Florida Women Join Men in the Win Column on Thursday
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – 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
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