Sunday February 5, 2012Women's Hoops Posts Impressive Win Over Ole Miss on Alumnae Day, 84-55
Azania Stewart scored 14 points with 7 rebounds and 4 blocks in the win.
Senior point guard Lanita Bartley (Jacksonville, Fla.) scored a game-high 17 points and grabbed a career-high-tying 10 rebounds to record her first-ever double-double en route to an 84-55 victory over the Ole Miss Rebels. The win lifts Florida to 15-8 (5-5 SEC) while the Rebels fall to 12-12 (2-9 SEC).
The Gators surpassed their season-high for points scored at home or against an SEC opponent, with 84. The 29-point scoring margin was Florida’s highest over an SEC opponent since Jan. 28, 2001, when the then-No. 10 Gators defeated South Carolina 91-53.
Bartley inked a career-high eight offensive rebounds, greatly contributing to the Gators’ 18 second-chance points, while adding four assists. Azania Stewart (Wood Green, England) and Brittany Shine (Sacramento, Calif.) each notched a season-high 14 points, and Stewart added seven rebounds and four blocks, marking the 22nd straight game in which she had at least one block.
Ndidi Madu (Antioch, Tenn.) came away with eight points, eight rebounds and a career-high-tying four assists. Jordan Jones’ (Suwanee, Ga.) steal in the first half marked the 100th of her career, the highest among active Gators. Jones also contributed seven points, four rebounds and three assists.
As a team, the Gators shot 48.5% from the field, while holding Ole Miss to just 34.4%, including 29.7% in the first half. UF out-rebounded Ole Miss, 46-38, and put up 22 assists as compared to seven by the Rebels. For the second straight game and the fifth time this season, every Gator that dressed scored.
“It’s fantastic to be playing back at home and be so convincingly victorious in front of a great crowd and in front of so many people that are proud of being Gators,” UF Head Coach Amanda Butler said of the team’s first home appearance in 17 days, as well as on Alumnae Day. “Just really proud of the way we prepared and came into this game and started the game off, which gives us a little more momentum heading into Thursday (home game vs. Auburn) and towards our other goals.”
The Rebels came out of the locker room trailing 41-26, ready to play, opening the second half with six straight points to close the gap to 44-34, but a big three-pointer by Bartley at 17:29 gave the momentum back to the Gators.
Danielle McCray, caught her own rebound and got the tip-in to try to keep the Gators from pulling away, but the Rebels were unable to get within 10 for the remained of the game.
A pair of made free throws by Monique Jackson brought the Rebels back within 11, down 52-41 with 15:8 to play, but the Gators continued to push forward, steadily growing harder to catch.
Deana Allen (Houma, La.) hit back-to-back free throws at 4:22, to give Florida its first 20-point lead of the game, and eight straight points by Shine in the final two minutes, including two three-pointers, sealed the deal for the Gators with a final score of 84-55.
The game started tight, as the teams traded the lead back and forth as the score ran to a 9-9 tie at 16:04. A pair of layups by Jennifer George (Orlando, Fla.) gave the Gators a 13-9 lead, but the Rebels came back to tie the score at 13 with two made free throws by Tia Faleru at 11:42.
With the game tied at 13, with 11:42 remaining, the Gators mounted a 18-2 run that lasted almost five minutes and took a 31-15 lead with 6:43 left in the first half.
Florida got scoring from Madu, Bartley, Jones and Stewart during the stretch, when the Gators hit 8-of-10 shots from the floor and out-rebounded the Rebels, 8-0, while Ole Miss hit 1-of-6 from the field and turned the ball over twice.
But the Gators then went cold from the floor after Jones’ jumper at the 6:43 mark, as the Rebels chipped away at their deficit and scored the next nine points, closing Florida’s advantage to seven points, 31-24, with 2:18 to go.
Two free throws from Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.) at the 1:34 mark halted Ole Miss’ run and sparked a 10-0 Gator swing, as Allen converted a layup and Bartley nailed back-to-back treys that extended UF’s lead to 17 points, 41-24, with 25 seconds remaining.
Monique Jackson ended the two-minute Rebel scoring drought with a layup underneath and Florida took a 41-26 lead into the halftime locker room.
The Gators continue their homestand on Thursday, Feb. 9, when they host Auburn in an SEC matchup at 7 p.m. The game will be televised regionally on SUN Sports and Fox Sports Florida. The audio of the game will also be broadcast on the Gator Radio Network, which can be streamed live on www.GatorZone.com, the official website of the Florida Gators. Live streaming video also will be available thru www.espn3.com, but subject to blackout in states with an SEC school.
· The Gators’ 84 points is the most they have scored at home or against an SEC opponent this season
· Florida’s 29-point margin of victory is the most over an SEC opponent since Jan. 20, 2001, when the then-No. 10 Gators defeated South Carolina, 91-53 (38-point spread).
· Azania Stewart had four blocks, marking her 22nd straight game with at least one block
· Stewart had a season-high points and field goals, making her first six FG of the game and finishing 7-for-8 (14 points)
· Lanita Bartley had her first career double-double, with 17 points and a career-high-tying 10 rebounds, eight offensive. It marked the 10th time this season and 20th of her career that she scored in double figures.
· Jordan Jones tied the century mark with her steal in the first half; she now has a team-leading 100 career steals.
· With one steal, Jordan Jones tied the century mark for steals as a Gator. She now has 100 steals in her career
· With a season-high 14 points, Azania Steward scored double-figures for the third time in the 2011-12 season and 23rd in her career.
· Every Gator who dressed for the game scored for the second consecutive game and fifth time this season
· Ndidi Madu tied her career high with four assists
· Florida’s 10 three-pointers tied a season-high (also 10 vs. Michigan, Nov. 11)
· UF’s nine turnovers tied a season-low (also 9 vs. LSU, Jan. 15)
Florida Head Coach Amanda Butler
On game overall:
“Fantastic to be playing back at home and be so convincingly victorious in front of a great crowd and in front of so many people that are proud of being Gators. Just really proud of the way we prepared and came into this game and started the game off, which gives us a little more momentum heading into Thursday and towards our other goals.”
On Brittany Shine:
“She plays with great confidence when she sees the ball go through the hole and when she gets confident that is when she thrives. The way we were playing defense allowed her to leak out and get open and she just played an all-around good offensive game and defensively too.”
On renewed confidence:
“The LSU game was giant for us and not just winning but winning how we had to win through adversity. We always want to feel like things are in our hands and we are capable of making the changes and things are happening on our terms. We didn’t feel like we played our best basketball, but to come out and get a 29-pont win is huge for us.”
Senior center Azania Stewart #13
On recent offensive outburst:
“Having great practices not just on the offensive end, but being more vocal and preparing for practice the way I do for games has helped me. I am just trying to be a threat and work hard in the post.”
Senior guard Lanita Bartley #3
On full-court press defense:
“We just take pride on defense especially in practice and we make sure that we pressured them a lot.”
Ole Miss Head Coach Renee Ladner
“The Gators are playing with a lot of confidence; they went into LSU and had a big night and hit a lot of shots and you could just tell they are feeling good about themselves and playing extremely well. We’re battling with a small lineup and when we got tired we let people have open looks. So, anytime that happens you’re going to be in trouble.”
On holding Jennifer George to five points and three rebounds:
“Well, you know, we really concentrated on guarding her properly. We spent a lot of time in practice yesterday keying in on that.”
On second half momentum:
“That’s all predicated on Valencia McFarland pushing the ball up the floor and us getting in transition and getting some easy baskets. We struggled to score on the perimeter and we’re still young on the interior. So, when we can run with that we usually do a good job with scoring. We got some great rebounds and kicked it out…the young Rebels are going to fight, they are going to claw, and they’re just going to stay in there and hang tough for as long as they can.”
On the absence of Nikki Byrd:
“I think that’s huge. They have a solid post game. Nikki is a double-double for us a lot of the time. You can’t help but miss your 6’4” center.”
Scores of other SEC Games Played Sunday
Georgia d. ALABAMA, 81-66
LSU d. Kentucky, 61-51
Vanderbilt d. MISSISSIPPI STATE, 65-59
TENNESSEE d. Auburn, 82-61