Thursday January 30, 2014Carlie Needles Drains Five 3s in Gators' Win Over Alabama
Carlie Needles scored a team-high 16 points, hitting 5-of-7 three-pointers.
Sophomore Carlie Needles hit five three-pointers and scored a team-high 16 points to lead the Gators to a 75-67 victory over Alabama on Thursday in the O’Connell Center and presented Amanda Butler with the 175th win of her nine-year head coaching career.
Kayla Lewis contributed 14 points and seven rebounds and Lily Svete and Ronni Williams also had double-figure outings with 14 and 11 points respectively, as every Gator scored to help seal Florida’s second straight victory. Needles’ performance from behind the arc tied a season high, while Svete led the Gators with a career-high seven boards.
With 15:00 left in the game, the Gators led by eight, and the teams traded layups before a free throw by Lewis gave Florida a nine-point advantage to put the Gators up 50-41 with 13:42 remaining. Over the next 2:31, the Crimson Tide went on a 10-2 run and cut UF’s lead to one point, 52-51.
Svete had a three-point play – the first of her career - followed by Needles draining her fourth three-pointer before Alabama’s Shafontaye Myers added a layup, and the scoreboard read 58-53 with 7:28 to play. The teams took turns scoring for the next few minutes until Florida scored three consecutive times on free throws by Jaterra Bonds, Needles and Williams to push the lead back to nine, 69-60.
Needles knocked down her fifth three of the night to give the Gators their largest lead of the game, 72-62, with 3:09 left. With time ticking down, Myers hit her fifth three pointer of the game and Alabama added a pair of free throws, but a layup by January Miller and a free throw by Cassie Peoples sealed the game at 75-67.
The Gators got on the scoreboard first and started the game with a three-pointer from Needles before the teams began trading baskets, with Florida’s first five baskets scored by five different players. Early in the game, neither team went up by more than three until Antoinette Bannister put in a layup with 11:55 on the clock for a 17-12 Gator lead. During that time span, there were seven lead changes and Alabama gained what would be its final lead of the game, 12-9.
Florida stayed ahead, and the teams remained within five points of each other until Svete’s layup with 4:29 remaining gave the Gators their largest lead of the half, a seven-point advantage with the score at 32-25.
Soon after, Alabama tied the score at 32-32 with 1:26 left in the period. Williams answered with a layup, and an Alabama shot-clock violation gave the Gators possession, setting up a Needles’ three to stretch the lead back to 5. Neither team scored again and entered the locker room with the Gators leading 37-32.
Updated Records: Florida 15-6, 5-3 SEC … Alabama 10-11, 3-5 SEC
Numbers of Note
· For the 14th game this season, every Gator who suited up for the game scored at least one point.
· Five different players scored Florida’s first five baskets.
· The game saw six different lead changes, all in the first half, along with three tied scores.
· Gators are now 12-1 when leading at the half; only loss came against Georgia on January 19th, when the Gators led 30-24.
· Florida is now 14-7 at home versus Alabama and has won four straight against the Tide. Alabama leads the series 29-25.
· Last time the Gators trailed in this game was at the 13:33 mark of the first half.
· The Gators are now 7-3 this season in games decided by 10 points or less; 4-1 in such games versus SEC opponents.
· Alabama scored one more field goal than Florida, but free throws made the difference, with the Gators sinking nine more than the Crimson Tide.
· Amanda Butler collected her 175th win of her nine-year head coaching career.
· Ronni Williams’ two-pointer at the 10:25 mark in the first half marked the freshman’s 175th career point.
· Carlie Needles tied a season-high with five three-pointers – the second time she’s hit the mark this season.
· Needles scored her 375th career point with 8:34 remaining in the first half. She finished with 16 points.
· Lily Svete set a career-high in rebounds with seven.
· Lily Svete tallied 14 points and notched her sixth double-figure scoring game this year and the 13th of her career.
· Kayla Lewis finished with 14 points and registered her 10th double-digit scoring game this season and the 25th of her career.
· Ronni Williams secured her 10th double-digit scoring game this season after collecting 11 points and the 10th of her career.
· Carlie Needles registered her sixth double-digit scoring game this season and the 12th of her career.
· Jaterra Bonds extended her made free throw streak to 10 – the longest active streak on the team.
· Florida hit a three-pointer for the 119th consecutive game.
· Lily Svete drained two or more three-pointers for the third consecutive game
· Gators used a starting five of Ronni Williams, Carlie Needles, Kayla Lewis, Jaterra Bonds and Cassie Peoples for the second consecutive game.
· Bonds started her 91st consecutive game; 104th in career
· Williams started for the third straight game; sixth in her career
Rolling into Gainesville
· Due to weather conditions, Alabama did not arrive to Gainesville until Thursday at approximately 4:30 p.m. Tip-off was at 7 p.m.
Florida Head Coach Amanda Butler
“A great win. There’s not going to be any time that we win a league game and I describe it any other way. Alabama is playing very well. I thought the game was very ugly, and I don’t mean that in a negative way. It was a game that lacked a lot of flow; it was really choppy – they made plays, we made plays, and just never really gained in hand either way. I really liked our resilience; I really liked the fact that when they closed the gap, I think they were within one or had tied it up, and we came back and made plays. I think that’s a sign of a team with great leadership, and in crucial moments, composure. I’m really, really proud to see that. We had some folks do extra – Lily (Svete) leading us in rebounds tonight and Carlie (Needles) shooting the ball like we all know she can – that makes all the difference in the world for us. Some great individual performances, but again, you look at the stat sheet and there’s a lot of double-figures all the way down, more assisted baskets than turnovers – those are things that are indicators of great team ball.”
On being 4-1 in SEC games with a margin of victory of 10 points or less:
“It’s huge. Our score last time out against Auburn is an anomaly. Being able to beat someone in double-figures just doesn’t happen that often. More often, it’s going to be a game that’s won or separated by two, three or maybe four possessions. I think it’s an indicator of composure, good decision making and good leadership in crucial moments, and hopefully builds our collective confidence as we take this show on the road.”
On shooting well from behind the three-point arc of late:
“This is who we are and this is why we’ve continued to shoot the way that we have and encouraged the shots that we have from our players. This is much more an indicator of the type of shooting team that we are. It extends way beyond Lily (Svete) and Carlie (Needles), even though they’re our leaders in that category. When there’s something you believe in, even if it doesn’t work initially, you’ve got to stick with it if you really believe in it, and we do – we believe in our ability to shoot the ball. It’s not going to be the most important thing, but it certainly is a great compliment to all the things we’re trying to do.”
UF senior Lily Svete
On the importance of the last few wins:
“Every game in the SEC in a battle and we went through a stretch where we were struggling a little bit, but we got it together and we’re taking it one step at a time, play-by-play, minute-by-minute.”
On having two consecutive double-figure games and leading the team in rebounds tonight:
“To start the conference, I went through a scoring drought, but I continued to work hard and run the offense and do what I’m supposed to do, go to my spots and let the game come to me. In response to the rebounds - I take a lot of pride in boxing out. I’m happy that I got seven rebounds, but I probably gave up more rebounds than I ever have in a game, so it was a little bittersweet.”
UF sophomore Carlie Needles
On her performance tonight:
“I have to give the credit to my teammates; I can’t shoot those without getting the ball. I felt like we did a really good job at extra passes; skip passes were really there for us. We worked on corner threes a lot, and that’s where a lot of the shots came from. I just give credit to my teammates for still giving me the ball even though I haven’t been shooting to my ability recently.”
Alabama Head Coach Kristy Curry postgame quotes:
On the game as a whole:
“Just credit Florida. They were able to make a few critical plays down the stretch. To have one more field goal and to outrebound them, I mean, the difference was us. I thought we did a poor job of keeping them in front of us and we put them on the line too much and they were able to capitalize.”
On what Florida did in particular to come away with the win:
“I thought in the first half they were just outstanding in transition and easy baskets. I thought the second half we did a better job, but I thought we had some real mental breakdowns on the scout at critical times. You know, gave Needles and Svete too many threes and easy baskets for Bonds and those guys in transition.”
On Lily Svete:
“Great senior leadership. She’s always doing what she’s supposed to do when she’s supposed to do it. Again, it’s experience. You can just tell she really understands what her job is and comes in with great energy.”
Scores of Other SEC Games Played Thursday:
GEORGIA d. Kentucky, 58-56
Texas A&M d. AUBURN, 71-54
TENNESSEE d. Arkansas, 70-60
SOUTH CAROLINA d. Ole Miss, 99-70
LSU d. Mississippi State, 65-56
MISSOURI d. Vanderbilt, 59-54
Next Gator Game:
Florida (15-6, 5-3 SEC) at Ole Miss (10-12, 1-7 SEC)
C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum (8,867) * Oxford, Miss.
Sun ., February 2 * 2 p.m. ET (1 pm CT)
Game Coverage & More!
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