Thursday January 31, 2013Florida Drops Tough Road Game at Missouri, 69-64
Vicky McIntyre scored 12 points for the Gators.
Vicky McIntyre scored 12 points for the Gators.
For the most part, Florida contained Missouri’s potent three-point attack, holding the nation’s third-best outside shooting team to seven treys. The Tigers, however, outscored the Gators 30-22 in the paint and handed Florida its fifth consecutive loss, 69-64.
The Gator’s struggle at the free throw line followed them to Mizzou Arena, where they hit just 13-of 24 from the stripe.
Jennifer George scored 11 of her team-high 13 points in the second half, when Florida was outscored 37-30, and hit only 11-of-34 from the floor.
Seven of UF’s eight games in the Southeastern Conference this year have been decided by eight points or less.
“Missouri answered each of our runs consistently throughout tonight’s game,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “When we made runs, they answered them with confidence and made the plays they expected to make. We’re lacking in that area. We have a consistency and reliability problem and it’s a bad time of year to be experiencing that because you’re going to play great teams every night and we good beat by a really good one today.”
Junior transfer Vicky McIntyre scored 12 points to match her Gator-career-high, while adding four rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.
“Vicky had a great night offensively,” Butler said. “I was really proud of Mac. She did her job and that’s one of the things we’ve been focused on the last couple of days.”
Playing its first ever game in the state of Missouri, the Gators (13-9, 2-6 SEC) rallied from a nine-point deficit with 7:02 remaining and tied the game with 1:36 to go, but couldn’t score the rest of the way as the Tigers (14-8, 3-5 SEC) took the first-ever meeting in the series.
Although Missouri scored the first points of the second half, Florida came back with buckets from McIntyre and Jaterra Bonds and took a 38-34 lead.
The Tigers dropped UF’s lead to one and the team’s traded scored for the next minute before Jennifer George put back an offensive rebound and Christin Mercer converted a reverse layup and helped spark a 8-2 run that helped the Gators build a 48-41 lead.
Mercer hit another jumper during the spurt and McIntyre connected on a shot inside that forced the Tigers to call a timeout.
The Tigers responded, as Lianna Doty, who finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, canned Missouri’s first three-point of the second half and ignited a 17-1 run and Missouri assumed a 58-49 lead with 7:02 remaining.
Florida then began another charge after it called a timeout, as Lily Svete nailed a three-pointer, Bonds hit one free throw and January Miller, who finished the night with five points and team-high seven rebounds, put back an offensive rebound.
Bree Flower stopped the mini-run with a three-point play, but George countered with one for Florida and then followed with one free throw that brought the Gators within two points, 61-59 with 2:53 to play.
The Tigers came back with a free throw, but George knocked down two more from the stripe and Florida was within one with 2:42 on the clock. The teams traded scores before George connected on an inside jumper at the 2:06 mark and followed with one more free throw to tie the game at 64-all with 1:36 left.
George’s bucket would be Florida’s final field goal of the game and it couldn’t score the rest of the way, as Sydney Crafton connected on back-to-back shots in the paint and Doty hit one free throw with 22.7 seconds remaining to end the game’s scoring.
Florida scored the final 14 points of the first half and erased a 12-point deficit to take a 34-32 halftime edge, as Jaterra Bonds zipped in a 10-foot jumper with two seconds remaining in the period that gave the Gators their first lead of the game.
Missouri showed why it was the nation’s third-best three-point shooting team during the opening half, connecting on four of its first five attempts that helped build a 32-20 lead with 4:40 remaining, as the Tigers used a 9-0 run to take the 12-point advantage and forced Florida to call its second timeout of the frame.
The Gators settled, as Vicky McIntyre connected on both ends of a one-and-one and Lily Svete sparked the team with back-to-back three-pointers. Sydney Moss followed with an alley-oop from Bonds that kept the momentum rolling.
Christin Mercer then stepped up with an eight-footer from the left corner with 52 seconds remaining and tied the game at 32. Florida stopped Missouri on its next defensive stand, but turned the ball over. Morgan Eye, who converted 4-of-7 treys during the opening stanza, missed on her attempt with 37 seconds remaining and the rebound went to Florida, as the Gators worked the final possession to perfection with Bonds nailing the go-ahead bucket.
Florida stepped up its defense effort during that final 4:40, causing four Missouri turnovers, while the Tigers missed four shots during that span and didn’t get a second chance opportunity.
All nine Gators who dressed for the game, scored during the first half as Svete and McIntyre were the team’s leaders with six points each.
*Vicky McIntyre’s 12 points tied the most she’s scored as a Gator; fourth double-figure scoring game this year
*January Miller collected a team-best seven rebounds, a career-high; first time in her career she has been the team’s leading rebounder in a game
*Jennifer George played in her 120th career game, tying her for 10th all-time
*George scored a team-best 13 points for her 15th double-figure scoring game this year and the 55th of her career
*Jaterra Bonds started her 55th consecutive game
*UF featured a new starting lineup of Bonds, Lewis, Needles, Moss and George; seventh straight game with a different starting lineup
*just the second time this year the Gators lost after leading at halftime
*UF’s first-ever meeting against Missouri
*UF’s first-ever game played in the state of Missouri
*all nine Gators who dressed for the game, scored; 10th time this year
*sixth straight game UF has shot less than 68% from the free throw line
*UF’s fifth straight loss
*the five-point outcome marked UF’s 11th game this year decided by 10 points or less (5-6); seventh of eight SEC games decided by eight points or less (2-7)
Missouri Head Coach Robin Pingeton
"I'm just really proud of our girls. This is a huge win for us. Going into this game after that Texas A&M game, we had a little team pow-wow in the practice gym. We talked a lot about how our backs were against the wall and how were we going to respond. I just really liked our focus all week in practice. It's just a great team win. It wasn't perfect but at different times, different players stepped up for us. We had a nice lead early, then they came back and led by as many eight or nine but I didn't think we wavered. I felt like we had the mindset that we were really going to find a way. I just thought it was a great team win and I'm really happy for our players."
On the message at halftime...
"We just talked defensively about some adjustments we needed to make and more importantly offensively we felt like we could execute a lot better than what we were. We talked about some screening action. We just needed to stay aggressive. A couple of possessions we kind of got on our heels. When we're willing to swing the ball side to side and really cut hard on our screening action, good things are going to happen for us. We just had to stay the course. I can't speak for them but I felt like tonight we had the mindset that we were going to find a way. It wasn't always perfect but they played hard."
On free throw shooting...
"If anything I've been surprised that we're not shooting it better from that free throw line. We spend quite a bit of time on it in practice and challenge our players to get in the gym outside of practice and get their shots in. We started a little something different about a week ago within our practices, just to try and make it a little bit more competitive. It seems like it has been a good thing for us. It's really helped with our focused."
On the last two minutes...
"I thought it was huge and I think you see a lot of growth in our team. I'm really proud of them. No matter what, when you change conferences it's tough. It's new personnel, new styles of play, and new venues. Whether you're a veteran team or a young team, it's going to be challenging. I just think our girls continue to grow and continue to be hungry. They show a lot of resiliency. That second half against Texas A&M, I was really proud of the resiliency they showed. We just have to stay the course. It's not easy. Nobody's expectations are higher than what we have of ourselves. We just have to hang in there and stay true to the process. We do things the right way and work hard every day. If we give our very best, everything else will take care of itself. That's part of the process of building a program."
Missouri Player Quotes
Senior Forward, Liz Smith
having confidence going into the final two minutes...
"I knew, as a team, we were going out with that. Whatever happens, we are going to fight so there was no doubt in my mind that we were going to play hard. It was really exciting we pulled out the win."
On Sydney Crafton's shot with 30 seconds left...
"That was really exciting. I told her when we went into the locker room I saw that one go up and I was already running back. It was a big time play on her part."
On Lianna Doty's ten rebound night...
"She told me her secret on rebounds earlier and it was just a matter of time. So, I am not surprised at all, she could do it every time."
Freshman Guard, Liana Doty
the feeling having the ball in the last two seconds of the game...
"It was a great feeling, because like Coach said not everything went our way that game, but every one on the team came out and played hard. As a point guard, you can't ask for anything more than your teammates when they come out and fight each and every game like that, you are going to win a lot of basketball games. I was so proud of my teammates."
the two, big threes in the second half...
"It was just great ball movement and I think Bri hit me on both of those. I remember Liz set a phenomenal screen, and it just takes a team effort. You knock them down, because that's why you get in the gym."
the inbounds play after a timeout...
"We were either looking for the three from Morgan or if not they were switching and we were going to go backdoor. We came out and executed and cut hard and that's what Coach keeps telling us. You are going to get open looks, and good looks, and we just came in and executed well."
Florida Head Coach Amanda Butler
"Missouri played a great ball game, and clearly they did it constantly throughout. When we made runs they answered them with confidence and made the plays that they expected to make. We are just lacking in that area, we have a consistency and a reliability problem and it's a bad time of year to be experiencing that because you are going to play great teams every night and we got beat by a really good one today."
the night that junior center Vicky McIntyre had tonight...
"She had a great night. Offensively, I was really proud of Vicky McIntyre and she did her job. That's one of the things we have been focused on the past couple of days, is talking a lot about that reliability factor and in the paint, particularly on the offensive end, she really did her job. The defensive end is a tough match-up with the way Missouri plays, but again she did a great job and was glad to see her do that and now we have to carry that into Sunday, that's our challenge, that we are having trouble with."
putting an emphasis on rebounding at half...
"Well you would be surprised to know that it was an emphasis before the ball game as well. Again Missouri does a great job of boxing out and you have to give their coaches a lot of credit for that in the way they prepare their kids to try and keep SEC teams off the boards. I felt like in the first half that we really just accepted getting boxed out, which was something I thought we had prepared well for but clearly we did not and which is my fault. When things, I think, got really urgent and maybe fatigue became a little bit more of a factor we were able to grab a few more, but again we are lacking the consistency from one half to another."
the challenge of guarding Missouri...
"Well they have four people on the floor at all times that if you leave them open they are going to make you pay. Their big girl, Liz Smith, did a great job I thought tonight of really dictating, particularly in the first half, and which was again one of our areas of consistency that I was really disappointed. We felt like our advantage should be in the paint and she didn't allow that to happen, in the first half. Now we gathered ourselves and made more of an impact in the second half, but they are very balanced and if you leave any of them open they are confident behind the three-point line and what it comes down to is they really made plays when it counted and so you have to give them credit for that.
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