FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Sophomore Jennifer Mossor scored a career-high 19 points and led a balanced scoring effort in Florida’s 92-74 victory over Arkansas on Sunday afternoon at Bud Walton Arena.
The win, which was the first time since early February 2006 the Gators (13-5, 2-1 SEC) have won back-to-back regular-season Southeastern Conference games, was Florida’s first in Fayetteville since Jan. 6, 2005, when the Gators topped the Lady Razorbacks, 68-56.
“I was really pleased with this win for several different reasons,” Florida coach Amanda Butler said. “It was a win on the road in the SEC and it was a great team win. One area that we’ve really wanted to emphasize was our bench and Jenn responded to that call and had a career night. She did it in aggressive fashion and a lot of her points came from the plays she made on defense. Jenn led us in that regard. We had great overall play from a lot of different people.”
Mossor, who hit 6-of-11 shots from the field, including 3-of-4 from behind the arc and tied her career-high of five assists, took game scoring honors while helping Florida’s bench outscore Arkansas’ reserves, 39-14.
Marshae Dotson logged her eighth double-double of the season and the 14th of her career, as she recorded 15 points and 13 rebounds, hitting 6-of-10 from the floor while dishing three assists. Sha Brooks, who had a chance to play in front of
several family members, scored 17 points, nailing four three-pointers, with six rebounds, while Depree Bowden added 15 points and five boards, as Florida also outrebounded Arkansas, 46-34.
“We wanted to win the rebounding battle and we did,” Butler said. “That’s such an important stat in the SEC and it tends to be crucial in the outcome of most games. Everyone was involved in the rebounding tonight and it showed.”
Sophomore Sharielle Smith also proved herself inside, scoring eight points with six boards, as she hit all six of her free throw attempts, as the Gators nailed 16-of-19 from the charity stripe.
Florida used three primary runs during the game, but it was its final one that proved the difference. With Arkansas (16-3, 1-3 SEC) whittling Florida’s lead down to six points, 61-55, with 11:14 remaining, the Gators surged to a 16-0 run to take a commanding 77-55 lead and never looked back on the way to an important SEC road win.
Dotson started the game-deciding spree by powering back an offensive rebound. Brittaney Thomas the drove the paint for a quick bucket and dished a nice pass to Bowden, who followed with a three-pointer. Aneika Henry then hit a short jumper in the paint, before she blocked a shot that Mossor corralled and threw half the court to a sprinting Dotson, who completed the impressive hustle play.
While Florida scored 42 of its points in the paint, the Gators did tie a season-high by sinking 10 three-pointers, also tying the program record for treys in an SEC game. UF hit 10-of-21 attempts from long range, while canning 45.2 percent (33-73) overall.
“The way we shot the ball from the perimeter, especially on the road, demonstrated the confidence we have and I’m really pleased with that from a coaching standpoint,” Butler said.
Arkansas also had a balanced scoring effort, with Whitney Jones’ 16 points leading five players in double-figures, as the Lady Razorbacks hit 43.5 percent (30-69) from the field while committing 18 turnovers that the Gators converted into 27 points.
Florida’s 92 points were its most in an SEC regular-season game since a 95-93 overtime win against Tennessee in Knoxville on Feb. 26, 2006.
Florida opened the game with a quick three-pointer from Bowden before Arkansas’ Whitney Jones scored the next seven points to start the first of six first-half lead changes.
The Gators countered Jones’ run with a 7-0 spree of their own, as Dotson hit a jumper in the paint, sank a tough layup in traffic and Brooks capped the run with a trey from the left corner to give UF a 10-6 lead. After a bucket from the Ladybacks, Mossor nailed a three-pointer and extended the lead to five, 13-8, with just under 14
minutes to play in the opening half.
Arkansas scored the next six points after a three-point play and a three-pointer and regained the advantage, 14-13.
The teams traded scores and the lead over the next three minutes before Kim Critton’s offensive put-back ignited a 12-2 run and UF was back on top, 27-18, with 7:41 on the clock. Four different Gators scored during the spree, as Dotson added a dribble and drive in the paint, Brooks added four points that included a trey, Smith put back a short jumper and Critton tallied another bucket thanks to a tough second effort inside.
The home team countered with a quick 8-0 run over the next 1:25 and was within two, 27-25, with 5:45 on the clock. The teams again exchanged scores for the next five minutes, but Florida held onto the lead.
Holding a 31-28 advantage with 3:12 remaining in the half, the Gators went on a 14-6 spree to end the period, as Bowden began the run converting a nice feed in the paint from Dotson. Mossor followed with a steal and drove the length of the court for a layup before freshman Ebonie Crawford canned her first field goal in SEC action that gave UF a 37-28 lead. The teams traded scores before UF’s final two field goals were three-pointers, one from Mossor and the other from Bowden, whose closed the half with eight seconds remaining and gave the Gators a 45-34
Mossor scored 14 points and Bowden added 10 to lead UF’s first-half offensive charge, which received 22 points from its bench. Florida also held a 21-18 rebounding edge, collecting 10 on the offensive end.
The Gators return to action on Thursday when Florida plays host to No. 12 Georgia beginning at 7 p.m. in the O’Connell Center, where the Gators have won eight consecutive games. The radio broadcast of Thursday’s contest can be heard live in Gainesville on WRUF AM-850 and through http://www.GatorZone.com, the official website of the Florida Gators.