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The Gators showed their resiliency in the hard-fought victory.

Saturday November 30, 2013Gators defeat Oregon State in Junkanoo Jam Finale

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama Island

The Gators showed their resiliency in the hard-fought victory.

Sophomore January Miller (Orlando, Fla.) scored 15 of her team and career-high-tying 19 points in the second half and Florida weathered Oregon State’s three-point barrage to capture the 73-70 victory in the third-place game of the Junkanoo Jam on Saturday at St. Georges High School.


The Gators trailed for the first 35:32 of the game, and by as many as 10 points with 11:08 to go in the first half, but never gave up even when six times during the game, including five occurrences in the final 20 minutes, OSU drilled a three-pointer when the Gators had closed their deficit to two points.


The one time the Beavers didn’t drain a trey after their lead was trimmed to two was during a 6-0 Florida run that featured a basket and one free throw from Miller, one free throw from Kayla Lewis (Decatur, Ga.) and two free throws from Cassie Peoples (San Antonio, Texas) that gave the Gators a 65-64 lead with 4:27 remaining in the game.


The Beavers came right back with two free throws and reclaimed the lead, but Lewis, who finished with six points and a game and career-high-tying 12 rebounds, hit a 10-foot jumper from the right corner, Miller dropped in a floater high off the glass and Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.), who scored 14 points in the game, sank an off-balanced fade-away with 1:19 remaining that gave Florida the 71-66 advantage.


OSU countered with two free throws, but Miller calmly drained two for the Gators, who had a five-point cushion with 9.5 seconds remaining. The Beavers hit a harmless layup as the final horn sounded as Florida claimed the hard-fought victory.


Miller, who played just three minutes in the first half after picking up two fouls early and 17 total in the game, scored the first points of the second half and had the Gators within two, 35-33. OSU, however, answered with one of its 14 three-pointers, a total that tied a record for a Florida opponent.


The Beavers led by as many as seven points with 9:05 remaining in the game, but Florida countered with a 7-1 spurt that included Ronni Williams’ (Daytona Beach, Fla.) offensive rebound put-back off a missed Gator free throw attempt, and closed within one point with 7:31 on the clock.


OSU came right back with the game’s next five points for a six-point lead with 7:15 remaining, before the teams traded scores for the next minute and a half.


With the Beavers holding a 64-59 lead and 5:34 on the clock, the Gators began their game-changing push and took their first lead of the contest.



Second Half Warriors:

·         Ronni Williams scored 11 points of her 15 points in the second half, when she also collected eight of her nine rebounds, including all six on the offensive end.

·         January Miller scored 15 of her 19 points in the second half.

·         Kayla Lewis collected 10 of her 12 rebounds in the second half.

·         Cassie Peoples dished five of her game-high seven assists (with zero turnovers) in the second half, when she also scored four of her 10 points.

·         Florida outrebounded OSU, 27-16, in the second half en route to a 45-37 margin for the game.

·         The Gators scored 42 of their 73 points in the second half to erase a 35-31 halftime deficit and earn its first win this season after trailing at the break.


More Charitable:

·         After converting a combined 57.4 percent (35-61) from the free throw line in the previous two games, the Gators sank 75 percent (21-28) from the charity stripe against Oregon State.


Fresh Start:

·         Freshman Ronni Williams earned her first collegiate start (side note: the PA announcer used the previous game’s starting lineup so her name was never announced at the start of the game)


Numbers of Note:

·         Coach Amanda Butler won her 125th game as Gator head coach; 165th of her career

·         Kayla Lewis topped the 450 career-point plateau during the game

·         January Miller topped the 300 career-point plateau during the game

·         Lewis tied her career-high with 12 rebounds (also vs. Georgia State, Nov. 11, 2012)

·         Miller tied her career-high of 19 points (also vs. Florida State, Nov. 21, 2013)

·         Cassie Peoples dished seven assists (one shy of career-high) with zero turnovers

·         Each of Florida’s last four games have been decided by 8 points or less

·         OSU’s 14 three-pointers tied the Gator record for most by an opponent; Beavers shot 14-33

·         OSU’s 70 points are the second-fewest it has scored this season



·         Cassie Peoples went 4-4 from the free throw line and extended her consecutive made free throw streak to a career-best 11.

·         Jaterra Bonds went 4-4 from the free throw line and extended her consecutive made free throw streak to 11

·         Bonds started her 78th consecutive game - third-longest streak in program history; 91st career start

·         January Miller scored in her team-leading 37th straight game

·         Bonds scored in double-figures for the 18th straight game

·         Lily Svete started her 23rd consecutive game; 41st of her career


Also in Action:

·         Penn State won the Junkanoo Jam Freeport Division championship with a 72-60 decision over Illinois State in the final.


Quotes from the Court:

“We showed a tremendous amount of heart and will. (The coaches) really challenged them to battle and come out with the spirit of a warrior. We knew it was going to be tough. This was the biggest team we’ve played against. We were going to have to be really smart about the way we approached the game plan, but when it really came down to it, we had to be resilient. When things didn’t go our way, we had to hang in there and we certainly did that – starting with bringing a winning approach to the court after yesterday’s disappointment. I really couldn’t be prouder of them.” UF head coach Amanda Butler on the win


“Big plays at big moments. It felted like for a stretch there that Oregon State was the only one making big plays at big moments. They hit threes it seemed like every time that we were in striking distance. It’s a weakness of ours that we’ve got to continue to address.” – Butler on the Gator’s play in the final minutes


“To win the rebounding battle is huge, the balanced scoring and only turning the ball over 11 times collectively, it was exactly what we needed to do and it was exactly how we needed to play. I just loved, loved our toughness in this game.” – Butler on the key to the win


“We were trying to manage her fouls a little bit and get her off the floor to keep her from picking up three. She really handled that well. That’s a tough thing to do to have to come and sit down when you feel so disappointed after making another foul or whatever it is. But to be able to come back in the game and make big, big plays shows resiliency. That three she had was huge. She had that determined, stubborn, good January-look that says, ‘I am not going to be denied. I’m going to take it to the basket, take jumpers if you give me a look and I’m going to knock it down.’ That’s what makes her special.” – Butler on January Miller


“We were down in the rebounding battle in the first half so to come out after halftime and win that battle in the second half and in the game shows that resilient attitude that you have to do if you’re going to want to compete against good competition, which is something we faced today and something we will face a lot of in the future. I think Oregon State is an NCAA Tournament team and it was tough. I’m just so proud of the mental toughness we showed because it would have been real easy to come in here pouting and licking our wounds after yesterday’s game. Our players just didn’t do that.” – Butler on winning the rebounding battle against a much taller opponent


Next Game:

Florida (5-3) at Troy (3-3)

Trojan Arena (5,200) * Troy, Ala.

Wed., Dec. 4, 2013 * 8 p.m. ET


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