In a sea of purple and gold, the Gators topped the LSU Tigers, 82-56.
Florida won the opening tip which was followed by a swift inside dish to Ronni Williams for an early two points for the Gators. Florida showed early signs of accurate execution, but LSU was not phased or shocked by the Gators quick scoring methods. So, the Tigers showed off their roar and the game began to go back-and-forth.
The Tigers scraped, scratched, and clawed which allowed them to hang around until halftime. Just when Florida thought they were about to runaway with the momentum, Alexis Hyder had an answer for the Gators and kept the Tigers relevant. But that would only last for so long. The Tigers’ leading scorer Hyder compiled 14 points as she racked up her ninth-career double-double and her team shooting 50 percent from the floor, but it wouldn’t be enough to extinguish the hot Gators.
Florida only had an eight point lead over LSU when they were headed into the locker room for halftime. But the flip side to that is, the Gators’ 40 points was the most points LSU has allowed an opponent to score in a half all season.
The Gators head coach, Amanda Butler gives credit to the starting lineup for the hot start.
Third quarter play was when Florida’s accurate execution began to leave LSU flustered and shocked. The Gators scored 26 points in the third quarter. Florida spread the floor oh so well and 10 different players contributed to the Gators scoring frenzy. At one point, the Gators’ bench outscored LSU, 40-10.
On the topic of scoring, four different Gators scored from downtown. LSU didn’t attempt a three-pointer until the fourth quarter and they were off-target for both attempts. The most notable Gator from behind-the-arc was Carlie Needles knocking down her 200th-career three-pointer. With beautiful form and excellent spin on the ball, Needles’ three-ball was nothing but net. Just two minutes after capturing her 199th-career three-ball, she drills the 200th-career three-pointer from the corner…right in front of the Gators’ bench.
Florida’s Cassie Peoples came off the bench and with red hair, she fueled the Gators to continue to roll on a wave of momentum. Peoples’ left the court as the leading scorer for the Gators. Her 22 points was a season and game-high for the senior. Cassie was the “Peoples’ Champ,” for Florida fans and became the person the Tigers needed to guard. January Miller joined in on the action as well scoring her 900th-career point for the Gators.
As usual for SEC match-ups, the referees’ whistle was blown quite frequently. There were 55 fouls called in this game, but surprisingly… no one fouled out.
Florida forced LSU to turn the ball over 30 times. Amanda Butler says this quality makes the Gators standout.
Last month in Gainesville when these two swamp-loving teams met up, the Tigers held the Gators to a total of 53 points. However, this was a different ballgame. Florida out-shined LSU and the Gators surpassed 53 points with 57 points in the third quarter.
Amanda Butler stepped on the court with a new hair-do and her Gators got the job done.
Florida (21-7, 9-6) is now preparing for a rematch against the Auburn Tigers on Sunday, in the O’Dome.
With the victory over LSU, the Gators hope to capitalize from this and earn a double-bye in next week’s SEC Tournament.
The Gators “wanted more”… they got more.