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Gators forward Lily Svete scored 17 points in Sunday's 86-80 win over Kentucky.

Sunday February 9, 2014Like Gators, Svete Bounces back

Gators forward Lily Svete scored 17 points in Sunday's 86-80 win over Kentucky.

By Michelle Provenzano Writing Intern

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Lily Svete may not always be on point for Florida, but in her team’s second meeting this season with Kentucky, she made sure her role on the court mattered.

The redshirt senior scored 17 points and notched five rebounds to help give the Gators an edge over the Wildcats en route to an 86-80 victory in the O’Dome Sunday afternoon.

When things got really heated in the second half, Svete was in the middle of the action.

While Svete was in Kentucky’s halfcourt looking for an open teammate to get the ball up the floor, the Wildcats’ DeNesha Stallworth snuck up from behind and stole the ball, quickly going for the layup to close the gap to 63-57 with just under 10 minutes left.

But Svete made up for her mistake, retaliating the best way possible -- by nailing a 3-pointer on the Gators’ following run.

“My job on the team is to get myself open and get ready for shots,” Svete said. “When my team passes it to me, I’m expected to shoot it.”

And shoot it she did.

The 6-foot-2 forward went 6-for-10 from the floor and 5-for-9 from the 3-point line. When the two teams met in January at Lexington, Svete just just two 3s, making one.

There were times where she was quick to take the shot and was short, but in Svete fashion, she followed it up with an effortless three to widen the gap in a close game.

“She missed one, we got the rebound, fired it right back to her and she put the second one in,” UF coach Amanda Butler said. “That’s how you expect a senior to play.”

Svete added: “I didn’t let my confidence down when I missed my first couple.”

Kentucky snuck up from behind and grabbed two points off the hands of Azia Bishop, the Gators then leading by only one point.

On the next run, though, Svete saw was feeling her shot and again buried a key 3-pointer for the Gators and widen up the gap to 76-72 with 3:34 left on the clock.

“I just didn’t think about it,” Svete said. “I was open so I was just like ‘Oh, I’ll shoot it.’ ”

Svete’s resiliency to get back up and keep going is a characteristic the team as a whole has stuck with this season. Svete’s 17 points were nearly three times her average of 6.3 per game. They could not have come at better time; in the game and for the Gators’ season.

After a tough road loss at Arkansas on Thursday, Florida proved it could battle back when the stakes were high.

In sweeping two games from Kentucky this season, the Gators showed they’re not going to be held down for long.

Same can be said for Svete.

“She has a great sense of herself,” Butler said. “I think that our team also really encourages that sense of herself. ... Everybody wants Lily to shoot when she’s open. I loved the resilient attitude that she had because that’s great leadership for everyone else to feed off of.”

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