The Florida women’s basketball team in trending in a different direction.
After rattling off nine consecutive wins and three straight in the SEC, Florida has now dropped two straight games, the latest coming in a 68-62 defeat against the Lady Bulldogs of Georgia on Sunday in Gainesville.
The Gators jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, and carried that lead for much of the game. The momentum in the game started to take a turn in favor of the Lady Bulldogs right before halftime.
The Gators missed two shots in the lane, and the Bulldogs raced down the court to hit a layup just as time expired.
“I don’t think we went in thinking we got to work on a lot of things,” Butler said. “I was disappointed we went into the half giving up…they raced right back down and get a layup. I thought that was just not indicative of us, and the way we played.”
The Bulldogs rode that momentum into the second half of the game.
Senior guard Khaalidah Miller went scoreless in the first half but drilled a key from the top of the arc to start the scoring for the Bulldogs in the second half. Miller would go on to finish the game with 13 points, all coming in the second half.
Guard Erika Ford of the Bulldogs also proved to be a problem area for the Gators. She scorched them with 23 points, good enough to make her the leading scorer in the game.
The improved play for the Lady Bulldogs in the second half came from better ball control and great free throw shooting. The Bulldogs came into the game as the worst free throw shooting team in the SEC, but went 16-18 from the line in the game, good for their best performance of the season.
Andy Landers, Georgia Bulldogs head coach, talked about the his team’s free throw performance.
“It’s about time,” Landers said. “It’s been costly to us this year, not hitting those free throws. But we’re good free throw shooters.”
For the Gators, the same issue reared its head. The Gators struggled on the glass, getting outrebounded 47-27. Along with the struggles on the glass, the team shot 40 percent from the field and a woeful 3-14 from the beyond the arc.
The Gators did have something to smile about today. At the 13:38 mark in the first half, Antoinette Bannister checked into the game for the first time since November 21st against FSU.
“I look forward to seeing that happen in her,” Butler said. “Her continuing to gain confidence and make the plays that really separate her from the other players on the team and finding her place to be unique in.”
Florida senior guard Jaterra Bonds struggled shooting from the field but shot 7-8 from the free throw line to give her a team-high 16 points for the game. January Miller and Kayla Lewis joined Bonds as the only players in double figures for the Gators with 11 points and 10 points respectively.
The Gators will look to get back to winning when they head to Knoxville to take on the 12th ranked Tennessee Volunteers on Thursday, January 23.
For sound from the game, click below.