Thursday January 9, 2014Gators Run Win Streak to Nine in Win Over No. 25 Arkansas
Jaterra Bonds slices for two of her team-high 15 points in the win.
Senior Jaterra Bonds scored 15 points to lead a trio of double-figure Gator scorers and Florida defeated No. 25 (ESPN-USA Today Coaches Poll, receiving votes in AP) Arkansas, 59-52, for its ninth consecutive win and improved to 3-0 in Southeastern Conference play. Sophomores January Miller and Christin Mercer each scored 13 points to round out the double-digit scorers for Florida.
POSTGAME VIDEO: Head Coach Amanda Butler, Jaterra Bonds and Christin Mercer
Arkansas fought back from a 41-31 deficit and pulled within one point as late as with 2:27 remaining, before Florida finished on a 12-6 run, when Kayla Lewis finished a jumper inside after a nice dish from Christin Mercer, who scored the next bucket for the Gators that gave them a 51-47 advantage with 58 seconds left.
Florida sealed the game at the free throw line, where it connected on all eight of its attempts in the final 40 seconds, with Bonds, Carlie Needles, Cassie Peoples and Miller each netting two.
The Gators controlled the first eight minutes of the game, going up 12-5 with 12:06 left in the first half before the Razorbacks found their footing and went on a 8-2 run which cut Florida’s lead to 14-13 with 6:52 remaining in the period. Neither team led by more than four after that, with the score being knotted at 24-24 at halftime.
Florida shot 41.7 percent in the first half, while holding Arkansas to 36 percent from the field.
The first 4:58 of the second stanza saw both teams fight for points. The largest lead during that time was Arkansas’ 29-26 advantage with 18:16 left on the clock. Then, at 15:02, a free throw by Bonds sparked an 11-0 run that lasted 7:28 and saw Florida take a 41-31 lead, its largest of the contest.
Arkansas outscored Florida 21-18 in the final 7:34 of the game, but the rally was too little too late for the Razorbacks.
Florida shot 42 percent (21-50) for the game, while Arkansas hit 32.1 (18-56) percent of its attempts. The Gators outscored the Razorbacks in the paint 30-18 and off the bench 23-1.
The Razorbacks were led by freshmen McKenzie Adams and Jessica Jackson, both of whom scored 23 points.
Updated Records: Florida 13-3, 3-0 SEC … Arkansas 14-2, 1-2 SEC
The Series vs. Arkansas
· Florida leads the series, 23-8, including a 10-3 record in Gainesville.
· The Gators have won six of the last seven games against the Razorbacks, including the last three.
Run of the Game
· Florida’s 11-0 run in the second half that lasted 7:28 and gave the Gators their largest and final lead of the game (45-34, 6:37 remaining). Jaterra Bonds, Ronni Williams and Carlie Needles all scored for UF during this run.
· Jaterra Bonds started for the 86th consecutive game
· January Miller scored in her team-leading 45th consecutive game
· January Miller has made 10 consecutive free throws, good for the best active streak on the team
· Jaterra Bonds has tallied double-figure outings in five straight games, which is the longest active streak on the team
· Senior guard Jaterra Bonds put up 15 points for her 14th double-figure game of the season and 70th of her career.
· Sophomore guard January Miller notched 13 points, giving her 12 double-digit games this season and 20 in her career.
· Sophomore forward Christin Mercer scored 13 points, tallying her seventh double-digit effort of the season and 13th of her career.
Numbers of Note:
· Jaterra Bonds started the 99th game of her career; 86th straight start
· Jaterra Bonds and Lily Svete have played 120 games together, tied for 11th-most in program history
· Jaterra Bonds is now the No. 15 all-time leading scorer in Gator history, with 1361 career points
· Bonds recorded her 13th three-point play of the year.
· This is the first time the Gators have defeated ranked opponents in consecutive games since the 2003-04 season (def. No. 19/15 Georgia on Feb. 26, 2004 and No. 18/20 Auburn on Feb. 29, 2004).
· The last time Florida earned back-to-back wins against ranked teams was during the 2008-09 season, however, those games were not played consecutively (No. 22 Florida State on Nov. 23, No. 21/19 Arizona State on Nov. 29 and No. 16/19 Pittsburgh on Dec. 21).
Team Streaks & Stuff
· Florida is now 3-0 to begin conference play for the first time since the 1997-98 season.
· Florida boasts a nine-game winning streak, the longest since winning 15 straight during the 2008-09 season.
· Florida won its first game of the season when scoring less than 60 points.
· Florida is now 2-0 when the opponent scores in the 50s.
· The Gators gained their 11th win on the year when shooting above 40 percent.
· Although being outrebounded, 38-35, Florida is 6-1 now on the year when losing the battle of the boards.
· Eight of the Gators’ games have been decided by 10 points or less, six of which Florida has won
· First time this season Florida and opposing team were tied at halftime.
Other SEC Games on Thursday:
Vanderbilt def. AUBURN, 74-65
No. 8 TENNESSEE def. Ole Miss, 94-70
No. 10 SOUTH CAROLINA def. No. 9 Kentucky, 68-59
TEXAS A&M def. No. 12 LSU, 52-48
MISSOURI def. No. 25 Georgia, 66-56
Quotes from the Court
Florida Head Coach Amanda Butler
“Really, really proud of the way that we battled and fought and overcame. I’m kind of a boring, after-game quote person because it seems like those are the same things that I keep saying, but that’s what I see in this team is just an extra measure of whatever it’s going to take for us to win. Tonight it was an extra measure of better play in the paint. We weren’t hitting, weren’t doing a great job as rebounders. We have to finish shots when we get in the paint. We have to work harder for those shots. Arkansas made it very, very tough for us tonight. They had an outstanding game plan and executed it very, very well. Tom (Collen) does a great job, and it’s a fantastic win for us. It’s very, very important for us to play well every night, but certainly at home. We had the opportunity, with a very talented team like Arkansas to come in here, to handle our business. I think we were willing to do whatever it took.”
On dominating the paint on both offense and defense:
“That’s always kind of one of those battles that we always point out. We feel like if we can control the paint, and just historically speaking, it’s just kind of the SEC thing. Whoever controls the paint is going to probably come out on top. From a scoring standpoint I thought we did a good job scoring in the paint. Rebounding, our effort could’ve been a little more consistent. No question it’s an emphasis for us and we have a lot of confidence in (Christin) Mercer, Kayla (Lewis) and Ronni (Williams).”
On if Florida should be ranked:
“I felt that all the way through. But those things just aren’t really important for this team. And I think that’s another thing that makes them really special. It would be great for them to get that recognition because they deserve it, no question. But at the same time, it’s not going to have any impact on the way we prepare for LSU, it’s not going to have an impact on the way LSU plays us or we play them. That’s all that matters to us, is going to LSU on Sunday, fighting another great SEC opponent and getting ready for that.”
#10 Jaterra Bonds, G
On willingness to win and being “unbeatable”:
“I think no team is unbeatable. It just feels good but you just can’t relax. You have to come in the next day and put in that work that we’ve been doing. Like I said earlier, every game is going to be a battle and you can’t take any team for granted or even your preparation.”
# 25 Christin Mercer, F
On the inside battle and win tonight:
“I felt like it was a great battle. It set us up for LSU, and just like JT (Jaterra Bonds) said, the preparation battle is next.”
Arkansas Head Coach Tom Collen
On the loss:
“Well it's a tough loss for us. I thought that we played well enough to win. I don't think we played great basketball, but we had the opportunity, I think, to take the lead at one time. We certainly had some wide open shots that would have kept us in the lead or tied the game back up.”
On going up against Florida:
“Florida is obviously a tough team, going on the road doing what they did to Kentucky, so we knew we were going to have a battle.”
On what was lacking:
“We need to get Jhasmin Bowen back. We're missing our starting post player. We didn't have a lot of inside presence. I think that hurt us a little bit. Hopefully, we get her back soon.”
On Jessica Jackson and McKenzie Adams:
“I couldn't be more proud of our freshmen Jessica Jackson and McKenzie (Adams). For them to come on the road and do what they did I think it tells you we've got a pretty bright future with those two kids.”
Next Gator Game:
Florida (13-3, 3-0 SEC) at No. 12/13 LSU (12-3, 1-1 SEC)
Pete Maravich Assembly Center (13,215) * Baton Rouge, La.
Sun., January 12 * 1 p.m. ET (Noon CT)
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