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Jordan Jones scored a game-high 20 points (photo: Matt Pendleton)

Friday December 2, 2011Women's Hoops Falls to No. 11 Rutgers at Ocean Center in Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach, Fla.

Jordan Jones scored a game-high 20 points (photo: Matt Pendleton)

Seniors Jordan Jones (Suwanee, Ga.) and Deana Allen (Houma, La.) combined for 31 points for the Orange and Blue, but a season-high 22 turnovers proved to be costly for the Gators, who had their six-game win streak snapped to No. 11/9 Rutgers, which defeated Florida, 63-49, at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach Friday.

 

Rutgers improved to an undefeated 8-0 on the season behind double-doubles from Scarlet Knights Monique Oliver and Betnijah Laney, who collaborated for 23 points and 20 rebounds in the victory.

 

“Obviously, we’re very disappointed,” Florida head coach Amanda Butler said. “You have to give Rutgers a lot of credit. We just didn’t play Florida basketball tonight – on either end of the floor. We didn’t have our edge, or our fight. You have to give Rutgers a lot of credit for their hustle, their fight and on the turn around.”

 

Jones and Allen led Florida (6-2) in scoring with 20 and 11 points, respectively, Jones’ fourth double-digit outing of the season. Junior Jennifer George (Orlando, Fla.) led the Gators in rebounding with eight boards, including seven defensive. Senior Azania Stewart (Wood Green, England) eclipsed 150 career blocks with two against Rutgers, now owning 151 wearing a Gator uniform. Allen was 7-for-8 from the free-throw line, while Jones was a perfect 5-for-5. Rutgers shot 40.7 percent from the floor, while Florida was 31.9 percent from the floor. The Gators were 75 percent from the charity stripe behind a 15-for-20 effort from the free-throw line.

 

“Florida is a good team. They did a great job on the tackling – it was a good matchup,” Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer. “I continue to appreciate my team’s effort this year, and the effort of everyone that we’ve face. Florida played extremely hard tonight, Coach Butler did a great job; they played hard with their attacks. It was a great test for us, because we needed to see how we could play on the road. We continue to do what we do, and with tonight, I thought that we played them way too tight in the half courts set.”

 

Florida took an 18-16 lead with 8:18 remaining in the first half but went cold from the floor, as Rutgers closed the period on a 8-2 run and took a 24-20 lead at the break. The Scarlet Knights continued that run into the second half, as they mounted a 20-5 run that spanned 13:06 from the last two minutes of the first half until the 14:42 mark in the second half, resulting in a 36-23, margin. The Gators were held scoreless after a Ndidi Madu (Antioch, Tenn.) jumper with 2:50 left in the first half until Allen hit a free throw at the 16:46 mark in the second period.

 

“It was a little bit of both (fast and slow tempo). We had a turnover problem today,” Butler continued. “Obviously, Rutgers is a very defensive team, but I didn’t feel like their defense was hurting us as much as we were poor decision makers at any particular moment. We didn’t do a good job of establishing ourselves in the paint. Jennifer George has had a great seven games coming into this, and we couldn’t get her going. Even though we out-rebounded them by one, we didn’t establish that today.”

 

Despite a 15-point Rutgers advantage with 11:17 remaining in the match-up following two Florida turnovers in less than a minute that allowed the Scarlet Knights to score four on layups, the Gators showed fight amid a 40-27 point differential, slowly closing the gap over the next five minutes.

 

Jones took the game into her control, scoring Florida’s next eight points off two jumpers, including an and-one free throw shot, and a three-pointer. Allen nailed two free throws before Jones swooshed her third and final three-pointer with 5:37 on the clock to bring the Gators within nine, 40-49.

 

The Gators continued the surge with a layup from sophomore Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.) that narrowed the margin, 42-49, but Rutgers scored the next six points to go up, 55-42, with 1:35 on the clock and never looked back as the teams kept it fairly even to the end. UF tallied seven points in the final minute thanks to a George layup and five free throws, while Rutgers tallied eight more points for its eighth victory of the 2011-12 season.

 

After the Gators won the opening tip-off, Rutgers’ April Sykes drained a three to put the Scarlet Knights on the board first, but Jones quickly countered with a floater, an indication of the physical back and forth battle that would ensue in the first half. Despite 12 first-half Florida turnovers, the Gators were within four at halftime, 24-20, in favor of Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights relied on four three-pointers for 12 – or half – of their first-half points, as the squad shot 44.4 percent from behind the arc.

 

Both teams shot just 32 percent from the field in the first period, led by Jones’ seven points, while Allen and Madu each chipped in four. Rutgers’ Betnijah Laney led the Scarlet Knights with seven points, while Monique Oliver grabbed seven boards. RU capitalized on four fast-break points to UF’s zero, 10 second-chance points compared to Florida’s four, scored 10 points in the paint and nine points off UF’s 12 turnovers.

 

After Sykes’ opening three, Florida scored the next seven points with Jones’ jumper, a trey from Bonds and two free throws from Jones. Rutgers’ Shakena Richardson drained one from behind the arc to bring RU back within one, 7-6. The Gators and Scarlet Knights traded baskets as Allen layed one in and Laney hit the third three of the contest for Rutgers to knot the game at nine-all with 14:06 remaining.

 

Both teams exchanges baskets for the next seven minutes, with senior Lanita Bartley (Jacksonville, Fla.) hitting a layup, while Madu and Allen both connected for jumpers before Jones drained one of UF’s two first-half three-pointers as the game was knotted for the third and final time of the half at 18-18 with 7:48 on the clock.

 

Rutgers took a 6-2 run into the locker room at halftime, thanks two three layups, while Madu hit a jumper with 2:50 on the clock for Florida’s final points of the first period. The Scarlet Knights came out swinging in the second, continuing on what would be a 20-5 run over a span of 13 minutes, six seconds that went until the 14:42 mark of the second half, resulting in a 36-23 margin following the blast.


Florida showed fight though, narrowing the contest to just a seven-point Rutgers lead with 4:44 remaining in the game after trailing by 15 mid-way through the second.

 

The Gators will look to rebound when they visit San Francisco for a mid-week tilt Dec. 7, with tip-off slated to begin at 8:30 p.m. (ET), before playing at Pacific on Dec. 9.

 

Tonight’s Notables

§   Tonight’s game marked the fifth all-time between the Scarlet Knights and Gators, with Rutgers taking a 3-2 lead in the series

§   Florida is now 4-8 against the No. 11-ranked team in the country, including 0-2 on a neutral court

§   The Gators last played a No. 11 team when the faced Georgia 1/18/04, defeating the Bulldogs, 83-73, in Athens

§   The Gators had two double-digit scorers in Jordan Jones (20) and Deana Allen (11)

§   Tonight marked the fourth time this season that Jordan Jones has scored in the double-digits; 53rd in career

§   Jordan Jones has averaged 17 points against ranked opponents this year (14 against FSU, and 20 tonight vs. Rutgers)

§   Tonight’s output marked Jones’ third 20-point game this season

§   Deana Allen’s 11 points tonight versus Rutgers tied a season-high effort;  was her third double-figure game of season and 13th of career

§   Combined, Jones and Allen accounted for 31 of UF’s 49 points (63.3 percent of UF’s scoring)

§   The 22 turnovers against Rutgers was a season-high turnovers, with 18 set as the previous season high

§   Rutgers is the second ranked opponent that Florida has faced this season. UF also faced No. 21 Florida State, walking away with a 72-58 victory.

§   Azania Stewart went over 150 career blocks after she tallied two against the Scarlet Knights, which is seventh-best all-time in the Florida record books. She now has 151 career blocks.

§   UF had six-game winning streak snapped (had been longest since 2008-09 season)

§   UF scored a season-low 49 points (previous low 63)

 

 

Tonight’s Quotes

Florida Head Coach Amanda Butler

Opening Statement

“Obviously, we’re very disappointed. You have to give Rutgers a lot of credit. We just didn’t play Florida basketball tonight – on either end of the floor. We didn’t have our edge, or our fight. You have to give Rutgers a lot of credit for their hustle, their fight and on the turn around.”

 

On a slow tempo to the game:

“It was a little bit of both. We had a turnover problem today. Obviously, Rutgers is a very defensive team, but I didn’t feel like their defense was hurting us as much as we were poor decision makers at any particular moment. We didn’t do a good job of establishing ourselves in the paint. Jennifer George has had a great seven games coming into this, and we couldn’t get her going. Even though we out-rebounded them by one, we didn’t establish that today.”

 

On facing Rutgers’ defense:

“They were very focused on the paint. One of the things going into the ball game was that we were going to have to make physical finishes, and we weren’t able to do that.”

 

Redshirt Senior Guard Jordan Jones

On the physical effort:

“We didn’t play the way we have been playing this season. Rutgers got every loose ball; they played a lot tougher than us. They brought us down to earth a little bit.”

 

On facing Rutgers:

“I think it shows us how much farther we need to go. They’re a tough team, very physical. They showed us some weaknesses that we had. We expected to win this game, there was nothing about us that wasn’t confident going into this game.”

 

On her own efforts in the game:

“I didn’t play tough in the first half. I don’t know if I really played tough in the second half either. That’s probably a big reason why we came out the way we did. We have to play better to win this game.”

 

________________

 

 

Rutgers Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer

Opening statement

“Florida is a good team. They did a great job on the tackling – it was a good matchup. I continue to appreciate my team’s effort this year, and the effort of everyone that we’ve face. Florida played extremely hard tonight, Coach Butler did a great job; they played hard with their attacks.

 

“It was a great test for us, because we needed to see how we could play on the road. We continue to do what we do, and with tonight, I thought that we played them way too tight in the half courts set.”

 

“For whatever reason, we were a step too slow; I’m not too surprised though. Hopefully we can get some rest tomorrow and get ready for a great game with Miami.”

 

On the difference between the first and second half:

“One of the issues that we had was that at the beginning we were stagnant, and we have to move the ball. I thought that we executed the offense, and we had those shots, they just weren’t falling.

 

“I wasn’t too surprised though because our depth perception is different. We should have looked to attack more. We weren’t in the flow. It wasn’t that we weren’t feeling pressure; you could just see the turnover coming two passes beforehand. To Florida’s credit, they were forcing to execute in the half court set and did a good job in the half-set zone.”

 

On the team’s efforts tonight:

“When we had problems we forgot what we wanted to do or what we should have done. Without question, it is the defense that won this game for us today.”

 

Junior Center/Forward Monique Oliver

On limiting Florida offensively:

“We were being aggressive. Everybody was hopping on each other and containing their shots. That’s the way we play.”

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