The unbreakable, genuine love that fuels Que Morrison as Georgia's 'pulse'

The senior is the team's second-leading scorer and scored a career-high 25 points at Alabama.

Georgia head coach Joni Taylor, Georgia guard Que Morrison (23) during a game against LSU at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., on Thurs., January 28, 2021. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith — UGA Sports Communications)

Que Morrison’s emotion lit up the room — and the Zoom call — with a shining grin that might’ve been seen miles away.

The senior do-it-all guard had walked through the Coleman Coliseum tunnel a few moments prior with 25 points next to her name. Morrison prides herself on defense, and she wouldn’t care if that’s all she did. On this night, however, Morrison became the superhero. She put every teammate on her back and willed Georgia to an overtime win on Alabama’s home floor.

Morrison made plays that felt unthinkable to the observer’s eye. She hit 3-pointers, orchestrated nifty cuts to the basket and played that Feb. 4 contest as if it were her final time on the basketball court.

“I want to go hard. If I see that gap, I’m going for it,” Morrison said. “My coaches trust me to make the right read. I came up with some big shots and opportunities. Once the shot goes in, though, I gotta get that stop.”

There’s joy in Morrison’s game, but a hard-nosed approach that makes it suffocating for an opponent.

“We always talk about how we can’t win with one single player. The one person I’m not sure we can win a game without is Que Morrison,” head coach Joni Taylor said. “She does so much on both ends of the floor. She puts so much pressure on you.”

Morrison had a similar tear a few weeks prior on Jan. 21 in a loss at South Carolina. Georgia trailed the Gamecocks, who are atop the SEC’s throne, by 27 points in the second half. Morrison, after suffering a minor injury, wanted to return and went on a roar to put Georgia back into contention.

Eleven of her 15 points came in the final period. Morrison carried an unmatched energy and suffocated South Carolina while proving to be the best player on the floor over that 10-minute span.

“She is, I think, the heart and soul of that team,” South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said.

The smile that has been seen on endless occasions over four years is Que Morrison. She has shown herself to be Georgia’s burst of light. Not only by her on-court energy, but by the senior’s ability to flip a mood in a matter of seconds.

Her old roommate, fellow senior guard Gabby Connally, stayed in her room frequently. She’s a homebody who likes to keep to herself when not working on her basketball craft. Those moments wouldn’t be as often if it were up to Morrison.

She liked to bust in. Probably with that smile. The boisterous, elated laugh surely followed. Morrison got Connally to do activities that she never saw herself participating in.

A chance to get in the dance moves is one of Morrison’s favorites.

“She somehow got me to do it,” Connally said. “Que hyped me up.”

The down moments feel like a rarity for Morrison. She is a player who navigated her way through three major injuries — a torn meniscus, a foot fracture and a torn labrum. Her mother, Tonja Morrison, said Georgia’s spark plug wanted to get back in the gym so quickly after shoulder surgery to the point where she took all left-handed shots in the Stegeman Coliseum Practice Facility while thee Lady Bulldogs were traveling for a road game.

Those instances, however, show the value of Morrison. They show why the former highly-touted recruit from McEachern came to Georgia. And the response to the down days shows why Morrison has the drive to be a 11.1 point-per-game scorer while snagging over five rebounds per night.

There might be a day where Morrison shows up late to practice. Her mood could seem off. Taylor has built a sturdy bond with the senior who headlined the sixth-year head coach’s second recruiting class in 2017. Needless to say, Taylor knows Morrison well and has a sixth sense in realizing when something feels right.

Nine times out of 10, Morrison said, her coach is right.

“It’s not only basketball,” Morrison said. “She’s always a phone call away for anything in life. You always want to go hard for a coach like that.”

Taylor’s rapid responses are one of many examples of why Morrison has an adoration for her coach. Morrison has potential to be a WNBA prospect once the season ends in March, and her passion to play as a Lady Bulldog might be a key reason why.

Tonja highlighted her daughter’s dedication for the program when recalling a moment this past summer. Que called and was a bit upset after a rough day. She had a split second where she said, according to Tonja, “I think I’m going to quit.” Her mom responded “OK, what will you do?”

There was no answer. Morrison knew she couldn’t find a more-suitable outlet in life than to play for Georgia, and especially Taylor.

At some point prior to the game against Arkansas on Jan. 25, Morrison sat down for an interview with the SEC Network. On a whim, they asked Morrison about Taylor.

She smiled and began her response. As the thought continued, Morrison began to choke up. Her voice briefly broke. She teared up and nearly cried.

“Words can’t even explain how Joni has impacted my life,” Morrison said in the interview shared during the Jan. 25 broadcast. “She trusts me. The least I can do for her is go and play my heart out.

“I love that lady so much. I love her.”

Each time Morrison wears the No. 23 uniform, it’s not an SEC game. It’s a game of pickup basketball that holds so much weight for the senior. She celebrates a big play as if it were a major victory while laughing and clapping her way into the team huddle.

She gives each of her teammates the jolt of proverbial juice to find joy on Georgia’s quest to a postseason return.

“She gives us everything,” junior forward Malury Bates said. “We all try to take a piece (of her character) with us.”

Morrison has given her all to Georgia since her freshman year. Now healthy, she’s performing at a better level than at any point in her career. A love for her coach, though, is what makes Morrison’s effort possible.

Taylor knew years ago that Georgia had to have Morrison on its side in order to have success. Morrison’s influence has neared its peak.

And Georgia wouldn’t be among the nation’s top teams without its superhero.

“She’s the heartbeat. She’s the pulse,” Taylor said. “She’s the culture.”