The Florida women’s basketball team dropped a nail biter at home on Sunday, coming up just short of Tennessee (13-3, 4-0 SEC) 78-75 in overtime. The game was 40 complete minutes of intensity that saw seven lead changes and six tied scores. The Gators (13-5, 2-2 SEC) were led by junior guard Jaterra Bonds who has been playing some of her best basketball in these past few conference games. On Sunday she finished with 18 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Helping Bonds run the offense was redshirt freshman guard Carlie Needles who finished with 11 points, nine of which came from beyond the arc. This is the second close conference loss for the Gators this season, and Needles says it makes the team want to rise above the adversity and prove their worth.
Florida fought all afternoon and although they weren’t victorious the team did come out on top of the rebounding battle, collecting 48 boards, and outscoring the Vols bench 33-3. Gator head coach Amanda Butler says being able to have such balance is a great advantage for her team.
While Florida was spreading it around, the Lady Vols relied on the tenacity and fight of junior guard Meighan Simmons who finished the game with 27 points. Simmons seemed to be the go-to player in orange and she did a lot of her damage in transition. Simmons says she knew the Gators were going to be tough competition.
Another Volunteer who braced herself for a battle in the O’Dome was Tennessee head coach Holly Warlick. Under her reign the Vols have won by double-digits in all but two games including Sunday at Florida. Warlick says it must have been one heck of a show for the fans who made the trip to Gainesville.
Both teams continue league play as Tennessee remains on the road for a Thursday game at Auburn while the Gators welcome a bye-week and look to bounce back against South Carolina at home next Sunday.