In Georgia’s 77-57 victory over Mercer, the bench made all the difference for the Bulldogs, with the win improving them to 3-1 overall.
Georgia’s bench outscored Mercer’s 52 to 15, led by fifth-year Javyn Nicholson and senior Zoesha Smith. Nicholson and Smith each had career days, with Nicholson recording the fourth career 20-point game of her career, and Smith marking a new season-high of 18 points.
Though it can be attributed in part to the growing pains of a new season, the Bulldogs are still looking to find their shot behind the arc. In the meantime, they’ve relied on their ability to dominate opponents under the basket, which the Bears had no answer for.
Georgia outscored Mercer in the paint by 30 points, with 44 to Mercer’s 14. The Bears trailed by nine at halftime, as Nicholson came alive for eight points in the third quarter, flexing both her hook shot and jumper to widen Georgia’s gap.
Mercer attempted to hold on with the efforts of guards Deja Williams and Briana Peguero. The two combined for 25 points and seven of the Bears’ eight total 3-pointers. Trailing 26-21 in the second quarter, Williams led an 8-2 run featuring back-to-back 3-pointers to bring Georgia’s lead to single digits going into halftime.
Although Georgia only outrebounded Mercer by two, fifth-year Destiny Thomas earned a new season-high of 11 rebounds, the 32nd double-digit rebound game of her career. The UCF transfer also recorded six points and two assists.
In combination with bench and paint performance, Georgia also hurt the Bears with points off of turnovers. The Bulldogs forced 20 Mercer turnovers, which they converted into 32 points. Guards De’Mauri Flournoy and Chloe Chapman lead the Bulldogs in steals, with five and three respectively.
Next, the Bulldogs will extend their road trip to Nassau, Bahamas, for the Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championship. Georgia will take on Columbia on Nov. 20 and Purdue on Nov. 22.