Gators earn first road win at La Salle
Senior Jennifer George (Fresno, Calif.) totaled 19 points and 11 rebounds and Florida captured the 74-50 victory against La Salle at Tom Gola Arena for its first road win of the season. George’s double-double was her third straight, as the Preseason Naismith Candidate, has totaled 22 in her career, converted 9-of-12 shots from the floor.
Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.) tallied 13 points with five assists for her sixth double-figure scoring game this year, while redshirt-freshman Carlie Needles (Highlands Ranch, Col.) added 12 points, all off of a 4-of-7 three-point effort, along with four assists and two steals.
Freshman Sydney Moss (Union, Ky.) traded a handful of short-range shots for assists, as she finished with a game-high six to accompany her seven rebounds and helped Florida to the 41-36 edge on the boards.
“I thought there were moments when we had some great individual performances, but there were also moments where we struggled with consistency and our toughness,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “When we had some folks who got determined and made up their minds they stepped up and made some tough plays.
“Lily Svete was one of those players,” Butler shared. “She came through in a couple of moments that were really important to us. January Miller was another player who played tough and hard. Jaterra, especially in the first half, really propelled us to that lead we took into the locker room.”
Svete, a redshirt junior from Granger, Ind., finished the game with seven points and three rebounds, while Miller, a freshman from Orlando, added six points, two rebounds and two assists.
Florida scored the final 10 points of the first half, but it was La Salle that came out firing in the second, netting the first 12 points and cutting the Gator’s 19-point lead to seven, 35-28, with 15:35 remaining.
Kayla Lewis (Decatur, Ga.) came out of a Florida timeout and immediately nailed a deep field goal to halt the spree and added two free throws that gave Florida a 39-28 lead.
The Gators played solid defense on the next possession, but La Salle’s Chanel Harrison tossed up a three-pointer as the shot clock horn sounded and the hosts were back in business, as they followed with a pair of three throws and cut Florida’s lead to six points, 39-33, with 12:31 to play.
Florida then turned to its inside game, where Vicky McIntyre (Omaha, Neb.) connected on a pair of field goals that ignited a 13-0 run and Florida again assumed a 19-point advantage, 52-33, with 8:19 remaining. Bonds converted a pair of layups during the march, the first one coming off a Moss steal and behind-the-back dish, and second her sixth three-point play of the season, while George provided the final two field goals.
The teams traded scores for the rest of the contest and Florida (8-3) notched its first three-game win streak of the season.
George converted her first nine shots from the floor during the game and helped Florida hit 48.4 percent (30-62) overall from the floor.
“Jennifer’s teammates did a job of getting her the ball and she did a great job of positioning where she was and demanding the ball,” Butler praised. “She took a lot of contact but is strong enough to finish.”
The Gators sank 7-of-16 from the three-point arc, the third time the team hit at least seven from long range this year. Needles led the way with four from deep, while Bonds hit both of her long attempts and Svete canned one from the top of the arc during a key moment in the second half.
“Carlie knocked down a couple in the second half and it became contagious,” Butler said. “You see your teammate hit and it makes you more confident. That’s what we did. We also took smart shots for most of the game.”
Harrison led La Salle (1-9) with 15 points, while Brittany Wilson added 14 points for the Explorers, who hit just 28.8 percent from the floor overall during the game, but it was an improvement from the first 20 minutes.
The Gator defense stepped up in the first half when La Salle converted just 18.5 percent (5-27) of its attempts and Florida held a 22-16 rebounding advantage while shooting 50 percent (14-28) overall from the floor.
Ebonee Jones hit a three-pointer that brought the Explorers within nine points, 23-14, with 6:11 remaining in the half, but that was La Salle’s final field goal of the period as it managed just two points from the free throw line for the remainder of the period.
Florida capped the half by scoring the final 10 points, with Vicky McIntyre converting an inside feed from Moss, George sinking her seventh field goal of the half for a team-leading 14 points and Bonds drilling a pair of three-pointers, including the final one at the buzzer for the 19-point halftime cushion.
Florida continues action on Thur., Dec. 20, when the team plays host to the 23rd Annual Gator Holiday Classic. Florida plays Savannah State at 7 p.m., following the opening game between Central Michigan and St. Joseph’s that tips-off at 4:30 p.m.
Action on day two of Florida’s home tournament begins on Friday at 4:30 p.m., when Savannah State plays either Central Michigan or St. Joseph’s and the Gators play at 7 p.m.
Courtesy of UF Communications
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2013 Basketball Commits
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