Friday March 8, 2013Bonds Hits Scoring Milestone, Moss Nets Career-High in SEC QF Loss to Tennessee, 82-73
Jaterra Bonds became the 22nd Gator to score 1,000 career points.
Junior Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.) became the 22nd Gator to score 1,000 career points, freshman Sydney Moss (Union, Ky.) scored a game and career-high 22 points but Florida wasn’t able to overcome an early deficit in an 82-73 loss to top-seeded and ninth-ranked Tennessee in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament held at the Gwinnett Center on Friday afternoon.
The Gators (18-14) now await word of their postseason fate. The NCAA Tournament selections will be announced on Monday, March 18 beginning at 7 p.m. on ESPN, while the WNIT selections will be revealed late Monday evening through www.womensnit.com.
VIDEO: 2Ways2Watch the official postgame press conference where Coach Butler Jaterra Bonds and Sydney Moss fielded questions from the media
Florida found itself trailing 17-4 just 5:34 into the game, but found a way to whittle the deficit to two points, 24-22, thanks to an 18-7 run over the next 4:31.
Carlie Needles ( Highlands Ranch, Col.), who finished with 12 points, contributed a pair of three-pointers during the spree, while Bonds added five points, Moss four and Lily Svete (Granger, Ind.) a trey.
Tennessee (24-6) immediately countered with a 21-10 run over the ensuing 8:04 and built a 45-32 lead with 1:30 remaining until halftime.
During the run, Bonds drilled a three-pointer at the 3:54 mark which put her career scoring total at exactly 1,000 points, as well as had Florida within six points, 38-32.
The teams traded baskets for the final 1:30 of the first half and the Gators found themselves down 47-36 entering the locker room.
For the most part, Tennessee and Florida traded scores the entire second half, with the Gators managing to get within six points three times in the final 50 seconds, but couldn’t get any closer.
“We're obviously very disappointed. We didn't come here to play close or make it respectable, with any other expectation except to win,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “Tennessee did a great job of getting themselves to the free‑throw line and really capitalized on those opportunities. We did a below average job of defense in the first half. In our locker room, we thought that was the story of the game. Played a tough and gutsy second half. Against a good team, you can't pick and choose. You have to bring it possession by possession. Have to give credit to Tennessee the way they played throughout.”
Tennessee hit 48.2 percent (27-56) of its shots from the floor during the game, including 5-of-13 from the three-point arc and 23-of-28 from the free throw line.
After a slow start, Florida converted 41.1 percent (30-73) overall, with 7-of-18 from long range and just 6-of-7 from the line, while losing the rebounding battle, 37-34.
Moss led the Gators in scoring and assists (6) and tied for team-high rebound honors with seven. Bonds contributed 18 points, five rebounds and three assists in 39 minutes before fouling out. Needles tallied 12 points for her first double-figure scoring game since the 12 points she netted in the January 13 meeting against the Lady Vols.
Jennifer George (Fresno, Calif.), Florida’s lone senior, finished with six points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.
“The brief conversation we had in the locker room, and we'll have much more in‑depth ones as we go into the next phase for us, we still got a lot of learning to do, a lot of growing up to do in terms of how to bring your best over and over and over again, possession to possession to possession, half to half,” said Butler of what she wants the Gators to take from today’s loss.
“We still have too many people that play a great second half or lead us in the first half and then are nowhere to be found the second half,” Butler continued. “That process of learning what my best is, and I think we're getting closer to realizing that, doing a better job of being more self‑aware. What my best is and how I continually put that at the forefront, that's where we're at. We're not as consistent with that as we should be.”
Tennessee had six different players score in double-figures, led by Meighan Simmons’ 20 points.
After Moss scored the first field goal of the game, Tennessee ripped off the next 12 points. Moss then hit a floater in the paint to halt the spurt, but the Lady Vols came right back with the next five and assumed a 17-4 advantage just 5:34 into the contest.
The Gators, who made just 1-of-8 from the floor to start, composed themselves and Moss scored the next four points and Jaterra Bonds nailed the first of her two three-pointers in the opening frame and cut the deficit to six points, 17-11, with 12:12 remaining.
Tennessee then knocked down two more from the free throw line, as the Lady Vols connected on 15-of-18 from the charity stripe compared with UF’s 0-of-1 effort.
The Gators kept fighting and their shots began to fall with more accuracy, as Bonds hit a tough shot inside and Needles drilled the first of three three-pointers in the frame and Florida was within three points with 11:03 to go.
UT answered Needles trey with one from Simmons, but Needles struck again. Kamiko Williams then hit a jumper before Lily Svete’s trey brought Florida within two points, 24-22, with 9:55 on the clock.
Tennessee scored the next five points and assumed a 29-22 lead.
Bonds connected on a jumper for the Gators and after an offensive putback for the Lady Vols, Needles canned another three-pointer and had Florida back within four points 31-27, with 7:38 on the clock.
That’s when Tennessee ripped off a 14-5 run and took a 45-32 advantage with 1:30 on the clock.
During the spree, Bonds hit her second trey of the game that was the 1,000th point of her career, as she became the 22nd Gator to reach the scoring milestone.
January Miller (Orlando, Fla.) dropped in a jumper with 79 seconds remaining until the break that stopped a 7-0 UT run, but UT followed with on, before Moss closed the period’s scoring with jumper in the paint with 34 seconds remaining.
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