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Sydney Moss posted the third double-double of her career.

Sunday March 3, 2013Florida Falls at South Carolina in Regular-Season Finale

Columbia, SC

Sydney Moss posted the third double-double of her career.

Freshman Sydney Moss (Union, Ky.) recorded her third career double-double and led three Gators in double-figure scoring, but it wasn’t enough to upset No. 14/13 South Carolina, which earned the 67-56 decision at Colonial Life Arena in the final regular-season game for both teams.


Both teams now travel to Duluth, Ga., for the Southeastern Conference Tournament that gets underway on Wed., March 6 at The Arena at Gwinett Center.


The entire bracket for the five-day event will be announced later Sunday evening.


Florida (17-13, 6-10 SEC) was within two points, 44-42, with 8:30 remaining before South Carolina (22-6, 10-5 SEC) ripped off a 19-7 run and the Gators wouldn’t recover. Ten of SC’s points during the game-changing run came from the free throw line, where it scored its final eight points as well as 16 of its 24 attempts during the second frame.


The Gamecocks also won the rebounding battle, 38-33, with 18 of their boards coming on the offensive end.


While South Carolina hit just one more field goal than Florida, the difference came at the free throw line where the Gamecocks converted 21-of-35, while the Gators managed just 11-of-15 during the game.


“They did a great a job. Offensive rebounding is their game and that’s what they did, especially in the first half,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “We were doing what we were supposed to for the most part, except boxing out and getting those rebounds. They continually got to the free throw line which is hard to withstand.


“We seemingly had a tough time getting ourselves to the free throw line and they got there 24 times in the second half alone and that was hard to overcome,” Butler continued. “We talked about making plays when we needed to make plays. When we opportunities to make plays and make reads we didn’t capitalize as much as we needed to.”


South Carolina scored the first six points of the second half and Florida was able to trim its deficit to three points three minutes later, but the Gamecocks’ Tiffany Mitchell hit the team’s first three-pointer of the game and Ashley Bruner followed with a transition bucket and the host’s lead swelled to eight, 39-31, with 13:42 remaining.


January Miller nailed a three for Florida to start an 11-5 spurt and the Gators were within two points, 44-42, with 8:30 to play. Moss, George, Bonds and Christin Mercer also scored during the run.


Khadijah Session answered with a three-pointer and Session followed with a pair of three throws.


Bonds connected on a 12-foot jumper and had Florida back within five points, 49-44, with 7:28 to go.


South Carolina then used a 14-5 run with eight of those points coming from the free throw line, and took a 63-49 lead with 2:30 to play and Florida couldn’t recover.


Bonds finally ended the string of eight straight points with a driving layup at the 1:57 mark, and Florida trailed 63-51.


Moss finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and three assists, while Jaterra Bonds added 12 points and four assists, but committed nine of UF’s 23 turnovers that SC converted into 23 points. Jennifer George, UF’s lone senior, contributed 10 points, seven rebounds and four blocks in the final regular season game of her career.


“We always want Sydney to think like a scorer and to be attacking and making plays after she’s been stopped as a scorer and for the most part she did a good job of that today,” Butler said.


The first half alone featured eight tied scores and four lead changes, with the Gators holding as much as a four-point advantage, 24-20, with 2:48 remaining.


South Carolina came right back with a bucket from Tiffany Mitchell and a pair of free throws from Aleighas Welch and tied the game with 1:07 left in the period.


Moss added one from the charity stripe and the Gamecocks followed with one to close the scoring deadlocked at 25.


It was the second time this year the Gators were tied at half, the other was at Auburn on February 10 and Florida emerged with the 65-57 road win.


Moss was Florida’s scoring leader in the first half, contributing nine points, as five different Gators netted scores.


Ieasia Walker led all scorers after the first 20 minutes, as the SC senior tallied 12 on 5-of-8 shooting. Five of her points came during the opening five minutes, as she helped the Gamecocks build a 9-4 edge.


The Gators fought back with a 11-4 run to take a two point cushion.


The teams traded scores for the next few minutes until the Gators were able to take the 24-20 lead after Jennifer George knocked down two free throws after Carlie Needles had drilled a three-pointer from the right side.


On Florida’s first scoring play of the game, Jaterra Bonds dished to Moss and she recorded her 100th assist of the year, the 19th time a Gator has notched as many in a season. Moss already record 100, making this just the second time in program history the Gators have fielded two players with at least 100 assists. The only other time was during the 2000-01 campaign when Tombi Bell and Brandi McCain both topped the century mark.




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