Sunday January 15, 2012Gators Use Balanced Attack to Snap LSU's 10-game Winning Streak, 62-58
The University of Florida women’s basketball team used a balanced offensive attack, which saw all 10 players record at least two points, and a lockdown defense to hand LSU its first Southeastern Conference loss, 62-58, Sunday afternoon at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
Redshirt senior Jordan Jones (Suwanee, Ga.) led the offensive charge for the Orange and Blue scoring 11 of her 16 points in the second half to help UF to the victory. Ndidi Madu (Antioch, Tenn.) and Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.) each added nine points for the Gators who improved to 12-6 overall and 2-3 in SEC play with the victory. The balanced attack helped UF earn a key 18-12 advantage in bench scoring.
“Obviously I’m very proud of our effort today in every way and I think we saw for most of the ball game what we’ve been waiting to see - a complete game where we’re playing tough Florida defense,” said UF head coach Amanda Butler, who earned her 90th victory in five years with the Gators. “I’m really proud of the way they bounced back after some really tough losses that I think would have been very easy for our team to start to hang their heads and doubt a little bit. I think it would have been really easy for our kids to have less belief than they did, but they didn’t allow that to happen. They played with a lot of confidence.”
The win for UF was the first for Butler against LSU and has now earned at least one win against each of the other SEC schools. Sunday’s victory marked Florida’s first against the Tigers since a 79-78 overtime victory on Feb. 16, 2006.
Other SEC Games on Sunday:
Ole Miss d. ALABAMA, 69-55
Georgia d. MISSISSIPPI STATE, 68-51
TENNESSEE d. Vanderbilt, 87-64
ARKANSAS d. Auburn, 59-39
Kentucky d. SOUTH CAROLINA, 66-58
After the first six minutes of the game saw the two teams go back-and-forth, the Gators went on an 18-4 run to push their advantage to 30-16. The run was sparked by a stout defense effort, which held the Tigers without a field goal for 10 minutes and 14 seconds of game action. LSU refused to back down and cut the Gator lead to 32-25 at the half.
UF used a balanced attack in the first half as nine different Gators etched their names in the score book. The balanced attack started early as each of UF’s first seven field goals came from a different player before Jones added her second field goal at the 11:02 mark. Lilly Svete (Granger, Ind.) led the UF charge in the first with six points on a pair of threes, while Madu and Jones added five each. On the glass in the first, UF was paced by Allen who had six rebounds.
The second half saw Jennifer George (Orlando, Fla.), who was hampered with three early fouls and was the only Gator who played in the first half that didn’t score, set the tone for UF as she scored two early baskets, which were followed by a Jones three that pushed the Florida advantage to 14 points, 43-29.
LSU (13-4, 4-1 SEC) responded by going on a 7-0 run of its own and closed within seven, 43-36, with 10:58 remaining, before Bonds converted on a layup off of a two-on-one fast break taking a beautiful pass from Lanita Bartley (Jacksonville, Fla.), who dished a game-high six assists, a marked tied for her season-high.
The Bonds layup seemed to spark the Gators as they scored eight of the next 10 points behind a pair of deep threes from Jones and a foul line jumper from Madu that pushed UF’s advantage back to 15 points, 53-38, with 7:39 on the clock.
As was the case earlier in the game, the Tigers refused to go away and cut the UF lead to two, 55-53, on a basket and the foul from Courtney Jones with 2:35 left in the game. George quickly answered with a fastbreak layup to push the lead back to two possessions. From there, Florida was able to play tough defense and hit 5-of-9 free throws down the stretch, including two from Bonds after the LSU was within four, 57-53, with 1:23 remaining, and two from Madu, who sank both with 15 seconds on the clock that pushed UF’s lead back to eight, 62-54, to hang on for the four-point victory. Each of the Gator’s five SEC games has been decided by six or less points this year.
LaSondra Barrett led all scorers and rebounders with 17 and 11, respectively, for LSU, which had its 10-game win streak snapped and surrendered the third most points it had allowed all season. The Gators also halted their five-game slide against the Tigers. Courtney Jones added 15 points and eight rebounds, as the Tigers held the 43-41 rebounding edge, as well as outscore the Gators 30-24 in the paint and tally 18 second-chance points, compared to UF’s 11.
The Gators return to action on Thursday, Jan. 19, when they host Alabama at 7 p.m. The contest will air live on Sun Sports, while the radio broadcast can be heard live in Gainesville on WBXY-FM 99.5 “The Star” and through the internet at www.GatorZone.com, the official website of the Florida Gators. ESPN3.com will offer live streaming video of the game, as well.
· *All 10 Gators who played scored, including nine different players scoring for the Gators in the first half, the third time this year they have accomplished the feat (at San Francisco and vs. Samford)
· *With UF’s four point victory, each of the Gators’ five SEC games have been decided by six points or less
· *Ndidi Madu and Jaterra Bonds both recorded their 500th career points in a Gator uniform in the victory today
· *Lily Svete passed the 100 point mark for her career with six points on the day
· *With the win against LSU, UF head coach Amanda Butler has now defeated each SEC school at least once during her four-plus years tenure with the Gators
· *Today’s win vs. LSU was UF’s first against the Tigers since a 79-78 overtime victory on Feb. 16, 2006
· *UF held LSU without a field goal for a stretch of 10 minutes and 14 seconds in the first half (13:28-3:06)
· *Florida’s 32 first half points were greater than the total it had in the first half in its past two games combined
· *Jordan Jones converted on four three-pointers, the ninth time this season she has hit at least three from deep and the fifth time she has hit at least four
· *UF’s 62 points were the third most LSU has allowed this season
· *All of five of UF’s Southeastern Conference games this year have been decided by six points or less
· *Brittany Shine played in her 50th career game
· *Jordan Jones started her 40th consecutive game
Florida Head Coach Amanda Butler
“Obviously I’m very proud of our effort today in every way and I think we saw for most of the ball game what we’ve been waiting to see - a complete game where we’re playing tough Florida defense. I’m really proud of the way they bounced back after some really tough losses that I think would have been very easy for our team to start to hang their heads and doubt a little bit. I think it would have been really easy for our kids to have less belief than they did, but they didn’t allow that to happen. They played with a lot of confidence.”
On the big win...
“I think it was huge. To play big teams close doesn’t do anything for our confidence.”
On the LSU field goal drought…
“I think that’s huge. And a team having a field goal drought isn’t significant unless you’re putting points on the board going to the other direction. To be able to go down to other end and get the reward for that good defense and not put so much pressure on our defense every position to get a stop just felt good for them.”
On thought process when LSU cut lead to two…
“I was very confident. I think we had been through enough moments in this season to know who we had to put in different game situations to get the result that we wanted. I thought it was important for us to stay aggressive, but stay composed. We never lost composure and it would have been very easy to do that.”
UF Senior Guard Jordan Jones
On the big win…
“It’s huge. You know if there’s such a thing as a must win, four games into the SEC season, this was it. We knew that no one was going to pick us to win, and we had our backs against the wall and that’s the kind of fight this team has; we just showed what we’re capable of.”
On first time beating LSU…
“Yeah, Coach Butler reminded of us of that before we took the court and you know it’s an exciting thing. Anytime you can beat LSU, which is a program that gathers a lot of attention from around the country for being so good at women’s basketball, is a great feeling. So, to come in and protect our home court is a good momentum builder for us heading into our next game.”
On defensive effort…
“That’s what we pride ourselves on. As you can look at our numbers the last few games, we’re not an offensive team that’s going to come out and allow our offense to win games. So that’s what we focused on in practice and in our huddles. That’s what is going to win games.”
UF Senior Forward Ndidi Madu
On stepping up…
“Coming in, we knew we had to be aggressive because I mean (Jennifer) George scores a lot of points for us but when she went out in the first few minutes of the game, we knew we had to score and rebound.”
On the post…
“We as a post group can do this every night. We just have to be more consistent. We just stepped up and played together.”
On proving yourself…
“Starting I know I had to be aggressive. That’s the shot I know my teammates and coaches expect me to hit. And when I get open, I’m going to take it.”
LSU Head Coach Nikki Caldwell
Thoughts on the game…
"Well I saw a team that was tougher than us. I saw a team that wanted this game in a big way. When you watch the intensity of them to get on the glass, I thought that sent a message right out of the gates of why they are the best offensive rebounding team in our conference. Loose balls were theirs, their hustle plays really generated that energy that they needed and I was really disappointed in our inability to come to the gym ready to play for 40 minutes."
On taking advantage of Jennifer George's foul trouble…
"We didn't take advantage of the fact that our inside play was very good and we’re going to keep challenging our guards to play with our post game. When you're efficient with Courtney Jones and LaSondra Barrett
both shooting a high percentage, both giving us opportunities to score in the paint and you go away from that, I question how serious are we in establishing our inside game, which is always a goal."
On failing to get back into the game using experience…
"Florida did a great job of answering runs that we put on in the game. They made plays when they needed to. You can't say enough about how they exploited our lack of intensity and rotating our defense, but we weren't really committed in playing the way that we’re supposed to play on the defensive end and obviously on the boards."