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Coach Butler called Monday's victory "a great team win."

Monday March 25, 2013Women's Hoops Advances to WNIT Sweet 16 with Big Win at Winthrop

Rock Hill, SC

Coach Butler called Monday's victory "a great team win."

Five Gators scored in double-figures and Florida defeated Winthrop 85-53 in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament second round at Winthrop Coliseum on Monday evening.


In what was billed by the school as the ‘biggest home game ever,’ a program-record crowd of 1,254 Eagle fans watched the Gators produce their second-largest margin of victory in 23 postseason wins in program history. Only the 89-49, 40-point win against Radford in the first round of the 1995 NCAA Tournament was a more dominating performance for Florida.


VIDEO: Postgame Reaction from Coach Butler, January Miller, Kayla Lewis and Christin Mercer

You Tube:

On Monday, the Gators (20-14) outscored Winthrop (21-12) 18-5 in the last 6:20 of the first half to take a 44-28 lead into the locker room and then opened the second half on a 10-4 run to take a 54-32 lead and never looked back en route to the dominate 32-point victory, the third-largest margin of the season.


“This was probably one of our most complete wins of the season when you look at scoring, rebounding, tempo, defense and the distribution of minutes and points,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “This was a fantastic team win against a very good team.”


Florida advances to the WNIT round of 16 and plays at Charlotte (26-5) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The 49ers defeated Davidson, 72-60, in their second round game on Sunday.


Freshman January Miller (Orlando, Fla.) scored a game-high 16 points, while freshman Christin Mercer (Douglasville, Ga.) and redshirt-sophomore Kayla Lewis (Decatur, Ga.) both tallied 15 points.


Freshman Sydney Moss (Union, Ky.) posted her fourth double-double of the year with 13 points and a game and career-high-tying 11 rebounds along with four assists and two steals.


Junior Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.) recorded 12 points and four assists for her seventh consecutive double-figure scoring game and her 25th of the season, as she started her 67th straight game and moved into sole possession of fourth on UF’s all-time chart in the category.


This was the fifth time this season five Gators scored in double-figures and all five has resulted in victories.


“I loved our tempo,” Butler said. “I thought we played great defense and we had Florida tempo and that’s really, really important for us. Winthrop is a very good team and we had a lot of respect for them entering this ballgame. Winning the battle of the paint and having the scoring balance that we did was huge. We did a good job of securing the low block with Christin Mercer.”


Winthrop featured the 2013 Big South Player of the Year and the 2013 Big South Freshman of the Year in Dequesha McClanahan and Schaquilla Nunn and the Gators were able to contain the potent offensive stars. McClanahan finished with 15 points on 7-of-23 shooting, while Nunn tallied two points and did not even attempt a field goal.


“We knew we had to get McClanahan and Nunn out of synch and trapping was one of those things,” Butler shared. “We have a lot of respect for both of them and we knew we had to have some wrinkles in our defense to handle what they were going to be like.”


Florida shot 51.6 percent (32-62) from the floor, including 9-of-18 from the three-point arc and 12-of-18 from the free throw line in the first-ever meeting against Winthrop.


Redshirt-junior Lily Svete (Granger, Ind.) and Miller both went 3-of-5 from long range, while Bonds knocked down a pair and Moss nailed one from deep.


Winthrop managed to convert 33.3 percent (22-66) overall from the field, which included a 4-of-23 effort from the three-point line.


The Gators also won the rebounding battle, 44-36, and outscored the Eagles, 38-24, in the paint.


Jennifer George (Fresno, Calif.), UF’s lone senior, collected eight rebounds and topped the 900-rebound plateau for her career, as she became one of only seven Gators in program history to record at least 900 rebounds and score 1,000 career points.


The win also marked Florida’s 13th 20-win season in program history. Butler has led the Gators to four 20-win seasons in her six years on the sideline.


Florida outscored Wintrhop 18-5 in the final 6:20 of the first half and extended its three-point lead to 16 by the time the halftime horn sounded.


Seven of the eight Gators who dressed for the game had scored and Florida hit 53.3 percent (16-30) from the floor, including a 5-of-11 effort from the three-point arc and 7-of-9 from the free throw line.


The Gators used runs of 12-0 and 10-0 during the second half to pull away from the Eagles, who were coming off the program’s first-ever postseason victory.


Winthrop scored the first bucket of the game before Florida ripped off the next eight points, with Christin Mercer, Lily Svete, Jennifer George and Jaterra Bonds each netting points and forcing the Eagles to call a timeout.


The home team responded with a 12-2 run over the next 2:09 and took a 14-10 lead with 14:14 to play in the first half.


That’s when the Gators got hot from the outside, where January Miller and Bonds nailed four consecutive three-pointers as part of a 14-0 spurt during the next 3:07 of the game, as Miller accounted for eight of her 13 first half points during the march and helped Florida take a 24-14 lead.


Samilya Wright halted UF’s run and Dequesha McClanahan followed with a driving layup and sparked a 9-2 run and cut Florida’s lead to three points, 26-23, with 6:35 remaining in the period.


Sydney Moss put back an offensive rebound and converted a layup after Bonds’ steal and pass, before Kalya Lewis converted a three-point play and had Florida’s lead back to 10 points, 33-23.


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Twitter: @GatorZoneWBK  and  @CoachButlerUF 



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