Ross returns in style

The Gators erase a 19-point deficit at one point against the team's former coach, but the Rebels prove too much.

Published: Monday, January 24, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 24, 2005 at 3:51 a.m.
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Florida forward Brittany Davis calls for a time out while struggling with a loose ball on Sunday at the O'Connell Center.

MICHAEL C. WEIMAR/The Gainesville Sun
Carol Ross' first trip back to the University of Florida will be remembered much like her 12-year coaching career with the Gators. She came out a winner.
Ross improved to 2-0 against her former team by leading her current team, Ole Miss, to an 82-70 win over the Gators before a crowd of 1,503 in the O'Connell Center on Sunday afternoon.
It was Ole Miss' first win at Florida since Jan. 11, 1992, and second straight over the Gators. The Rebels defeated Florida 79-72 last year in Oxford, Miss., Ross' first season at Ole Miss. The Rebels (13-5, 3-2 SEC) were led by guard Carletta Brown's 22-point performance, while guard Ashley Awkward scored 17 off the bench.
"Obviously this was a little bit of an emotional game for me," said Ross, whose 247 wins as Florida's coach is a school record. "Being in a locker room in the O'Connell Center without Mrs. (Mary Myers) Elliott was a first and it was pretty emotional for me before the game. But our team played great. I really think both teams played in a way that would have made her proud."
Elliott was a longtime friend of Ross and an honorary Gators coach before she died Jan. 9 at the age of 100. Ross delivered the eulogy at a memorial for Elliott on Saturday afternoon in Gainesville.
"(My players) could sense I was emotional," Ross said.
Florida, meanwhile, fell to 12-6 and 3-2 in the SEC. Guard Sarah Lowe sparked Florida with 18 points, four assists and six rebounds off the bench. Forward Bernice Mosby had 17 points and eight rebounds amidst double and triple teams. Guard Tamia Williams added 12 points while forward Brittany Davis chipped in 11.
Gators coach Carolyn Peck was upset afterward at her team's inability to rebound. The Rebels grabbed 58 rebounds to Florida's 37 and scored 24 second-chance points.
"The area of concern for me is rebounding differential," Peck said. "We played decent defense for the most part but allowing a team to get 24 second-chance points is not right."
The Gators came close to pulling one of the greatest comebacks in school history. Florida trailed by as many as 19 points midway through the first half before storming back late in the first half and early in the second half.
After cutting Ole Miss' lead to 36-29 at halftime, the Gators opened the second half on a 12-2 run and took a 41-38 lead with 16:17 left. But the Gators ran out of steam.
"It's definitely draining coming back from 19 points down," Lowe said. "But that's not an excuse. We shouldn't have been in that position to begin with."
After falling behind 41-38, the Rebels quickly answered with a 15-0 run to put the game away.
Florida has only come back from a deficit of 19 or more points to win a game once in school history.
Florida mounted a 20-point, second-half comeback while visiting Alabama on Jan. 4, 1992, in a 103-101 double overtime victory.
You can reach Brandon Zimmerman by calling 374-5051 or at zimmerb@gvillesun.com.

UF WOMEN on Page 7C

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