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Jaterra Bonds had the ball in her hand for the final shot - and made it!

Wednesday March 27, 2013Jaterra Bonds' Last-Second Jumper Lifts Gators Over Charlotte in WNIT Round of 16, 67-65

Charlotte, NC

Jaterra Bonds had the ball in her hand for the final shot - and made it!

Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.) hit a short jumper in the paint with three seconds remaining and Florida rallied late for a thrilling 67-65 victory against Charlotte in the round of 16 at Women’s National Invitation Tournament played at Halton Arena Wednesday night.


The Gators trailed by four points with 1:05 remaining before freshman January Miller (Orlando, Fla.) drilled a three-pointer with 52 seconds on the clock. Freshman Christin Mercer (Douglasville, Ga.) then came up with her career-best fourth steal of the game with 24 seconds left.





VIDEO – 2Ways2Watch:

Coach Butler, Jaterra Bonds and Jennifer George talk about the victory:

You Tube:

Jai Forney fouled Bonds on a shot attempt, sending UF’s top free thrower to the line. She made the first and tied the game at 65 with 20.1 seconds remaining, but missed the second attempt. Jennifer George (Fresno, Calif.), the Gator’s lone senior, collected the miss – just her fourth rebound of the game - and the Gators called a timeout to draw up the final play that worked to perfection, as Bonds spun in the paint and dropped in the floater for the victory.


“I’m so proud of our fight, our resilience,” said UF’s Amanda Butler, who coached at Charlotte for four years prior to becoming the head coach at her alma mater. “We did not play our best ball game and that had everything to do with the way Charlotte played. You have to give them a lot of credit for the way they made us play and the things they took advantage of. I thought they played with a lot of fight and a lot of heart.


“Down the stretch, we just wouldn’t give up,” Butler continued. “I thought we had great leadership from Jaterra and Jennifer. I knew when Jaterra missed that second one (free throw) that if the ball was in her hands for the last possession, which is where we were going to put it, that we were going to win because of her toughness and determination. This was a great postseason ball game. This is what you’re supposed to see this time of year.”


Florida (21-14) advances to the WNIT quarterfinals and plays at James Madison (25-10) on Saturday. The Dukes defeated Fordham, 77-61, in their round of 16 game on Wednesday. Tip-off time at the JMU Convocation Center in Harrisonburg, Va., is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET.


This is the third time in program history the Gators have reached the quarterfinals of a national postseason tournament, not including the 1985 team’s run to the final of the NWIT that was a 16-team event. Florida reached the Elite 8 of the 1997 NCAA Tournament and won four games to advance to the championship game of the 2000 WNIT.


Bonds finished with a team-high 15 points, while George recorded 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting and freshman Sydney Moss (Union, Ky.) added 10 points, nine rebounds and five assists.


Senior Jennifer Hailey led all scorers and four 49ers in double-figure scoring with 19 points, while Amanda Dowe added 15 points and 12 rebounds for Charlotte, which held the 37-35 rebounding edge.


Florida led 34-28 at halftime, but Charlotte (26-6) began the second half on a 19-8 run and took a 47-42 lead with 12:28 remaining, as the 49ers outrebounded the Gators 11-3 during that span.


Charlotte answered each Florida score with one of its own until Mercer putback her own miss and then connected on a driving layup from the left and had the Gators within one, 49-48, with 9:43 on the clock.


The Gators managed to tie the game at 51 after freshman Carlie Needles (Highlands Ranch, Col.) drilled a three-pointer with 9:04 remaining, but the 49ers came right back with the next four points to regain the lead.


Bonds hit a jumper, but Hailey countered for Charlotte, before Bonds knocked down another shot and sophomore Kayla Lewis (Decatur, Ga.) finished an inside jumper after a nifty pass from Moss and the Gators took the 57-56 lead with 6:04 to play.


The lead was short lived, however, as Hillary Sigmon drilled a three-pointer and Jai Forney collected a missed free throw and put back the offensive rebound that gave Charlotte the 61-57 lead with 4:58 remaining.


The teams then traded buckets for the next 54 seconds, as the Gators still trailed by two points with 4:04 to go.


Florida had four opportunities to tie or take the lead, but committed a turnover on each offensive possession, three of those miscues unforced during the 2:59 scoreless span, as the Gator’s defense stood strong.


Ny Hammonds, who finished with eight assists, finally broke the scoring draught with a 16-footer from the right side and gave Charlotte the 65-61 lead with 1:05 remaining.


That set the stage for Florida’s final push, scoring the last six points in the remaining 52 seconds for the win.


The game was Florida’s 19th this year decided by 10 points or less, with the Gators winning 10 of those.


Florida closed the first half on a 14-3 run capped by Sydney Moss’ turn-around fade-away jumper at the buzzer off an offensive rebound  and took a 34-28 lead into the locker room.


The Gators found themselves trailing 25-20 with 4:48 left in the half before starting the run when Moss scored six points. January Miller converted a three-point play, Bonds added an outside jumper and Lily Svete (Granger, Ind.) knocked down the only three-pointer by either team in the first half, connecting from deep with 1:27 remaining.


After Florida raced out to an 8-2 lead and then a 10-3 advantage, Charlotte called a timeout and settled down and ripped off a 15-4 march during a 5:51 span and took an 18-14 lead 8:31 on the clock.


After the media timeout, the teams traded scores for the next two-plus minutes, the 49ers hit back-to-back buckets and took the five-point cushion before the Gators began their half-ending spurt.


Florida outrebounded Charlotte 10-5 during the final 7:57 when it also held the 18-10 scoring edge.


George tallied 10 points and led all scorers after the first 20 minutes of play, as Florida hit 45.7 percent of its shots, while Charlotte connected on 37.5 percent overall.



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