Butler’s Gators win 10th straight

Senior guard Sha Brooks led a balanced attack with 12 points in just 19 minutes of action and Florida’s bench outscored Florida A&M 35-12 as the No. 23-ranked Gators won their 10th straight game of the season Friday night with a 77-55 victory over the Rattlers at the O’Connell Center. The victory improved Florida’s record to 10-1 for the fifth time in the program’s history.

The 22-point victory over FAMU (4-3) marked the first time in school history that Florida has won its first five home games by a margin of 20 points or more. Florida shot a season-high 60 percent in the first half, hitting 18 of 30 shots, including 5 of 9 from beyond the 3-point line, in taking a 46-23 halftime lead. Coach Amanda Butler rested her regulars through much of the second half, using a 10-2 run midway through the half to put the Rattlers away.

The Gators also hit 18 of 25 free throws and made just 14 turnovers, a season low. Florida finished shooting 49 percent from the field, while Florida A&M finished at 31 percent.The 10-game winning streak is the longest since an 11-game winning streak during the 2005-06 season.

Junior forward Sharielle Smith added 11 points and seven rebounds. Junior Steffi Sorensen also had seven rebounds.

“They (the Rattlers) put up a fight, especially in the second half,” Butler said. “I thought we played well in the first half. We did all the things that were necessary to set the tone for the rest of the game. Going back to our last game (against Bethune-Cookman), we didn’t show a lot of heart in the second half. We knew coming in they were a great shooting team—they are a great basketball team period.”

The Florida bench was led by junior Lonnika Thompson, who scored nine points and had a pair of steals. Redshirt freshman Ndidi Madu followed with eight points, while senior guard Kim Critton and freshman Azania Stewart each had six points. Stephanie Foster scored 21 points and Deidra Jones had 15 for the Rattlers, who outrebounded Florida 40-39.

Senior Marshae Dotson eclipsed eclipsed the 1,200-point plateau with nine points.

Florida is idle because of final exams and returns to action Dec. 21 in the O’Connell Center against No. 16 Pittsburgh at 2 p.m.