Saturday March 2, 2013Women's Hoops Plays at South Carolina in Regular-Season Finale Sunday at 1 p.m.
Jaterra Bonds and the Gators are aiming to win their third consecutive game.
Jaterra Bonds and the Gators are aiming to win their third consecutive game.
Florida travels to Columbia, S.C., to play No. 14/13 South Carolina on Sunday in the regular-season finale for both teams. Tipoff from Colonial Life Arena is set for 1 p.m. ET and will be televised live on SportSouth, FS Southwest and SunSports (Cox Ch. 48 in Gainesville).
The radio broadcast can be heard live on The Star 99.5 FM (WBXY) in Gainesville and on AM930 (WFXJ) in Jacksonville. Live video streaming will be provided through ESPN3.com, blacked out in the SEC footprint.
VIDEO: Coach Butler recap the week and preview Sunday’s game at South Carolina:
The Gators aim to build upon their mini two-game win streak and collect a third straight victory to carry into the Southeastern Conference Tournament with that momentum.
Florida earned a 67-61 road win at Alabama on Sun., Feb. 24 and a 69-58 home victory against Arkansas on Thursday.
“We had some great preparation. I was really proud of the way our kids approached the week,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “We knew Alabama was going to be a big challenge. That’s a tough place to play, one of the most unique gyms in our conference. Then to take the momentum from that really tough win and bring it back here with all the emotions of senior night and wanting to send Jennifer George out properly against a very tough team in Arkansas. We went toe-for-toe in a lot of really different ways. It was obviously a fantastic second half effort that gave us the win.”
Jennifer George, the Gator’s lone senior, posted her ninth double-double in the win against the Razorbacks in her final home appearance.
“Her consistency and the presence she had on the low block, especially on the offensive end, was really what delivered the win,” said Butler of George’s performance against Arkansas. “We had a lot of different pieces that contributed to the win, but her play down the stretch, with back-to-back buckets in the paint were really what made everyone go, ‘there’s no way we’re not winning this game.’”
Sunday’s game against South Carolina will be the second meeting this year between the Gators and Gamecocks.
South Carolina won both regular-season meeting against the Gators last year, snapping Florida’s five-game win streak in the series, and then collected the January 20 win in Gainesville to win its third straight versus the Gators. The last five meetings between the two teams have been decided by eight points or less - and by a combined total of 22 points, with South Carolina winning three and UF two.
With Florida’s leading scorer and rebounder Jennifer George unable to play because of injury, No. 19/18 South Carolina took advantage on the boards and captured a 52-44 decision on January 20 in Gainesville.
The Gators were flat on offense from the start, hitting just one of their first 14 shots from the floor, as the Gamecocks jumped out to an early eight-point lead and were ahead by as many as 11 in the first half, maintaining a lead for the entire game. Florida shot a season-low 29.8 percent (17-57) from the floor during the game, while South Carolina hit a mere 23.4 percent (15-64), the lowest by a Gator opponent this season, but overcame its inept shooting performance with a commanding 59-41 rebounding advantage that included 26 on the offensive end. The rebounding margin was the worst deficit of the year for the Gators, who had entered the game having out-rebounded its last 13 opponents and had lost the battle just three times.
“We had a big letdown as rebounders,” Butler recalled of the earlier meeting against South Carolina. “They got so many opportunities, second opportunities, third opportunities even, off of their offensive rebounds. We did not have the type of rebounding performance that we had to have to not only play with a team like that, but beat a team like that. Jennifer didn’t play in that game because of injury so hopefully her presence in this one will make a difference. We have to do even a better job than we did on Thursday against Arkansas, cleaning our defensive glass. That’s one of the things South Carolina really relies on and will just flat kick your tail if you don’t take care of.”
Thru the games played Thur., Feb. 28, South Carolina boasted the nation’s fourth best scoring defense in the country, allowing just 49.3 points per game, while ranking No. 11 in the nation for rebound margin at 9.0. Florida’s scoring offense ranks 35th in the country, chalking up 70.7 points per game, while shooting 42.8 percent from the floor, a mark that ranks No. 43.
“We have to play our best. They are very good, especially at home,” Butler said. “We played them tough in Gainesville without Jennifer so we have to go in a do our job and take care of business. It’s certainly going to have an impact about how we feeling heading into the SEC Tournament.”
Regardless of Sunday’s result for Florida or any other team, the Gators will be either the No. 8 or No. 9 seed and play the Noon game on Thur., March 7 at The Arena at Gwinett Center in Duluth, Ga. Florida’s opponent will be either Arkansas, Missouri or Mississippi State depending on their respective outcomes on Sunday.
Florida George was named as preseason first-team All-SEC selections by the league’s coaches and media, while USC’s Ieasia Walker was honored as a preseason second-team performer by both.
A Preseason Naismith Player of the Year candidate, George is the SEC’s active career leader in double-doubles with 28, most recently tallied a 13-point, 11-rebound effort against Arkansas. George also is the SEC’s active career leader in rebounds (870), is second for blocks (176) and fifth for steals (157). George leads the Gators in rebounding (8.1), steals (1.9) and blocks (41) and ranks second for scoring (12.0 pg) and field goal percentage (49.5%)
With her fourth of nine assists on Sunday at Alabama, freshman Sydney Moss dished her 100th assist of the season, marking just the 18th time in program history a Gator has charted as many and the first time since 2010-11 when Lanita Bartley had 119. Moss is the fifth freshman in Gator history to dish at least 100 assists in a season, joining Brandi McCain (246 in 1998-99), Camille Ratledge (159 in 1986-87), Amanda Butler (154 in 1990-91) and Roonie Scovel (113 in 1980-81).
Moss is the Gator leader in assists (3.9 apg), ranks second on the team for rebounding (6.3 rpg) and steals (1.5 pg), while ranking third for scoring (10.0 ppg). She has flirted with a triple-double five times.
Among SEC freshmen entering the games of March 3, Moss ranks second for assists, third for rebounding and fourth for scoring. Moss has been the Gator’s game leader for assists 14 times, for rebounding seven times and scoring five times.
Junior Jaterra Bonds is closing in on 100 assists this season, entering Sunday’s game with 99.
The last - and ONLY - time two Gators had 100 assists in the same season was during the 2000-01 campaign, when Tombi Bell had 139 and Brandi McCain has 124 assists.
Overall, Bonds is averaging 12.4 points (leads the team) with 3.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists (second on the team) per game, while netting a team-best 21 double-figure scoring games. Bonds, who is the only Gator who has started every game, ranks sixth in SEC games for scoring (14.6 ppg), fifth for free throw percentage (76.7%), 13th for assist-to-turnover ratio (+0.80) and 13th for assists (3.0 pg).
Eleven of the Gator’s 15 SEC games this year have been decided by eight points or less. Overall, 15 of Florida’s game this season have been decided by 10 points or less (7-8 record).
Over the last five games, redshirt-junior Lily Svete is hitting 50.0 percent of her three-point attempts, nailing 9-of-18. Redshirt-freshman Carlie Needles is sinking 45.5 percent from long range during the last five games, too.
Svete is on pace to set Florida’s single-season record for three-point shooting percentage. Entering Sunday’s game against South Carolina, Svete is converting 42.7 percent (44-103) of her attempts.
Florida (17-12, 6-9 SEC) at #14/13 South Carolina (22-6, 10-5)
Sun., March 3, 2013 * 1 p.m. ET
Colonial Life Arena (18,000)
Game Coverage & More!
Radio: LIVE on The Star 99.5 FM (WBXY) in Gainesville and on AM930 (WFXJ) in Jacksonville with Adam Schick & Brittany Davis
Internet Audio: LIVE thru www.Gatorzone.com (FREE)
Internet Scoring: LIVE thru www.Gatorzone.com (FREE)
Internet Video: ESPN3.com (Blacked out in the SEC footprint)
Television: LIVE on SportSouth, FS Southwest, SunSports (Cox Ch. 48 in Gainesville) with Dave Baker & Elizabeth Moreau
Colonial Life Arena Press Row: 803-777-7977
*this the final regular-season game for both teams
*this is the second regular-season meeting this year between Florida and South Carolina, which won 52-44 in Gainesville on Jan. 20
*each of the last 5 games between the Gators and Gamecocks have been dediced by 8 points or less!
*11 of UF’s 15 SEC games have been decided by 8 points or less
*Overall UF has played 15 games decided by 10 points or less (7-8)
*Jaterra Bonds has led UF in scoring in 8 of its SEC games
*the next game Jennifer George plays will be the 128th of her career, tying her for the second-most played in program history
*Jaterra Bond’s next assist will be her 100th this year
*Bonds has played 968 minutes this year - 32 shy of 1,000
For all of the latest information on Florida women’s basketball:
Official Website: www.gatorzone.com/basketball/women
Twitter: @GatorZoneWBK and @CoachButlerUF