Williams' 23 paces Gators


Coach Carolyn Peck claps during the Kentucky game.

Sun file photo
Published: Friday, January 7, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 7, 2005 at 2:06 a.m.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Tamia Williams tied her career high of 23 points as Florida defeated Arkansas 68-56 in front of 2,318 at Bud Walton Arena in Southeastern Conference play Thursday.
Williams made 4 of 7 three-pointers and was 5-6 in free throws. Tashia Morehead also scored in double digits, adding 11 points for Florida (10-4, 1-0). Morehead had five assists.
It was the Gator's first Southeastern Conference season-opening victory since the 2000-01 season.
"Tonight's victory was a total team effort," UF head coach Carolyn Peck said. "All 10 healthy players knew the game plan and knew what they needed to do in the game. I'm so proud of our team. To go on the road and to win our SEC opener was huge. Everyone was so focused and it feels great to get that monkey off our back."
Arkansas (10-3, 0-2) was down by 17 at the half. The Razorbacks' Ruby Vaden and Kristin Peoples were lead scorers, each with 9.
Arkansas was able to cut the margin to 9 with 3:07 left in the game. Sarah Pfeifer scored two points on a jump shot in the final seconds of the game, but that was hardly enough to overcome Florida's lead, including five points contributed by Williams with a little over a minute left.
Arkansas, which did not have a player score in double-figures, committed 22 turnovers while shooting just 30.8 percent (20-65) from the floor. The 'Backs did hold a 42-40 rebounding advantage, which included 24 offensive boards.
Florida began the second half committing three turnovers in the opening four minutes after having just four miscues during the first 20 minutes. Arkansas took advantage by scoring the first five points and chipped away at the Gator's 43-26 halftime advantage, eventually cutting UF's lead to 10 points, 49-39, with 13:37 remaining.
However, Tamia Williams nailed her fourth three-pointer of the game and Brittany Davis added a chip shot, as UF regained a 15-point advantage, 54-39, with 12:30 remaining in the game.
The team slowly traded buckets, as both teams had trouble scoring and Florida's turnover woes continued, but the Gators still held a 60-44 lead with just under five minutes on the clock. Then April Seggebruch, who didn't play in the first half, came off the bench to nail her first of two three-pointers during a quick 10-3 run as Arkansas cut UF's lead to single digits, 63-54, with 3:07 remaining.
Arkansas had several chances to get even closer after dominating the offensive rebounds, but had trouble converting and was forced to stop the clock and begin fouling. Williams closed out the win by hitting 5-of-6 free throws in the final 1:36.
"I can't even begin to tell you how good it feels to be 1-0 in the SEC," Peck said. "This league is so tough and getting a win on the road is especially important. Our team really knew the game plan and executed it tonight."
The Gators next return to action on Sunday, January 9, when they play host to Auburn (9-4, 0-0 SEC) in the O'Connell Center beginning at 3 p.m.

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