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The Gators will play Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament second round.

Wednesday March 5, 2014Gators Play Mississippi State in SEC Tournament Second Round Thursday

Duluth, GA

The Gators will play Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament second round.

Florida gears up to play Mississippi State in the second round of the 2014 Southeastern Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga.

 

Florida (18-11) finished in sole possession of fifth place in the final SEC regular-season standings - the Gator’s best finish since the 2008-09 season when the team tied for third – and earned the No. 5 seed, as well as a first-round bye in the 14-team event.

 

No. 13-seed Mississippi State defeated No. 12-seed Missouri, 73-70, in the first round on Wednesday evening.

 

Florida defeated Mississippi State, 82-72, on Jan. 2 in Gainesville in the SEC regular-season opener for both teams.

 

It will have been 64 days between that first meeting and when the two teams will collide in the postseason.

 

VIDEO UPDATE from Duluth: http://bit.ly/1fJ9wvs

 

PHOTO GALLERY from Practice Day: http://bit.ly/P2vIvJ

 

Gatorzone.com Special Story: http://bit.ly/NVKEKR

 

VIDEO UPDATE from Gainesville: UF Head Coach Amanda Butler: http://youtu.be/lxf5Vs4mpz0

 

VIDEO UPDATE from Gainesville: Jaterra Bonds and Kayla Lewis: http://youtu.be/bZ_UkfJXf5U

 

Series History: UF vs. MSU

·         Florida leads the all-time series against Mississippi State, 24-18, including a 3-2 record in neutral site games.

·         The Gators have won the last eight games in the series.

·         Seven of the last 12 games in the series have been decided by 10 points or less, including the Jan. 2 meeting this year won by the Gators, 82-72.

·         The Gators are 3-1 vs. the Lady Bulldogs in the SEC Tournament, last squaring off in the first round of the 2007 event, when the No. 11-seed Gators knocked off the No. 6-seed Lady Bulldogs, 69-63

 

Last Meeting

·         Outcome: Florida 82, Mississippi State 72

·         When & Where: January 2, 2014 * Gainesville, Fla. * Stephen C. O’Connell Center

·         Summary: Behind the impressive 23-point effort from Cassie Peoples and three other double-figure-scoring Gators, Florida opened SEC play with an 82-72 victory.

o    After Mississippi State took its only lead of the game, 9-7, Florida answered with an 11-3 surge and never looked back. The run put UF up 18-12, lasted 2:41, saw four Gators score and included Jaterra Bonds’ 100th career three-pointer. The teams traded baskets for the following 6:23 before Carlie Needles sank two shots from the charity stripe to spark a 6-0 Gators spurt that lasted 1:44 and gave Florida its first double-digit lead of the game, 34-23. UF entered the locker room with a 40-30 advantage off of a last-second layup by Mercer.

o    Florida outscored Mississippi State off turnovers (17-6), with second chance points (13-4) and off the fast break (12-0) in the first half. The Gators shot a highly effective 46.9 percent from the field, compared to the Bulldogs’ 38.7 percent.

o    The Gators led by double-digits for most of the second half, including a 17-point lead, 72-55, with 4:16 left on the clock. The Bulldogs looked to rally late with a 15-6 run that lasted 3:29 and brought the score to 78-70 with just 47 seconds remaining. However, the damage was already done and it was too much for Mississippi State to overcome. Florida connected on all four of its final-minute free throws en route to the team’s seventh consecutive win.

o    UF used a very balanced offense throughout the game, connecting on 46.8 percent (29-62) of its shots, while holding Mississippi State to 34.3 percent (24-70). However, the Bulldogs connected on 33.3 percent (6-18) of their shots from behind the arc, compared to the Gators’ 20 percent (2-10). Florida out-rebounded Mississippi State, 47-43, marking the sixth time Florida has won the rebounding battle this season.

 

On the Line

·         The winner of the 13-game SEC Tournament will receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

 

Exceeding Preseason Expectations!

·         The SEC coaches and members of the media both selected Florida to finish 10th in the league standings in their respective preseason polls.

 

MARCH Madness - Birthday Style!

·         Head Coach Amanda Butler will celebrate her 42nd birthday on Thursday.

·         The Gators are 1-1 in six years playing on Coach Butler’s birthday.

 

Florida at the SEC Tournament

·         Florida holds an 18-33 all-time record in the SEC Tournament

·         Florida has played in the SEC Tournament quarterfinal round each of the last three years, as well as in seven of the last eight tournaments.

·         The Gators best finish was in 1997 when the team reached the championship game, UF’s lone appearance in the final.

·         Current UF head coach Amanda Butler was an assistant coach on the Gator staff that year and current UF assistant coach Murriel Page was the starting forward and earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team.

 

Local Flavor

·         Redshirt junior Kayla Lewis is a native of the Peach State and is from Decatur, located just 18 miles from Duluth.

 

Lewis’ Home Away From Home

·         Redshirt junior Kayla Lewis played the final high school game of her career at The Arena at Gwinnett Center, leading Southwest DeKalb (Ga.) High School in 2010 to a successful defense of its Class AAAA State Championship, scoring 20 points in the final versus Northwest Whitfield en route to the Panthers winning their third consecutive state title.

·         In the 2009 title game - also played at The Arena at Gwinnett Center - Lewis totaled 16 points and 15 rebounds against Fayette County and was named MVP of the 2009 state tournament.

·         The 2010 Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year who also was named 2010 Miss Georgia Basketball, totaled during her four-year prep career 1,349 points (13.8 ppg), 691 rebounds (7.1 rpg), 162 steals (1.7 spg), 151 assists (1.5 apg) and 140 blocked shots (1.4 pg), while shooting 52 percent from the floor.

·         This year, Lewis is averaging 11.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per game and has started every game for the Gators.

 

Thrillers!

·         15 of UF’s games have been decided by 10 points or less (9-6 record in those games).

·         10 of the Gator’s 16 SEC games were decided by 10 points or less (6-4 in those games).

 

Gator Watch

·         Two eligible Gators average a double-figure scoring effort: Jaterra Bonds (15.8 ppg) and Kayla Lewis (11.6 ppg), with January Miller and Cassie Peoples both netting 9.8 points per game.

·         Kayla Lewis has been the top Gator on the boards, pulling down 8.7 per game, followed by Ronni Williams’ 5.6 per game mark.

·         Bonds is dishing 4.4 assists per game, with Peoples handing out 3.6.

·         Four different Gators have recorded at least 36 steals en route to the team’s 9.4 per game average (fourth in SEC), with Peoples collecting 50, Bonds 43, Lewis 38 and Miller 36.

 

Bonds, Jaterra Bonds

Senior Jaterra Bonds is doing it all in her final collegiate season. She leads the Gators in:

·         Scoring (15.8 ppg),

·         Assists (4.4 apg),

·         Made free throws (155) and

·         Free throw attempts (189),

·         While hitting 45.1 percent of her shots from the floor, 82.0 percent from the free throw line and collecting 1.5 steals.

 

Team Trends

·         Only 10 times this year has Florida’s opponent attempted more free throws - the Gators average 23.1 attempts per game compared with 20.4 attempts by opponents.

·         Florida has forced at least 17 turnovers in all except 8 games year this (Gators 2-6 when forcing fewer than 17 - wins vs. Alabama, Jan. 30 and at Vanderbilt Feb. 27).

·         UF is 14-2 when leading at halftime (losses were at home vs. Georgia & Missouri)

·         Despite playing just eight players per game, UF’s bench has outscored its opponent’s bench 17 times (13-4 record in those games).

 

Top Dawgs

·         MSU’s Martha Alwal was voted by the league’s coaches at the 2014 Co-Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-SEC

·         MSU’s Breanna Richardson was voted to the SEC All-Freshman Team

 

Stat Row

Florida

·         Points Per Game: 75.4

·         Scoring Defense: 70.1

·         Scoring Margin: +5.3

·         Rebounding Margin: -4.1

·         FG%: 44.3%

·         3FG%: 32,2%

·         FT%: 71.3%

Gator Leaders

·         Scoring: Jaterra Bonds, 15.8

·         Rebounding: Kayla Lewis, 8.7

·         Assists: Jaterra Bonds, 4.4

 

Mississippi State

·         Points Per Game: 71.5

·         Scoring Defense: 63.2

·         Scoring Margin: +8.3

·         Rebounding Margin: +2.4

·         FG%: 40.3%

·         3FG%: 32.2%

·         FT%: 71.2%

Bulldog Leaders

·         Scoring: Martha Alwal, 15.5

·         Rebounding: Martha Alwal, 8.8

·         Assists: Katia May, 5.2

 

Quoting UF Head Coach Amanda Butler

On playing Mississippi State:

·         “It was a long time ago when we played them so it’s going to be exciting to have the freshness of the scout and the newness that that information will be to our team. Mississippi State has had a great season. Martha Alwal is a first-team All-SEC player and has had an amazing season. We’re going to have to be ready for their best shot. They play very hard. They play very aggressively and try to put a lot of pressure on us and we will have to be very composed.”

 

On the excitement of the SEC Tournament atmosphere:

·         “It doesn’t get any more exciting than this - being here with so much support from our administration and I know we are going to have a bunch of fans here, the level of play in the league this year and the unpredictability of the way each game is going to go is already going to add to the excitement of the best league in women’s basketball.”

 

 

#5 Seed Florida (18-11, 8-8 SEC) vs. #13 Mississippi St. (19-12)

2014 SEC Tournament Second Round

Thur., March 6 * 2:30 p.m. ET

The Arena at Gwinnett Center (10,305) * Duluth, Ga.

 

Game Notes:

Florida (PDF): http://www.gatorzone.com/basketball/women/stats/notes/pre/20140306143000.pdf  

Mississippi State: http://bit.ly/1cvY8bR

 

Game Coverage & More!

·         Radio: LIVE on ESPN850 WRUF-AM in Gainesville with Adam Schick & Brittany Davis

·         Internet Audio: LIVE thru www.Gatorzone.com (FREE)

·         Television: SportsSouth/FS Southwest/Sun Sports airs in Gainesville on SunSports (Cox Ch. 48/1048; DirecTV 653) with Dave Neal & LaChina Robinson

·         Internet Video: ESPN3.com - http://es.pn/1d1UIeO

·         Internet Scoring: LIVE thru GatorZone.com (FREE) - http://bit.ly/1g1Okp3

·         Tickets: Reserved tickets can be purchased by calling (800) 732-4849 or by visiting SECsports.com. Single session tickets go on sale at the arena box office on March 5

 

Opening Tip

·         The Gators earned the No. 5 seed in the 14-team SEC Tournament, their highest since being the No. 4 seed at the 2009 event.

·         Florida finished fifth in the SEC regular-season standings, the Gator’s best finish since 2008-09 when the team tied for third.

·         Florida’s opening round SEC Tournament game will be on Thur., March 6, the 42nd birthday of Head Coach Amanda Butler.

·         10 of UF’s 16 SEC games were decided by 10 points or less (6-4)

·         15 of UF’s games have been decided by 10 points or less (9-6 record in those games).

 

 

For all of the latest information on Florida women’s basketball:

Official Website: www.gatorzone.com/basketball/women

Facebook: www.facebook.com/FloridaWomensBasketball

Twitter: @GatorZoneWBK  and  @CoachButlerUF 

 

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