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The Gators used balanced scoring to earn their first win at Auburn since 2004.

Sunday February 10, 2013Gators Defeat Auburn on the Road for First Time Since 2004

Auburn, AL

The Gators used balanced scoring to earn their first win at Auburn since 2004.

Four Gators scored in double-figures and another collected 11 rebounds and Florida defeated Auburn, 65-57, on the road for the first time since Feb. 29, 2004.


The Gators (15-9, 4-6 SEC) trailed by nine points early in the game, but regrouped to tie it by halftime and then took control of the second half, outscoring the Tigers (13-11, 2-9 SEC), 39-31 in the final 20 minutes for its second Southeastern Conference road victory of the season.


“It was a tremendous second-half,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “We played about 30 minutes of really good basketball. We had a slow start again, but I’m really proud of our team for not letting that set the tone for the whole game. When we finally shook that off and decided how good Auburn was and experienced how we needed to play to beat them, I thought we made great changes in intensity.”


Freshman Christin Mercer (Douglasville, Ga.) led the Gators with 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting, while pulling down nine rebounds and just missing her second consecutive double-double.


Jennifer George (Fresno, Calif.) added 11 points and seven rebounds with two blocks and a pair of steals, while Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.) scored all of her 11 points in the second half and all from the free throw line where she connected on 11 of 14 attempts.


Lily Svete (Granger, Ind.) nailed three three-pointers en route to 11 points, with all three of her treys coming in the final 7:16 of the game and each seeming to come after Auburn tied to gain some momentum.


Freshman Sydney Moss (Union, Ky.) collected a career and game-high 11 rebounds, while scoring nine points with a team-best six assists, and helped Florida to the 48-35 rebounding win.


“We had amazing play from different people at different times in the ballgame,” Butler praised. “In the first half, January Miller gave us a great spark and really brought us alive with her two threes. I can’t say enough about the way that Lily (Svete) played today. Her threes in the second half were huge. What’s not as obvious is how Lily played on defense. She played a great defensive game. We had a very, very specific defensive game plan and Lily followed it to a ‘T.’ I’m really, really proud of the way she played.”


Similar to the first half, Mercer scored the first points of the period and Auburn countered with the next four, but this time the Gators didn’t allow the Tigers to march off 11 straight points.


George used her upperbody strength to convert a layup as she was falling down after being fouled and then converted the ensuing free throw that gave UF a 31-30 lead.


Bonds followed with two more points from the charity stripe for the Gators, who then held their largest lead of three points with 17:07 remaining.


The teams traded buckets for the next minute and a half before Blanche Alverson, who finished with 10 points and eight rebounds, knocked down three free throws and tied the game at 35-all.


Bonds connected on two from the line for Florida before Tyrese Tanner, who ended with a game-high 17 points, hit a bucket and the game was tied for the sixth and final time, as Moss hit a bucket and sparked a 10-1 run and the Gator’s lead grew to nine points, 47-38, with 8:07 remaining.


Moss scored two more buckets, both off offensive rebounds, and Kayla Lewis added four more points, including the final two on a fastbreak layup.


Alverson halted UF’s run of eight straight points with a deep three-pointer, but Moss hit one free throw. She missed the second and Lewis corralled the rebound and found Svete open on the wing where she nailed her first three-pointer.


Auburn hit two more free throws, before Svete struck again from deep and Florida led 54-43 with 6:26 remaining.


The teams traded scores over the next two minutes, before Svete canned her third three-pointer that gave Florida a 59-47 lead with 3:37 on the clock. That would be the Gator’s final field goal of the contest, as the team was able to convert 6-of-10 the rest of the way to earn the big road victory.


Florida converted just one of its first nine shot attempts and committed seven turnovers that helped Auburn sprint out to an 11-2 lead during the first eight minutes and 12 seconds of the game.


Christin Mercer scored the game’s first points, before the Tigers ripped off the next 11, with six points coming from Tyrese Tanner. Moss dished the assists on that first field goal, her 75th assist of the season.


January Miller finally halted UF’s cold streak and Auburn’s run with a three-pointer from the right side. Tanner quickly answered with a long jumper for the Tigers, but Mercer stuck again inside and Miller drained another trey that brought the Gators within three points, 13-10, with 9:33 to go in the first half.


The teams traded field goals for the next two minutes, as Florida remained within one point of the Tigers as the Gators hit 6-of-8 following their game-opening tough shooting stretch.


After Svete knocked down two free throws, her first attempts since Dec. 21 against Central Michigan, that brought Florida with one with 5:49 remaining, George hit a tough turnaround in the paint and gave the Gators a 20-19 lead.


Hasina Muhammad struck back 14 seconds later and swung the lead back in Auburn’s favor, as she tacked on two more free throws for a three-point lead with 3:13 to go.


Mercer again dropped another short shot, but Blanche Alverson connected on three free throws after being fouled on a long-range attempt and Auburn’s lead was back at four, 26-22, with 1:46 remaining.


Mercer scored her 10th point of the half on another field goal, before Moss connected on a bucket inside with 46 seconds on the clock that tied the game at 26.


Those were the final points of the period, as Florida found a way to erase an early nine-point deficit and ended the frame with a 36.7 percent (11-30) shooting mark and had just 10 turnovers after committed seven in the first eight-plus minutes of the game.


The Gators return to action on Thursday, Feb. 14, when the team travels to College Station, Texas, and plays No. 14/16 Texas A&M. The start time for the Valentine’s Day contest is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET and will be televised live by CSS (COX Sports/Charter Sports Southeast), which can be seen in Gainesville on Cox channel 259.



Postgame Notes

*UF won for the first time at Auburn since Feb. 29, 2004

*Sunday’s win was UF’s eighth game in 10 SEC games that have been decided by eight points or less; 12th game overall this year decided by 10 points or less

*UF improved to 3-5 in true road games this season

*UF’s first game this year that was tied at halftime

*UF won the rebounding battle for the 17th time this season (13-4 in those games)

*freshman Christin Mercer scored in double-figures for the third time; one rebound shy of her second double-double

*senior Jennifer George scored in double-figures for the 16th time this year and 56th time in her career

*red-shirt junior Lily Svete scored in double-figures for the fourth time this year and the fifth time in her career

*junior Jaterra Bonds scored in double-figures for the 16th time this year and the 44th time in her career

*freshman Sydney Moss collected a career-high 11 rebounds for her third double-figure rebounding game

*Bonds dished her 250th career assist during the game

*Moss dished her 75th assist of the year during the game

*Bonds started her 70th career game

*Mercer topped the 100-rebound plateau with her eighth of nine boards during the game

*Mercer was UF’s leading scorer for the second time this year; second consecutive game

*Moss was UF’s leading rebounder for the seventh time and the leader for assists 11 times


Postgame Quotes


Auburn Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy

Opening statement…
“Unfortunately this is another game that goes in the category of we should have won or we could have won. Of course it’s a tough night without our starting point guard.”


On losing the point guard…
“When you lose your point guard it’s like losing your quarterback. It’s like losing your pitcher. It’s a lot.”


On Chadarryl Clay’s performance…
“She had 28 minutes on the floor, 6 assists, and 6 turnovers. She tried.


On the frustration…
“It’s very frustrating. We haven’t been rebounding very well the last couple of games and it’s been giving up offensive rebounds.  Offensive rebounding is nothing but a certain type of skill, it’s just an extra effort to want to go get it and Florida wanted to go get the ball. We did not do our job of boxing out and making a conscious effort for us when that was one of our main goals going into the game because we knew how well they rebounded .”


On changing the outcome…
“Honestly I don’t know. Every game goes from one thing to the next. Today we shot 15 for 18 from the free throw. Against Georgia we go 3 for 15, so if we made the free throws, we probably could havewon the game. We came back and made it this game, but we give up 20 offensive rebounds. I don’t know.”


Florida Head Coach Amanda Butler

Opening statement…
“We gave a tremendous second-half effort. We played, I thought, probably about 30 minutes of good basketball, maybe 28. We had a really, really slow start, and again I’m really proud of our team for that not setting the tone for the whole game. When we finally shook that off and we decided how good Auburn was and what it was going to feel like to have to play to beat them, I thought we made great changes of intensity, but we had just amazing play from people at different times in the ballgame. In the first half January Miller gave us a great spark that really kind of got us alive with her two 3s. I just can’t say enough about the way that Lily (Svete) played today. Her 3s in the second half were huge, and the things that aren’t as obvious by watching on TV or hearing in the arena, she played a great defensive game. We had a very, very specific defensive game plan for this game, and Lily followed it to a T. That’s huge for her. I was really, really proud of the way she played.”


On shots opening for Lily Svete…
“There’s no question. People watch us play and scout us, and I think they have to have an answer for our low block. Jennifer (George) gets a lot of attention, and that allows Lily when she’s on that back side, if she’s in the passer’s vision, to find her spot and find her shot. She’s just doing a great job of knocking those down, playing really confidently with the ball in her hands, doing a great job of positioning without the ball, and also her teammates are doing a fantastic job of finding her. When you look at Sydney Moss today having six assists, she got the ball to Lily when she was open, and it’s always great teamwork that leads to those wide-open baskets.”


On Blanche Alverson…
“I don’t really feel like we shut her down. She scored 10, only hit one 3, and she’s a great player. We have a lot of respect for her. Every year, but certainly this year, we wanted to really make a great effort and try not to let Blanche get her looks because if she gets them, she’s money. She’s going to put it in. Again, we did a really good job of following the defensive game plan today. That’s what you’re supposed to do after a bye week, use your extra time to really make it work to your advantage. I think we did that on defense more than anything. I’m really, really proud of that.


On keeping momentum after a bye week…
“It’s huge. The other thing is, people will look at Auburn’s record and only winning two games in the SEC and think this isn’t a good team, and it’s just not true. These guys were shorthanded tonight as well. Their starting point guard was out, and that certainly played a role in how they felt about themselves and their confidence going into the ballgame. It’s huge for us just to continue to build momentum and at the same time have that grind and the work ethic everyday, and we’re still just hungry and trying to get better. Every single day, whatever the challenge is, we don’t want to just get better. We want to whip it. We want to get better on a whole other level and not get satisfied at all and continue to play our best basketball in February.



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