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The Gators second-half rally fell short.

Thursday November 14, 2013Gators Cannot Overcome Poor First Half in Loss at Virginia Tech, 71-59

Blacksburg, VA

The Gators second-half rally fell short.

Behind 21 points from Jaterra Bonds, Florida nearly overcame a 28-point deficit but in the end the point spread proved to be too much in a 71-59 loss at Virginia Tech at Cassell Coliseum Thursday evening in the Gator’s first road game of season.


Florida, which was looking for its first 3-0 start since the 2002-03 season, used a furious second-half rally to chip away at the Hokies’ 39-15 halftime lead and came within four points, 53-49, with 6:51 remaining after Cassie Peoples hit a pullup jumper in the paint.


Virginia Tech responded with an 11-3 run and Florida was unable to stage one final push, having used its last timeout with 8:45 to go.


Bonds also tied her career-high eight rebounds, as she converted 9-of-10 free throws.


Fellow senior Lily Svete also finished with a double-figure scoring effort, netting all 12 of her points in the second half from behind the arc.


All eight Gators who dressed for the game scored, with Kayla Lewis contributing 9 points and 11 rebounds to lead UF’s charge on the boards where the won the battle, 38-34.


Florida ended the game with a 33.3 shooting percentage, including a 46.7 mark during the second half when the team hit 5-of15 from long range.


Virginia Tech’s Vanessa Panousis led all scorers with 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting, while Uju Ugoka posted 17 points and 12 rebounds.


January Miller’s bucket with 10:34 remaining in the first half brought the Gators within five points, 15-10, however, that would be the team’s final field goal of the frame, getting just five more points from the free throw line en route to the 39-15 halftime deficit.


Florida took the shots it wanted in the opening 20 minutes, but couldn’t get the ball to fall and converted a mere 16.7 percent (4-24) during the first half, including a 0-8 effort from long range.


Virginia Tech capitalized on Florida’s shooting woes, as the Hokies ripped off a game-changing 18-0 run over a 5:23 span that gave them a commanding 33-10 lead with 4:44 remaining in the half.


Bonds was UF’s leading scorer in the first half with six points, while Lewis and Ronni Williams both netted three.



Quotes from the Court:

·         “There was a combination of things and the main things was Vanessa Panousis. She did a fantastic job of setting the tone for her team and we were just reacting and responding to everything that was happening. I felt like we did a poor job in the first half of reacting to seeing our shooters miss shots. We can’t be a team that’s dictated by weather the ‘3’ is falling or not. I’m proud of our fight in the second half and shifting the momentum and getting within four points. Ultimately, it was the same sort of breakdowns on the defensive end. We took better care of the ball in the second half. We had 14 turnovers in the first half, we were just giving them the ball; and defending poorly.” - UF head coach Amanda Butler on difference between the first and second halves


·         “She clearly out played anything we had seen on film of her. She did a fantastic job of setting the tone for their team and versus our point guards which is something I’m very disappointed in. You have to give her credit. She was more aggressive, she was attacking and was making plays for her team. She handled our pressure much more like a veteran than a freshman.” - UF head coach Amanda Butler on Virginia Tech’s Vanessa Panousis


·         “I thought we took too many threes. We’re usually a good three-point shooting team but they aren’t falling we’ve got to be mature enough to adjust. Looking at the big picture, we had to fight and scratch and claw and make hustle plays and called timeouts to retain possession, but then we didn’t have timeouts in the last four minutes to try and do something strategic. We just had to play things out and early in the season that’s a tough thing to do. Virginia Tech deserves all the credit.” – Coach Butler on the first half shooting performance


·         “I think we played poorly. It was our first road test and we failed it. We have to go back to Gainesville and get to work. We have another road game this weekend. We’ll regroup, watch film, get tougher-minded on the defensive end and carry over that same rebounding effort.” – Coach Butler on her overall assessment of the Gators




Turning Point:

Virginia Tech went on an 18-0 run midway through the first half to take a 33-10 lead and Florida was never able to fully recover.




·         Florida: 2-1

·         Virginia Tech: 3-0



Series update:

·         Florida leads the series against Virginia Tech, 2-1

·         Florida is 7-9 all-time in games played in the state of Virginia



Everyone Scores:

·         In all three games this season, all eight Gators who suited up for the game, scored in the game.




·         Jaterra Bonds scored a team-high 21 points

·         Lily Svete scored 12 points, all from beyond the arc

·         Kayla Lewis collected a team-best 11 rebounds



Numbers of Note:

·         January Miller and Carlie Needles both played in the 40th game of their respective careers

·         Lily Svete scored her 350th career point during the game





·         The Gator have now hit at least one 3-pointer in 101 consecutive games (last time did not: Nov. 30, 2010 vs. Old Dominion)



·         Jaterra Bonds has started 73 consecutive games started by (4th longest streak in program history; 3rd is 76 by Talatha Bingham, 1996-99)

·         Jaterra Bonds has 13 consecutive double-figure scoring games

·         Lily Svete has scored in double-figures in all three games this year

·         January Miller has scored in a team-leading 32 consecutive games

·         Jaterra Bonds has scored in 27 consecutive games



Next Game:

Florida (2-1) at Kennesaw State (1-2)

KSU Convocation Center (4,600) * Kennesaw, Ga.

Sun., Nov. 17, 2013 * 2 p.m.


Kennesaw State lost at Gardner-Webb Thursday night, 84-58


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