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Sha Brooks reached double-figure scoring for the 12th straight game.

Thursday March 27, 2008W-Basketball's Season Ends with Loss to NC State in WNIT Third Round

Raleigh, NC

Sha Brooks reached double-figure scoring for the 12th straight game.

The University of Florida women’s basketball team had its season end on Thursday evening with an 80-55 loss to N.C. State in the third round of the Women’s NIT played at Kay Yow Court-Reynold’s Coliseum.


The Wolfpack used a 9-0 run late in the opening period to take a 15-point halftime lead and began the second with a devastating 28-6 spree en route to the final outcome.


N.C. State came out with the agenda to win and they played like that on every possession. We never did anything to get them off track,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “The first half was what really set the tone and got us back on our heels. We didn’t do anything to set the tone. We were reactive.”


Just over 13 minutes into the game, the Gators found themselves within three points before the Wolfpack marched off a 10-2 run and assumed an 11-point lead. Florida rallied with a 6-0 spree of its own, with four of those points coming off consecutive driving layups from Jennifer Mossor (Orlando, Fla.) that cut the deficit to five points, 20-15, with 7:30 remaining in the period.


The teams traded buckets for the next few minutes before NC State used a 9-0 run over a 2:42 span that swelled its advantage to 17 points, 36-19, with 3:15 to go in the half, as the Gators found themselves down 40-25 entering the locker room.


Sha Brooks (Jackson, Tenn.) began the second-half scoring with a pair of free throws that got Florida within 13, before the Wolfpack marched off five straight points that ignited the game-deciding 28-4 run.


Florida shot just 30.6 percent (11-36) in the first half, when the hosts hit 48.4 percent (15-31).


Brooks finished with a team-high 16 points and had three of UF’s six assists in the game, while Mossor chipped in 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting, while collecting five rebounds.


Depree Bowden (Palmetto, Fla.), the Gators’ lone senior, added 10 points and seven rebounds, ending her career with 987 points.


“Depree deserved to have her career end in a different fashion,” Butler said. “It’s a tough way to have it end because she is such a fantastic young lady. I hope she’s able to look back on all that she gave our program, especially with all the successes she was able to help this team achieve. We were able to exceed expectations on most nights, just not tonight.”


Junior Kim Critton (Memphis, Tenn.) came off the bench and provided a solid 17 minutes as a 5-foot-8 post player, tying her season-high of eight points on 3-of-6 shooting.


“Kim Critton was a bright spot because she stepped outside of her comfort zone and played hard and did whatever we needed her to do,” Butler shared. “She took some hard licks going to the basket, but we didn’t have that across the board and when you’re on someone else’s home court and playing against a team that is as talented and as well coached as NC State is, than you have to have a unified effort across the board and we didn’t have that tonight.”


NC State (20-12) received a career-high 31 points from junior Shayla Fields, who hit 6-of-9 three-pointes and 10-of-14 overall from the floor. Khadijah Whittington added 13 points with 17 rebounds, helping the Wolfpack carry a 45-39 rebounding advantage.


The Gators end their season having posted the greatest one-year turnaround in program history, winning 10 more games than last season, posting a 19-14 overall record and returning to the postseason under the guidance of their new coach.


“We are proud of the strides that we were able to make throughout the year and that’s why it’s so disappointing to end the season this way because this was not our team,” Butler said.



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