Sunday February 9, 2014Gators Earn Sweep Over Nationally-Ranked Kentucky
January Miller led the Gators with 20 points in the win.
Sophomore January Miller (Orlando, Fla.) scored 20 points, junior Kayla Lewis (Decatur, Ga.) had a monster performance and Florida defeated No. 15/13 Kentucky, 86-80, on Sunday afternoon in the O’Connell Center.
The Gators, who earned a 83-73 win against the Wildcats on January 5 in Lexington, won back-to-back games in the series for the first time since the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons. Sunday’s victory also marked the third time that Florida has swept Kentucky in a season series, with this year’s outings marking the 12th time the two programs have met multiple times in the same season.
· VIDEO: Postgame press conference with highlights throughout with head coach Amanda Butler, January Miller, Cassie Peoples and Lily Svete:
Miller’s scoring outburst was the second time in her career she has topped the 20-point plateau, as she was two shy of tying her career-high set earlier this year.
Lewis recorded her seventh double-double of the year with 18 points (6-11 FG) and a career-high-tying 17 rebounds in addition to a career-high six assists with a game-high three steals and two blocked shots.
Senior Lily Svete (Granger, Ind.) scored a career-high 17 points, passing previous standard of 15 that she tallied three times, converting 5-of-9 from the three-point arc.
Sophomore Cassie Peoples (San Antonio, Texas) carried the Gators to their lead at 40-36 halftime, when she scored 10 of her 14 points in the opening frame.
With Florida holding an 81-78 lead, Kentucky’s Bria Goss was whistled for an offensive charge against Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.) with 70 seconds remaining that sent the home crowd into a frenzy and swung the momentum the Gator’s way for the final time en route to the victory as the ensuing play led to a layup by Lewis and a two-possession lead they maintained through the final horn.
Florida shot 48.4 percent (31-64) from the floor, its second-highest mark in an SEC game this season behind the 49.1 percent effort against Kentucky in the Jan. 5 meeting. The Gators also drilled 9-of-20 three-pointers, the ninth time this year the team has hit as many.
While the game featured five lead changes and three tied scores, all except one of the tied scores occurred during the first half.
A basket and a pair of free throws saw Kentucky tie it up at 40 coming out of the locker room, but three consecutive three-point-plays, two from Miller and the other by Lewis, re-energized the Gators and helped them build a nine-point lead with 16:57 left to play.
With all the momentum on Florida’s side, the next play saw Peoples steal the ball and throw it to Svete who then converted a 3-pointer from the left side to put the Orange and Blue up 52-40 with 16:13 remaining.
Lewis made sure to continue the Gators’ run by stealing the ball from the Wildcats that led to a layup by Peoples and forcing Kentucky to call a timeout with 16:13 on the clock after Florida extended its lead to 14, the largest of the game.
For the next eight minutes, both teams traded baskets and went back-and-forth down the court with the Wildcats scoring 22 points and the Gators netting 14 while watching their lead cut to 68-62 with 8:19 left.
With 4:45 remaining, Kentucky’s Jennifer O’Neal made back-to-back baskets to close the gap to 71-70 but a foul on teammate Bria Goss sent Bonds to the line where she converted both attempts and gave the Gators a 73-70 lead.
Kentucky quickly droved to their end of the court and once again cut UF’s lead to one, 73-72, after a transition layup with 3:57 on the clock.
As they had all afternoon, the Gators responded with Svete sinking her fifth 3-pointer of the game that gave UF a 76-72 edge.
The four-point lead didn’t last long, as the Wildcats hot-shooting streak in the second-half continued. With less than a minute left to play and the Gators’ lead down to three, an assist by Miller led to a layup by Lewis, giving Florida a five-point advantage that allowed them to close out the game and earn the win.
The Gators got off to a hot start and jumped in front with consecutive baskets by Ronni Williams (Daytona Beach, Fla.), Peoples and Lewis. But the Wildcats quickly responded with a 7-2 run that gave them the 9-8 edge with 17:16 to play in the first half.
A 3-pointer by Peoples gave Florida the lead again but Kentucky answered with a three of their own and went ahead 12-11 at the 16:42 mark.
Keeping things tight for the next few minutes, it wasn’t until there was 5:50 left on the clock that the Gators began to break it open in the first 20 minutes of action.
A missed three-pointer from the Wildcats and a defensive rebound by Bannister began a 6-2 run for the Gators which was ignited with a dish from Miller to Bonds.
The sequence saw the Gators jump to their largest lead of the half, claiming a 35-25 edge with 4:25 remaining, but a couple of turnovers allowed the Wildcats to close out the half with an 11-5 run and cut UF’s lead to 40-36 heading into the locker room.
Updated Records: Florida 17-7, 7-4 SEC … Kentucky 17-6, 5-5 SEC
Play of the Game: With the Wildcats cutting the Gators’ lead to three points with 1:10 left to play, senior Jaterra Bonds drew a charge on Kentucky’s Bria Goss to give Florida the ball and the Gators took advantage as Kayla Lewis scored on the following play, giving Florida a two-possession lead and the eventual victory.
· Six of UF’s 10 SEC games have been decided by 10 points or less (5-2)
· Florida boasts an 8-4 record in all games decided by 10 points or less
Stats of Note:
· Despite erasing UF’s 14-point second-half lead, Kentucky never led during the final 20 minutes.
· The Gators’ bench outscored Kentucky’s 42-34
· Four different Gators were able to connect from beyond the arc at least once.
· In the series versus Kentucky, each of the last seven meetings has been decided by 10 points or less.
· With today’s win, Florida cuts Kentucky’s 49-game series lead to 25-24.
· This is the 12th season UF and UK have met multiple times and only the third time the Gators have swept the season series (other Gator sweeps: 1997-98 and 1984-85)
· Sunday’s win marked the first time the Gators have won back-to-back games in the series since the 2003-04, 2004-05 seasons.
Gators vs. Ranked Teams:
· The win over No. 15/13 Kentucky was Florida’s third victory over a ranked opponent this season (3-2 record).
· All three of UF’s wins vs. ranked teams this year have been when the Gators were unranked.
· Today marked UF’s 31st win in program history against a ranked team when the Gators were unranked.
· Florida is now 14-1 when leading at halftime
· The Gators are now 11-3 at home this season including 5-1 in SEC play
· The Gators are now 9-0 when scoring in the 80’s
· Florida is 15-3 when shooting over 40 percent from the field
· Florida is now 8-2 this year when four Gators reach double-figures
· Florida improves to 4-0 all-time when wearing pink jerseys (3-0 last year, 1-0 this season)
· Today was the 15th time in the season that Florida’s bench outscored its opponents’ (12-3 on those games).
Numbers of Note:
· Senior Lily Svete recorded a career-high 17 points that included a career-best five three-pointers
· Svete’s effort marked the 15th double-scoring game of her career
· January Miller collected her 50th career trey in the first half
· Miller was just two points shy of her career-high point total of 22 points.
· Lewis recorded her seventh double-double of the year and 10th of her career with 18 points and 17 rebounds
· Kayla Lewis had a career high six assists
· Peoples recorded her 13th double-figure scoring game of the year and fourth in SEC play
· UF successfully converted three three-point-plays within a 56-second span in the second half.
· January Miller converted two and Kayla Lewis the other
· Miller is now 6-8 in three-point-play free throws this year
· Lewis is now 6-10 in three-point-play free throws this year
Quotes from the Court:
Florida Head Coach Amanda Butler
“I’m really, really proud of the way we played. And by that, I mean really the intangibles I think were the things that really separated us today. We certainly didn’t play a perfect ball game. We were really disappointed going into halftime. Some of our decisions with the ball, some of the turnovers; but we didn’t let any of those things be distractions, ultimately. We maintained a steady level of confidence. It really was a team effort.”
On sweeping Kentucky this season:
“I think it’s just a demonstration that can’t be argued on how good this (Florida) team is. To beat a great team (Kentucky) and to do it twice in the same SEC season, it’s just a demonstration of how good this team is.”
On Jaterra Bonds’ charge towards the end of the game:
“Without having the chance to look at the film yet, I’d say it was the play of the game. At halftime we were really disappointed that we hadn’t taken any charges yet. We just wanted to see guts on defense. We had to make gutsy plays and be ready for our turn to do that and Jaterra is always ready to step in there and sacrifice her body for her team.”
Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell
Scores of Other SEC Games Played Sunday:
SOUTH CAROLINA def. Arkansas, 67-49
GEORGIA def. Ole Miss, 84-63
TEXAS A&M def. LSU 72-67
AUBURN def. Mississippi State, 51-43
Alabama def. MISSOURI, 59-56
Next Gator Game:
Florida has a midweek bye and returns to action next Sunday, Feb. 16 at Georgia.
Where: Stegemen Coliseum, Athens, Ga.
When: 1 p.m. ET
Radio: ESPN850 WRUF-AM in Gainesville and thru www.Gatorzone.com
For all of the latest information on Florida women’s basketball:
Official Website: www.gatorzone.com/basketball/women
Twitter: @GatorZoneWBK and @CoachButlerUF