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Florida Gators women’s
basketball defeats Georgia

Written by Andrew Spivey, February 13, 2015, 0 Comments,
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ATHENS, Ga. - Florida scored 13 consecutive points during the final four minutes and overcame a 14-point, second-half deficit to earn a 51-48 win against No. 24 Georgia for the Gator's first win in Athens since 2004.

Trailing 45-39 with 4:18 to go, Ronni Williams hit an outside jumper and the Gator defense forced a shot clock violation to regain possession.

Cassie Peoples, who scored all of her team-high 11 points in the second half, drilled a three-pointer before January Miller banked in a deep jumper and brought the Gators within two points, 45-43, with 1:56 remaining.

On the other end, Carlie Needles, who finished with 10 points, corralled a missed Georgia shot and Florida was on the attack again, as Peoples calmly stuck again from deep, this one with 75 seconds left that gave the Gators their first lead since the opening bucket of the game.

The Gator defense came up huge again by forcing the 27th of 28 Bulldogs turnovers. Peoples tried another three, missed and Williams skied for the offensive board as she was fouled and sent to the free throw line for a one-and-one attempt. The Gator sophomore made the first and gave Florida a 47-45 lead with 22 seconds on the clock.

Needles then came up with a huge steal, her second of the game and Florida's 11th of the contest. She was fouled immediately and the Gator junior continued to be clutch at the free throw line where she made both ends of the one-and-one that gave Florida a 49-45 lead with 11 ticks on the clock.

Florida would need that extra point, as Georgia's Erika Ford, who finished with a game-high 14 points, nailed a three-pointer that brought the Lady Bulldogs within one, 49-48, with two seconds remaining.

The Gator's inbounded the ball to Needles, who was fouled and made two more from the stripe to finish the game's scoring and secure the victory.

Needles capped a tough first half with a three-pointer that brought the Gator's deficit to eight, 27-19, entering the locker room.

Florida managed to hit just 25.9 percent (7-27) of its shots during the first 20 minutes and fell behind by as many as 12 points with just under five minutes left in the period.

Peoples began the second half scoring with a three-pointer, before Georgia ripped off an 11-2 run and took a 38-24 lead with 15:09 remaining.

Freshman Brooke Copeland halted the spurt with back-to-back three-pointers, the second coming with 13:09 to go that cut the deficit to single digits.

Neither team could find the bottom of the net for the next minute and a half until Miller, who scored 10 points, converted a driving layup and continued Florida's 12-2 run that finished with a bucket from Peoples and an inside jumper from Carla Batchelor on an in-bounds dish from Copeland that had the Gators within four points, 40-36, with 8:55 remaining.

Georgia scored next as the shot clock expired and Florida missed on its try, as Pachis Roberts hit a three-pointer with 4:18 to go that gave the hosts a 45-36 lead and set the stage for the Gator's comeback rally.

Updated Records: Florida 12-12, 4-7 SEC ... #24/rv Georgia 17-8, 5-7 SEC

Quotes from the Court - UF Head Coach Amanda Butler
On how the Gators were able to rally from a late nine-point deficit:
"There were timeouts and moments when it would have been real easy for us to believe that it wasn't possible. The thing I love most after wins like this is that the plays for us came from everywhere. Cassie made big plays. Brooke made big plays. Ronni and Kayla getting big rebounds. Across the board it was a fantastic team effort and an awesome display of heart."

"We played with a tremendous amount to composure which isn't easy to do when you're on the road and certainly when you're in these type of game situations. We had totally confident shooters and they knocked them down for their team."

"We wanted to play better defense in the second half. Better, fundamental defense. We did a really good job of communicating in the second half and that was really lacking in the first half. Defensively, we did a better job in transition."

On big shots down the stretch:
"It's practice. I've talked all year long about how good this team is in practice and some of these specific game situations we've been working on. It gives you a tremendous amount of confidence. You don't have to wonder what to do and how to do. You've already achieved a desired outcome in preparation. I'm really, really proud that they were able to transfer that success from the practice court into the game."

On winning in Athens for the first time since 2004:
"I'm just really, really happy for our players, especially Kayla (Lewis). It's very fitting. You don't always get what you deserve. You can work really, really hard sometimes and still fall short in this league. To be able to honor her as our Gator peach in the this building is absolutely what she deserves and I'm proud we could do that for her."

See you Later:

*         Florida and Georgia will face each other again on March 1 in Gainesville in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Florida vs. Georgia: The (Updated) Series at a Glance

*         65-Game Series: UGa leads 50-15

*         UF Home: 10-21; Away: 5-27; Neutral: 0-2

*         The series against Georgia is the second-longest for Florida in program history, trailing only the 71 games played against instate rival Florida State.

*         Before tonight's Gator victory, UG had won the last four meetings vs. UF, including 8 of the last 12 and 17 of the last 21

*         The Gators now have five wins in the 32 games played against the Bulldogs in Athens.

*         The most recent Gator win in Athens was back on January 18, 2004, when UF claimed the 83-73 victory to sweep the two regular-season meetings, before the Bulldogs struck back with a four-point win in the SEC Tournament quarterfinal matchup.

*         11 of the last 12 games in the series have been decided by 9 points or less

*         Amanda Butler tied Carol Ross for the most wins by a Gator coach against Georgia (Ross earned 5 wins in 12 years vs. Georgia)

Gripping Gators

*         11 of UF's 24 games this year have been decided by 10 points or less.

*         The Gators are 4-7 in those games this year.

Local Flavor

*         Redshirt senior Kayla Lewis is a native of the Peach State.

*         Lewis hails from Decatur, located 65 miles from Athens - about a 1:13 drive.

*         Lewis graduated from Southwest DeKalb (Ga.) High School in 2010

*         2010 Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year

*         Named 2010 Miss Georgia Basketball, as announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club

SWAT!

*         The Gators blocked a season-high eight shots (was 7 at Savannah State, Dec. 4)

*         It's the most blocks for the Gators since swatting 10 against Ole Miss on Jan. 24, 2013.

*         Ronni Williams, Kayla Lewis, Brooke Copeland and Haley Lorenzen each blocked two shots during the game.

Streaks & Stuff:

*         Carlie Needles' three-pointer with 18:16 remaining in the first half extended UF's streak to 154 consecutive games with a three-pointer

*         Cassie Peoples scored in her team-leading 34th consecutive game

BackCourt:

*         The Gator defense forced a 10-second backcourt violation, the first one by an opponent in an SEC game this season.

First Half Rehash:

*         Georgia had two different 8-0 runs that helped the Lady Bulldogs take leads of 13-5 and 24-12.

*         The Gators had consecutive scores just twice during the first half.

*         With two seconds remaining, Carlie Needles drained her second three-pointer of the half and the Gators entered the locker room down eight points, 27-19

*         UF's lone senior Kayla Lewis - a native of Decatur, Ga. - scored the first points of the game

First Half Rehash: By the Numbers

*         Halftime Score: Georgia 27, Florida 19

*         Five different Gators scored

*         January Miller and Carlie Needles both scored six points to lead the Gators

*         Kayla Lewis collected rive rebounds

*         Brooke Copeland swatted to shots

*         Florida shot just 25.9 percent (7-27) of its shots, its second-lowest mark during the first half this year

*         Georgia hit 38.5 percent (10-26) from the floor

*         The 19 points first-half points were the second-fewest by the Gators this year

Tough Stretch:

*         Thursday's game is the second in a three-game span for the Gators against a nationally-ranked opponent.

*         UF is coming off a 64-56 setback to No. 6 Tennessee and next plays No. 13 Mississippi State Sunday afternoon in Starkville.

On the Road Again:

*         Tonight's game against the Lady Bulldogs is the first of a two-game road trip, as well as the first game in a five-game spell that features four road contests for the Gators.

Start Me Up:

*         Gator Starters: Ronni Williams, Carlie Needles, Cassie Peoples, Kayla Lewis and Brooke Copeland

*         Second consecutive game with this starting five

*         Lewis with her 85th career start

*         Needles with her 55th career start

*         Second half starters: Peoples, Lewis, Haley Lorenzen, Needles, January Miller

Scores of other SEC Games on Thursday:

*         #10 KENTUCKY d. #13 Mississippi State, 92-90 (OT)

*         #1 SOUTH CAROLINA d. LSU 86, 62

*         #6 Tennessee d. OLE MISS, 69-49

*         Missouri vs. ALABAMA, - later start

*         #15 TEXAS A&M vs. Arkansas, later start

Next Gator Game:

*         Who: Gators (12-12, 4-7 SEC) at No. 13/15 Mississippi State (23-4, 8-4 SEC)

*         When: Sunday, February 15 * 4 p.m. ET

*         Where: Starkville, Mississippi * Humphrey Coliseum

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Special to GC

ATHENS, Ga. - Florida scored 13 consecutive points during the final four minutes and overcame a 14-point, second-half deficit to earn a 51-48 win against No. 24 Georgia for the Gator's first win in Athens since 2004.

Trailing 45-39 with 4:18 to go, Ronni Williams hit an outside jumper and the Gator defense forced a shot clock violation to regain possession.

Cassie Peoples, who scored all of her team-high 11 points in the second half, drilled a three-pointer before January Miller banked in a deep jumper and brought the Gators within two points, 45-43, with 1:56 remaining.

On the other end, Carlie Needles, who finished with 10 points, corralled a missed Georgia shot and Florida was on the attack again, as Peoples calmly stuck again from deep, this one with 75 seconds left that gave the Gators their first lead since the opening bucket of the game.

The Gator defense came up huge again by forcing the 27th of 28 Bulldogs turnovers. Peoples tried another three, missed and Williams skied for the offensive board as she was fouled and sent to the free throw line for a one-and-one attempt. The Gator sophomore made the first and gave Florida a 47-45 lead with 22 seconds on the clock.

Needles then came up with a huge steal, her second of the game and Florida's 11th of the contest. She was fouled immediately and the Gator junior continued to be clutch at the free throw line where she made both ends of the one-and-one that gave Florida a 49-45 lead with 11 ticks on the clock.

Florida would need that extra point, as Georgia's Erika Ford, who finished with a game-high 14 points, nailed a three-pointer that brought the Lady Bulldogs within one, 49-48, with two seconds remaining.

The Gator's inbounded the ball to Needles, who was fouled and made two more from the stripe to finish the game's scoring and secure the victory.

Needles capped a tough first half with a three-pointer that brought the Gator's deficit to eight, 27-19, entering the locker room.

Florida managed to hit just 25.9 percent (7-27) of its shots during the first 20 minutes and fell behind by as many as 12 points with just under five minutes left in the period.

Peoples began the second half scoring with a three-pointer, before Georgia ripped off an 11-2 run and took a 38-24 lead with 15:09 remaining.

Freshman Brooke Copeland halted the spurt with back-to-back three-pointers, the second coming with 13:09 to go that cut the deficit to single digits.

Neither team could find the bottom of the net for the next minute and a half until Miller, who scored 10 points, converted a driving layup and continued Florida's 12-2 run that finished with a bucket from Peoples and an inside jumper from Carla Batchelor on an in-bounds dish from Copeland that had the Gators within four points, 40-36, with 8:55 remaining.

Georgia scored next as the shot clock expired and Florida missed on its try, as Pachis Roberts hit a three-pointer with 4:18 to go that gave the hosts a 45-36 lead and set the stage for the Gator's comeback rally.

Updated Records: Florida 12-12, 4-7 SEC ... #24/rv Georgia 17-8, 5-7 SEC

Quotes from the Court - UF Head Coach Amanda Butler
On how the Gators were able to rally from a late nine-point deficit:
"There were timeouts and moments when it would have been real easy for us to believe that it wasn't possible. The thing I love most after wins like this is that the plays for us came from everywhere. Cassie made big plays. Brooke made big plays. Ronni and Kayla getting big rebounds. Across the board it was a fantastic team effort and an awesome display of heart."

"We played with a tremendous amount to composure which isn't easy to do when you're on the road and certainly when you're in these type of game situations. We had totally confident shooters and they knocked them down for their team."

"We wanted to play better defense in the second half. Better, fundamental defense. We did a really good job of communicating in the second half and that was really lacking in the first half. Defensively, we did a better job in transition."

On big shots down the stretch:
"It's practice. I've talked all year long about how good this team is in practice and some of these specific game situations we've been working on. It gives you a tremendous amount of confidence. You don't have to wonder what to do and how to do. You've already achieved a desired outcome in preparation. I'm really, really proud that they were able to transfer that success from the practice court into the game."

On winning in Athens for the first time since 2004:
"I'm just really, really happy for our players, especially Kayla (Lewis). It's very fitting. You don't always get what you deserve. You can work really, really hard sometimes and still fall short in this league. To be able to honor her as our Gator peach in the this building is absolutely what she deserves and I'm proud we could do that for her."

See you Later:

*         Florida and Georgia will face each other again on March 1 in Gainesville in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Florida vs. Georgia: The (Updated) Series at a Glance

*         65-Game Series: UGa leads 50-15

*         UF Home: 10-21; Away: 5-27; Neutral: 0-2

*         The series against Georgia is the second-longest for Florida in program history, trailing only the 71 games played against instate rival Florida State.

*         Before tonight's Gator victory, UG had won the last four meetings vs. UF, including 8 of the last 12 and 17 of the last 21

*         The Gators now have five wins in the 32 games played against the Bulldogs in Athens.

*         The most recent Gator win in Athens was back on January 18, 2004, when UF claimed the 83-73 victory to sweep the two regular-season meetings, before the Bulldogs struck back with a four-point win in the SEC Tournament quarterfinal matchup.

*         11 of the last 12 games in the series have been decided by 9 points or less

*         Amanda Butler tied Carol Ross for the most wins by a Gator coach against Georgia (Ross earned 5 wins in 12 years vs. Georgia)

Gripping Gators

*         11 of UF's 24 games this year have been decided by 10 points or less.

*         The Gators are 4-7 in those games this year.

Local Flavor

*         Redshirt senior Kayla Lewis is a native of the Peach State.

*         Lewis hails from Decatur, located 65 miles from Athens - about a 1:13 drive.

*         Lewis graduated from Southwest DeKalb (Ga.) High School in 2010

*         2010 Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year

*         Named 2010 Miss Georgia Basketball, as announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club

SWAT!

*         The Gators blocked a season-high eight shots (was 7 at Savannah State, Dec. 4)

*         It's the most blocks for the Gators since swatting 10 against Ole Miss on Jan. 24, 2013.

*         Ronni Williams, Kayla Lewis, Brooke Copeland and Haley Lorenzen each blocked two shots during the game.

Streaks & Stuff:

*         Carlie Needles' three-pointer with 18:16 remaining in the first half extended UF's streak to 154 consecutive games with a three-pointer

*         Cassie Peoples scored in her team-leading 34th consecutive game

BackCourt:

*         The Gator defense forced a 10-second backcourt violation, the first one by an opponent in an SEC game this season.

First Half Rehash:

*         Georgia had two different 8-0 runs that helped the Lady Bulldogs take leads of 13-5 and 24-12.

*         The Gators had consecutive scores just twice during the first half.

*         With two seconds remaining, Carlie Needles drained her second three-pointer of the half and the Gators entered the locker room down eight points, 27-19

*         UF's lone senior Kayla Lewis - a native of Decatur, Ga. - scored the first points of the game

First Half Rehash: By the Numbers

*         Halftime Score: Georgia 27, Florida 19

*         Five different Gators scored

*         January Miller and Carlie Needles both scored six points to lead the Gators

*         Kayla Lewis collected rive rebounds

*         Brooke Copeland swatted to shots

*         Florida shot just 25.9 percent (7-27) of its shots, its second-lowest mark during the first half this year

*         Georgia hit 38.5 percent (10-26) from the floor

*         The 19 points first-half points were the second-fewest by the Gators this year

Tough Stretch:

*         Thursday's game is the second in a three-game span for the Gators against a nationally-ranked opponent.

*         UF is coming off a 64-56 setback to No. 6 Tennessee and next plays No. 13 Mississippi State Sunday afternoon in Starkville.

On the Road Again:

*         Tonight's game against the Lady Bulldogs is the first of a two-game road trip, as well as the first game in a five-game spell that features four road contests for the Gators.

Start Me Up:

*         Gator Starters: Ronni Williams, Carlie Needles, Cassie Peoples, Kayla Lewis and Brooke Copeland

*         Second consecutive game with this starting five

*         Lewis with her 85th career start

*         Needles with her 55th career start

*         Second half starters: Peoples, Lewis, Haley Lorenzen, Needles, January Miller

Scores of other SEC Games on Thursday:

*         #10 KENTUCKY d. #13 Mississippi State, 92-90 (OT)

*         #1 SOUTH CAROLINA d. LSU 86, 62

*         #6 Tennessee d. OLE MISS, 69-49

*         Missouri vs. ALABAMA, - later start

*         #15 TEXAS A&M vs. Arkansas, later start

Next Gator Game:

*         Who: Gators (12-12, 4-7 SEC) at No. 13/15 Mississippi State (23-4, 8-4 SEC)

*         When: Sunday, February 15 * 4 p.m. ET

*         Where: Starkville, Mississippi * Humphrey Coliseum

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