Sunday January 6, 2013Bonds and George Lead Florida to First SEC Win, Defeat LSU, 77-72
Jaterra Bonds scored a game-high 19 points.
Junior Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.) scored a game-high 19 points, senior Jennifer George (Fresno, Calif.) collected her 26th career double-double and Florida defeated LSU, 77-72, to earn its first Southeastern Conference victory in a thriller manner on Sunday afternoon in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
With LSU (10-5, 1-1 SEC) leading by nine points, 58-49, with 11:46 remaining, the Gators (12-4, 1-1 SEC) scored 11 consecutive points in a two-minute span and took a two-point lead with 9:08 left in the game.
Freshman Sydney Moss (Union, Ky.) put back an offensive rebound to start the march, before redshirt-sophomore Kayla Lewis (Decatur, Ga.) nailed just her fifth three-pointer of the season. Freshman January Miller (Orlando, Fla.) came up with a steal and dished to Bonds, who made the layup and tied the game at 58-all. Moss then secured a defensive rebound and found a Lewis down court and she made the layin to give Florida its first lead since the 10:16 mark of the first half.
The Lady Tigers, who committed two of their 15 turnovers during Florida’s run, halted the spree with a layup by Shanece McKinney that produced the fourth tied score of the game.
Theresa Plaisance tacked on two more for LSU inside and swung the lead back in the visitor’s favor, as there were three lead changes and four tied scores in the final 9:31 of the contest.
George then converted both ends of a one-and-one from the free throw line with 6:09 remaining, bringing the Gators within one, 62-61.
George blocked Adrienne Webb’s shot and collected a defense rebound with 5:06 remaining, but injured her shoulder on the play and would not return to the court after having a strong performance of 15 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals, including her seventh double-double of the season .
Junior Vicky McIntyre (Omaha, Neb.) stepped in for George at the line and made both ends of her one-and-one trip that gave Florida a 64-62 lead.
LSU came right back with an inside bucket from Danielle Ballard, but Moss calmly nailed two free throws with 3:53 on the clock and Florida would not trail again, as Lewis scored the next four points of the game and gave the Gators a 70-64 advantage with 2:51 remaining.
LSU closed within three points three times in the last 51 seconds, but Bonds answered with a driving, athletic bucket the first time with 29 seconds remaining. McKinney came back with a score and the Tigers forced a turnover with 20 seconds remaining and had the ball with a chance to tie, but 5-foot-6 redshirt-freshman Carlie Needles (Highlands Ranch, Col.) came up with the first blocked shot of her career, swatting Adrienne Webb’s three-point attempt, then collected the miss and was fouled. She then converted two free throws that gave Florida a 75-70 lead with 12 seconds left.
Webb did hit a shot from inside the arc with four ticks and LSU fouled Bonds, who drilled two more from the line and ended the game’s scoring, helping Florida capture its 15th consecutive home victory, as well as present head coach Amanda Butler with the 150th win of her eight-year overall tenure.
“I think we beat a very good team tonight, that’s the first thing I’d like to make really clear,” Butler said. “I think LSU has a great squad and is a postseason team and it was important for us to get them here and take care of our business on our home court. “
Bonds also dished a game-high five assists with three steals for the Gators, while Lewis added 10 points and six rebounds.
“A lot of things that I’m proud of, I was just telling these guys (Carlie, JT, and Kayla) is that they were our core tonight, they did a great job of sustaining this through a lot of different ups and downs and that’s important,” Butler said. “And what I think it’s great about our team is that core can change. A lot of people can step in and do different things at different times. You had Mac (Vicky McIntyre) and (Christin) Mercer rotating offensively and defensively--they did a great job of handling that. Again, a great team win against a very good team in front of a fantastic crowd as well.”
Plaisance scored 17points to lead four LSU players in double-figure scoring.
George set the tempo in the first half as she scored the first seven points of the ball game on a pair of hook shots and a reverse layup that resulted in a three-point play.
Redshirt junior Lily Svete (Granger, Ind.) fed off of George’s momentum and drained her first three of day and put the Gators up 10-4 over the Tigers heading into the first media timeout.
Mercer scored off an inbounds play which led to a made free throw and a 13-6 favor for the Gators. LSU’s Ballard answered with a layup, but with a missed shot by Moss and a strong put-back by George the Gators were rolling on offense and looked as though they couldn’t be stopped.
The Tigers trickled along, capitalizing off Gator turnovers to allow jumpers from Ballard, Webb and a three-pointer from Kenney to pull LSU within two at the 12:41 mark.
Moss hit a jumper to make a 19-15 advantage for the Gators, but LSU’s Lutley answered with a basket from beyond the arc to diminish the Gator lead to one, 19-18 at the 11:40 mark. Lutley was then able to tie the game for the first time all day at 20 a pieced by hitting two free throws.
The Tigers seemed to have taken the Gators spark nearing the nine minute mark of the first half when they took the lead off a Theresa Plaisance three at the top of the key to make it a 25-22 contest. The Gators were 0-for-3 before LSU’s Plaisance knocked down another trey to force a Florida timeout.
Bonds connected from the charity stripe on back-to-back occasions to pull the Gators within three of the Tigers, 29-26, before Moss sank a three that put some life back into the Florida offense.
Things started to really heat up around the five-minute mark with fast-paced transition and intense play. LSU’s Webb hit a jumper in the lane which led to nicely executed Svete three-pointer from the corner. Webb answered right back with a three of her own before LSU went on 5-0 run to extend their advantage to 41-34 at the 2:30 mark.
Both teams missed opportunities for points on several trips down the court which was the result of scrappy play and defensive rebounding. Needles mustered a charge against the purple and yellow which led to a George layup and brought the Gators back within five of the Tigers, 36-41.
LSU’s Plaisance hit a short-corner shot with three-seconds remaining in the half to allow the Tigers to take a 44-36 lead into halftime.
The Gators return to action on Thurs., January 10,when the team travels to Starkville to take on Mississippi State beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
The game will be televised live statewide on FS Florida (Cox channel 70/1070HD in Gainesville), while the radio broadcast can be heard in Gainesville on 99.5FM and on through the internet at www.gatorzone.com, the official website of the Florida Gators.
*George scored UF’s first seven points of game
*Bonds has made 17 consecutive free throws
*Eighth time this year every player who dressed out has scored
*January Miller started the second half of the game – the first time she has started either half in any game of her career
*Jaterra Bonds scored in double-figures for 10th time this year; 38th time in career
*Jennifer George scored in double-figures for 13th time this season; 53rd time in career
*George netted her seventh double-double of the season and the 26th of her career
*UF has played 60 games over the last three-plus years decided by 10 points or less; five this year (3-2 record)
*Florida trailed by as many as nine points in the game, marking the largest deficit overcome in a win this year (was 6 points vs. Fairfield, Nov. 9)
*UF improved to 2-3 when trailing at the half this year
Florida Head Coach Amanda Butler
“I think we beat a very good team tonight, that’s the first thing I’d like to make really clear. I think LSU has a great squad and is a post season team and it was important for us to get them here and take care of our business on our home court. A lot of things that I’m proud of, I was just telling these guys (Carlie, JT, and Kayla) is that they were our core tonight, they did a great job of sustaining this through a lot of different ups and downs and that’s important. And what I think it’s great about our team is that core can change. A lot of people can step in and do different things at different times. You had Mac (Vicky) and Mercer rotating offensively and defensively--they did a great job of handling that. Again, a great team win against a very good team in front of a fantastic crowd as well.”
About team win
“It’s huge. And the way that we won the ball game today I think it’s really important-- you’re just not going to win a lot of SECs games that are decided by 15, 20 points; it’s just not going to happen. The coaching is too good, the talent is too good; there’s just so much tradition with every team that rolls into your gym, and LSU is no exception. It was great for us to get this underneath our belt and to experience it and get used to it because you’re going to have to grind it out to win games in this league.”
Protecting home court
“I think it’s a lot that our team has to be proud of; we’ve generated that sort of confidence and expectation. One of my favorite quotes is “your only limitation is expectation” and we always want our expectation to want to win but certainly I think that goes up a notch when you’re on your home court. The level of confidence just got to be unshakable and I think more than anything that what you saw tonight. We battled through and that paid off this evening.”
Game plan against Theresa Plaisance
“You got to have a great respect for a player like that and really know everything she can do and what she’s going to try to do to hurt you the most. I thought they did a great job, just trying to isolate her regardless of the defender and we didn't with consistency handled that well but you try different matchups and combinations and one of the things that worked well for us especially down the stretch was a little bit of pressure on the front court so that we ate away at the clock a little bit and that really dictated the tempo and our kids did a great job of executing that with the right mindset.”
On JT’s leadership
“She made great decisions and her numbers were good on the stat sheet but she turned the ball over a little bit more than she would have liked to. She really wanted to be sure down the stretch so she made the plays that were going to put us over the top. She works everyday at her leadership and she had a team that was ready to jump on her back and follow her lead and again that was unshakable too.”
UF guard Carlie Needles
On her blocked shot with 12 seconds remaining:
“Coach always tell me out on the 3-point line to stay in my feet and I didn’t even try to block it, I was just trying to get her to not get that three and that was a big stop for us so I’m glad I made the play”
Overcoming being small to be a defender:
“I’ve been small my whole life. I early have to use others things to my advantage so I always try to outwork people and try to get in and use my height to my advantage—it’s kind of hard to try and guard a smaller PG so I just try to maneuver ,my way into little things.”
UF guard Jaterra Bonds
On getting the win:
“It feels great, especially with the adversity we had, even when she (George) left we were able to grind it out together and finish it. And that’s what we practice in the gym every day and we go against adversity everyday so that wasn’t anything new for us. I was glad that we were able to fight back and bounce back on our court.
On being steady from the FT line:
“Our coaches always have us shoot free throws. We shoot 100 free throws a day, get in the gym any time you can. I tell myself every time I go to the line, focus on shooting the same spot every time, and after a while it becomes confidence and when I step to the line I know I’m going to hit, even if I miss one, I know I’m going to hit the next one.”
UF guard/forward Kayla Lewis
On playing conference game again after injuries
“It’s always a blessing to be here and be healthy and show them what a healthy Kayla looks like. So it’s always fun to be out there and have the experience. It’s definitely much more intense and up-tempo.”
LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell:
On how every game in the SEC can be a tough game:
"There is a lot of great talent in this conference. I thought today, we had two teams that really fought until the end. To Florida's credit, I thought they executed better down the stretch. Even when we got a lead, they didn't give in. They stayed together and created the hustle plays they needed and they were able to come away with the win."
On some of the plays at the end of the game:
"I think one thing that we have to look at as we go back and watch film, is to make sure we're not putting the tempo or the pace of the game in someone else's hands. We have to make our own breaks. I thought we had great defensive efforts, but if our guards made some baskets as well, we would have had a whole different ball game."
On the recent history of close games between Florida and LSU:
"The game plan has been very simple. We try to keep it very simple with knowing player's tendencies and making sure we don't give up transition baskets and offensive rebounds. Those are two areas we did not do a good job with and hopefully we can improve in that area before our next game on Thursday. When you have a team like we do with players that can score the basketball, they do a great job on the offensive side scoring in terms of numbers, but then you also need those defensive stops. That's where we need to look and give up some offense to have better defensive stops."
For all of the latest information on Florida women’s basketball:
Official Website: www.gatorzone.com/basketball/women
Twitter: @GatorZoneWBK and @CoachButlerUF