Friday December 7, 2012Jennifer George Scores 1,000th-Career Point in 89-82 Win Against Pacific
Jennifer George became the 21st Gator to score 1,000 career points.
Senior Jennifer George scored her 1,000th career point and the Gators used a balanced offensive attack and made their free throws in the final minute to defeat Pacific, 89-82, in the O’Connell Center Friday night.
Florida (7-3) took down a Pacific team that had arrived in Gainesville as one of 17 undefeated NCAA Division I women’s basketball teams in the country, but an evenly distributed offense and persistent defensive pressure by the Gators from the start was too much for Pacific to overcome. The Gators, however did need all 40 minutes to post their 11th consecutive home victory, as well as their 12th straight home win versus non-conference opponents.
The two teams remained close early, as both sides fought hard on each possession, until George and a fast-paced Gator offensive attack jumped out front and gave Florida a 43-29 advantage at the break.
The Tigers (7-1) showed why they had won seven consecutive games to start the season, as they battled back from a 21-point deficit with 6:15 remaining and trimmed Florida’s lead to five, 81-76, with 1:53 seconds remaining.
Freshman Sydney Moss found George inside and she converted the bucket to stop a four-point run by Pacific, as Kendall Kenyon missed a layup on the Tiger’s ensuing offensive possession and Pacific sent the Gators to the free throw line for the final 1:14 of the game.
Florida came through by sinking 6-of-14, including a 4-for-6 effort from junior Jaterra Bonds, during the last 74 seconds, as the Tigers continued to battle until the final horn.
“A really good win, it was a really good win,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “I think that team is a postseason team for sure. I have a lot of respect for them. This is the team that came in here undefeated but I think that they will leave here and continue to do good things. We had a lot of toughness in our win. We fought through some things and we overcame the fact that we missed way to many free throws and turned the ball too many times, but we did that with our toughness and really made stops and making plays in the most important points of the ball game.”
While the Gators did sink 26 free throws during the win, they missed 17 of their attempts.
With 22 seconds remaining in the game, George sank one free throw, which was her 1000th-career point and more importantly gave Florida an 87-80 lead. That make helped the Gator’s lone senior become the 21st player in program history to reach the scoring milestone. George is the first Gator to join the 1,000-point club since Marshae Dotson netted her 1,000th on Feb. 10, 2008.
George finished the game with 17 points and 12 rebounds for her second double-double of the season and the 21st of her career. She also tied her career-high of five steals.
Bonds scored a game-high 20 points, hitting 12-of-15 free throws an effort that tied for the fourth-most made free throws in a game in program history.
“I was really proud of Jaterra,” Butler shared. “Statistically, she hasn’t been having her best basketball leading up to this but she has been working really, really hard to make sure she is making the right decisions and I thought tonight that really showed up. She took smart shots, she put herself in positions to succeed, and she put the team in position to succeed. She stepped up to the free throw line with a lot of composure and hit big ones.”
Moss scored 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the floor, while collecting eight rebounds, three assists and two steals, as she charted her third consecutive double-figure scoring game and the fifth of her young career.
Redshirt-sophomore Kayla Lewis scored 13 of her career-high 15 points in the second half, as she helped Florida off-set Pacific’s 53-46 scoring advantage during the final 20 minutes.
Freshman Christin Mercer and redshirt-freshman Carlie Needles both chipped in nine points for the Gators, who shot a season-high 53.6 percent (30-56) during the game, including a 64.0 percent (16-25) mark in the first half, Florida’s highest in a half since shooting 68 percent (17-25) in the first half versus Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 19, 2003.
Kendall Kenyon was one of five Tigers who posted a double-figure scoring effort, as she recorded 18 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
Kendall Rodriguez scored 10 of her 15 points in the first half for Pacific, which didn’t stop fighting and had aspirations of keeping its perfect record intact, opened the second half on a 12-4 run and trimmed Florida’s lead to just eight, 49-41, with 14:34 remaining in the game.
With 14:11 to play, Lewis took control for Florida by scoring 11 straight points and kept the Gator offense rolling, which led to a 77-56 advantage with 6:15 remaining.
In spite of Florida’s 21-point cushion, the pesky Tigers always seemed within striking distance, even banking in a three-point basket to get within five points with just 56 seconds remaining in the game.
With the Gators leading 84-79, Bonds went to the line with 29 seconds on the clock and sank two from the charity stripe, giving Florida a seven-point lead. She returned to the line with 18.8 seconds remaining and made one of two and gave Florida the 88-82 edge.
George stepped up to the free-throw line with 22 remaining and sank her first free-throw to reach the 1,000-point plateau as a Gator and put Florida up 87-80.
The Gators now take a nine-day break for final exams before returning to competition on Sunday, Dec. 16, when they visit LaSalle in Philadelphia, Pa., where tip-off from Tom Gola Arena is scheduled for 1 p.m.
The radio call of the game can be heard live in Gainesville on The Star 99.5 FM, with the audio available free online thru www.Gatorzone.com, the official website of the Florida Gators.
· The win was Florida’s 11th consecutive at home, as well as its 12th straight at home versus non-conference teams
· The 89 points is a season-high for Florida
· Sydney Moss scored in double-figures for the fifth time
· Jennifer George recorded her 1,000th point as a Gator and became the 21st Gator to reach the mark
· The Gators used their fifth different starting lineup; a new one in their fourth consecutive game
· Jaterra Bonds scored in double-figures for fifth time this year and 33rd time in career
· George has scored in double-figures in 8 games this year; 48 in career
· UF shot 64% in 1st half - highest in a half since shooting 68% (17-25) in the first half vs. Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 19, 2003
· George netted her second double-double this year and 21st of career
· This is Bonds' second 20-point scoring game of her career
· Bonds' 12 made FTs is tied for fourth most in a game in program history
Florida Head Coach Amanda Butler
“A really good win, it was a really good win. I think that team is a postseason team for sure. I have a lot of respect for them. This is the team that came in here undefeated but I think that they will leave here and continue to do good things. We had a lot of toughness in our win. We fought through some things and we overcame the fact that we missed way to many free throws and turned the ball too many times, but we did that with our toughness and really made stops and making plays in the most important points of the ball game.”
On Jaterra Bonds’ presence in the game
“I was really proud of Jaterra. Statistically she hasn’t been having her best basketball leading up to this but she has been working really, really hard to make sure she is making the right decisions and I thought tonight that really showed up. She took smart shots, she put herself in positions to succeed, and she put the team in position to succeed. She stepped up to the free throw line with a lot of composure and hit big ones.”
About having a 64% shooting during the first half
“I think we had a lot of layups in the first half. As I mentioned earlier kind of talking about Jaterra’s play, she took really smart shots and we finished them. We took high percentage shots. I give a lot of credit to Pacific for coming after halftime and adjusted to what we were doing especially on their offense of end. We gave up way to many points in the second half. They challenged our toughness but we did a good job at responding back.”
Pacific Head Coach Lynne Roberts
"We played a really good Florida team on their home court. They are very athletic and they were focused. They were dialed in and we knew they would be. I thought we didn't do a particularly good job in the first half on either of the floor, but I thought we did much better in the second. You just can't get in that much of a hole. I think we were down 20 points with eight minutes to go and we fought it back to where it was a close game. I am proud of my team for that. We never quit, never gave up. They shot 43 free throws, that's tough. It is what it is."
On what was said at halftime and what adjustments were made
"I just thought we could do a good job attacking, getting in the paint off the dribble whether we shot it or not. I thought we were settling for threes in the first half, not really using our athleticism off the dribble. I thought we did a better job that and that opened things up. We were able to score a little bit easier with higher percentage shots."
On the play Kendall Kenyon
"I think she is averaging a double-double. That is what she does. It was kind of a quiet one. I am surprised to see that. She's been doing it all year and I shouldn't be surprised. She's very efficient. In 26 minutes, to go 7-for-11 and have a double-double against a good Florida team on their court is a good job."
On moving on from their first loss and the 7-0 start to their season
"I told them this game is only a really big deal if we would have won it. We were not expected to win. We didn't need to win. I actually think this will make us better. Sometimes the best teacher is experience, so we learned some things tonight and watch some film and teach them. 7-1 is a good start. If you told me after the Florida game that we would be 7-1, I would have taken it a month ago. We'll get better, move on, and go from there."
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Twitter: @GatorZoneWBK and @CoachButlerUF