Jan 5, 2014; Lexington, KY, USA; Florida Gators guard Ronni Williams (1) battles for the ball with Kentucky Wildcats forward Samarie Walker (23) in the first half at Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Gator Women’s Hoops Slides Past South Alabama

The Florida women’s basketball team found their chomp late in the game to defeat South Alabama 72-60 Tuesday night in Mobile, Alabama.

The opening tip was won by the Gators, but after that, it was very noticeable that Florida was competing in its third straight road game and South Alabama looked fearless. Florida, who wore black jerseys for the first time this season, seemed to look very lethargic until late in the third quarter.

Florida’s freshman guard, Eleanna Christinaki, was called for two fouls in the first two minutes and by this point, the Gators were still scoreless. South Alabama came out of the gates slashing the Gators’ shot attempts and scoring at the other end of the court. The Jaguars used their speed to beat the Gators defensively and seemed to rebound just about everything. South Alabama, with home-court advantage and a roaring crowd, took an early 4-0 lead over Florida. It was also noted that South Alabama’s gym offered goals with very hard rims and basketballs with an excessive amount of air in them, which may have contributed to the Jaguars capitalizing and the Gators shooting just 33 percent in the first half.

South Alabama was on fire and executing 50 percent of their shots in the first half, but Florida found a way to extinguish that fire in the second half. Senior guard Carlie Needles knocked down back-to-back three-points shots, quickly stepped in to be the team leader, and scored a game-high 15 points. Sophomore guard Dyandria Anderson found her anticipated momentum and reached her first double-double of her career with 13 points and 1o rebounds. Junior guard/forward, Ronni Williams’ 14 points and 11 rebounds was her fourth double-double this season, and her first four points gave the Gators their first lead in the game.

The Gators and the Jaguars seemed to be playing tic-for-tac, by the end of the third quarter when it came to scoring. But,in the fourth quarter, with South Alabama’s animated band members and roaring crowd designed to be a distraction, junior guard Simone Westbrook sped past the Jaguars’ defense to lay it up for two points and key a 21-9 run by the Gators with 2:35 remaining in the ball game to help Florida seal the road win.

Florida’s head coach, Amanda Butler gave credit to racking up road miles over the last couple of games for the sluggish Gators’ start, but a win is a win.

After the victory over the Jaguars, Florida is now 6-1 and will have a couple days to rest up before hosting Arkansas State on December 7th.

About Darwin Patterson

A senior at the University of Florida reporting on Gator sports, local Gainesville and surrounding area sports, and telling the stories of local athletes. Born and raised in Gainesville, Florida with a passion for telling people's stories and having fun doing it.

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