landers in 2015, and she continues to prove what a great hire she was to replace him.

Georgia basketball needs to see the Lady Dogs make smart decisions to advance in the NCAA Tournament.

The Dayton Flyers are the No. 11 seed to take on No. 6 Georgia after beating DePaul 88-57. Dayton is 26-5 overall and 14-1 in conference play on the season.

Dayton has two ladies who average double-digit points in Erin Whalen and Makira Cook.

Whalen averages 13.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and makes 38% of her shots. Cook averages 14.6 points a game and shoots 40% from the floor.

The Flyers make 40% of their shots from the floor, 34.8% from beyond the arc and 68% at the free throw line. They average 66.2 points a game and give up 54.8. One of the things that stand out on their statistics is averaging 12.5 turnovers a game, so the Lady Dogs need to force some mistakes.

Dayton has a strong defense as they rank No.6 in field goal percentage on defense and No. 10 in defensive rebounds per game. Georgia needs to make sure they are making the right shot selections, or the Flyers will make them hurt for those silly misses.

However, if Georgia plays smart, the Lady Dogs easily advance to the Sweet 16 and send Dayton home.

Jenna Staiti and Que Morrison both need to play up to their potential. They need to remind themselves and the team why they came back — to get where they are right now and make a deep tournament run.

When this duo is playing well, Georgia is usually winning. Of the 29 games, Georgia played this season, 23 times either Staiti or Morrison led the team in scoring. They are tremendous assets for the Lady Dogs, so they must play like it’s their last game, but there is a sneaky suspicion that they will.

Georgia averages 69 points a game, gives up 59, shoots 43.4% from the floor, 31% from the arc, and 73.6% from the foul line. The Lady Dogs average 8.6 steals and 6.1 blocks a game. So while Dayton has a strong defense, the Lady Dogs do as well.

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This game will come down to who can make better decisions and get the right amount of stops. However, Georgia cannot make silly mistakes like missed layups, stupid fouls and unforced turnovers. These Lady Dogs have what it takes to advance, and they just need to channel that tenacious attitude to do it.