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Monday March 19, 2012Florida Plays Top-Ranked Baylor in NCAA 2nd Round Tuesday (ESPN2, 7:05 pm ET)

Bowling Green, Ohio

The Florida women’s basketball team takes on top-ranked and overall No. 1-seed Baylor in the NCAA Second Round on Tuesday at the Stroh Center beginning at 7:05 p.m. ET and will be  televised live on ESPN2.

 

Florida is 0-9 all-time against No. 1-ranked teams, with the last time the Gators squaring off against a No. 1-ranked team was in the 2009 NCAA Second Round, when Florida lost at overall-No. 1 seed Connecticut in a game played at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn. The Huskies went on to beat the Gators 87-59 and win the NCAA title.

 

Florida is 2-6 all-time in NCAA Second Round action, with both wins coming when the Gators hosted the tournament games. In 1998 Florida was the No. 3 seed and defeated Virginia Tech, 89-57 to advance to the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive season. The 1997 Gator club became the first to reach the NCAA Sweet 16, earning a 92-78 win against a Tina Thompson-led Southern Cal team that had to face Florida’s pair of DeLisha Milton and Murriel Page, a current Gator assistant coach who stole the show with a 35 point, 16-rebound performance.

 

Baylor leads the all-time series against Florida, 3-1. The Bears, which have won the last three games against the Gators, won the 91-76 decision on March 22, 2004 in the NCAA Second Round played in Albuquerque, N.M. Two of the four meetings between Florida and Baylor were part of a national tournament. The Gators defeated the Bears 70-58 in Waco on Nov. 16, 1998 the second round of the Preseason WNIT.

 

“Baylor is an aggressive team,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “They are well coached.  I think one of the things I like about their team so much is how Coach Mulkey makes it very simple. She puts her players in position for them to succeed and they play their roles out very well within the structure (Mulkey) provides them.”

 

The winner of the Florida-Baylor second-round game meets the winner of the game between No. 4 seeded Georgia Tech and No. 5 seeded Georgetown on Sat., March 24 in Des Moines, Iowa.

 

Florida advanced t the NCAA second round with a hard-fought 70-65 victory against eighth-seeded and No. 16/18 ranked Ohio State on Sunday. Baylor dominated UC Santa Barbara from the opening tip in its 81-40 victory and improved to 35-0.

 

The Bears are outscoring opponents by 27.7 points per game this year and are aiming to become the first 40-win national championship team in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history. Baylor is led by national player of the year candidate Brittney Griner (6-8, junior), who is averaging 23.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.1 blocks per game, while shooting 61.4 percent from the floor and 80 percent from the free throw line. She’s joined by a talented backcourt of Odyssy Sims and Destiny Williams, who average 14.6 and 10.0 points per game, respectively. Williams is tied with Griner with 9.2 rebounds per game, while Sims collects 3.1 steals per game and connects on 53-of-135 three-pointers (39.3 percent).

 

The Gators (20-12) counter with 6-0 junior forward Jennifer George (Orlando, Fla.), who led Florida with 16 points in the NCAA first round win against Ohio State. George averages 13.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, while shooting 53.9 percent from the floor.

 

Senior Jordan Jones (Suwanee, Ga.), who collected a career-high eight rebounds to lead the Gators against the Buckeyes on the boards, tallied her 1,400th career point during the win.  Jones contributes 11.5 points, in addition to 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals, while hitting 67-of-195 treys (34.4%). During her three-year tenure at UF, Jones has drained 194 three-pointers, the fourth most in a career (third is 212 by Sha Brooks, 2005-09), as well as 291 overall.

 

Senior point guard Lanita Bartley (Jacksonville, Fla.), who had 15 points against Ohio State, is Florida’s third-leading scorer (9.3 ppg) along with 5.0 rebounds (third most) and leads the club in assists (3.2 apg) and steals (1.9 pg).

 

Florida has played 55 games over the last three seasons with outcomes decided by 10 points or less, including 17 this season.

 

As a team, Florida is holding opponents to 60.3 points per game - the second-fewest in a season in the 38-year history of the program. The 1983-84 squad held its foes to 59.1 points per game. Opponents are shooting 38.2 percent from the floor, the lowest since the 2000-01 Gators limited foes to a 36.9 percent clip. Florida sports a +5.5 rebound margin, its best since the 2000-01 team held a +7.9 margin.

 

Baylor is averaging 78.9 points per game, while hitting 49.3 percent of its shots from the floor and holds a +12.4 rebounding margin.

 

Florida is 3-8 this year against Associated Press nationally-ranked opponents, and 3-9 versus teams ranked in the ESPN-USA Today Coaches Poll at tip-time (Vanderbilt was receiving votes in the AP poll, but No. 24 in Coaches Poll). The Gators most recently posted a 70-65 win against No. 16/18 Ohio State in the NCAA First Round. Florida has collected 47 upset wins against a higher-ranked opponent, with 27 of those coming when the Gators were unranked.

 

 

Game Day Information

#9 Seed Florida Gators (20-12) vs. the #1 Seed / #1 Baylor Bears (35-0)

2012 NCAA Tournament * Second Round

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 * 7:05 pm ET

Stroh Center (4,347) - Bowling Green, Ohio

 

Game Coverage & More! 

Radio: LIVE on WBXY-FM 99.5 “The Star” with Adam Schick & Brittany Davis

Internet Audio: LIVE thru www.GatorZone.com (FREE)

Internet Video: LIVE on www.ESPN3.com

Television: LIVE on ESPN2 with Cara Capuano and Abby Waner

     Direct TV (no whip around coverage): ESPN2 730 / EFC 730-1

     DISH (no whip around coverage): ESPN2 145 / EFC 455

 

Opening Tip

*UF is 2-5 all-time in the NCAA Second Round, winning in 1997 & 1998

*UF is 0-9 all-time vs. No. 1-ranked teams

*Florida is making its 13th NCAA Tournament appearance & first since 2009

*10 of UF’s 12 losses this year have been by 6 points or less

*UF has played 55 games over the last three seasons decided by 10 points or less; 17 this year

*10 of UF’s 16 SEC regular-season games were decided by 6 points or fewer, with 11 of 16 being decided by single digits

*Jordan Jones has converted a 3-pointer in 15 consecutive games - tied for the eighth-longest streak in a season by a Gator

 

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