Gators finished off

Published: Monday, January 29, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 29, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

It appeared as if Florida had rediscovered a little bit of that upset magic on Sunday, the kind it brewed up a year ago in upset wins over Tennessee and LSU.

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The Associated Press

The Gators were matching No. 14 Georgia basket for basket midway though the second half in the O'Connell Center. Unfortunately for the Gators, however, they once again couldn't finish strong.

Tasha Humphrey scored 19 points while Ashley Houts added 16 to lead Georgia to a 77-54 win over Florida in front of a crowd of 1,403.

The Gators trailed by just four with 9:28 left, but the Bulldogs closed the game on a 22-5 run and held the Gators without a field goal over the final 6:48 to run away with the win.

"For about 75 percent of the game we did a good job," UF coach Carolyn Peck said.

Florida got 20 points from Marshae Dotson while Depree Bowden added 12 points and 13 rebounds.

The Gators (6-16, 0-7 SEC) lost for the ninth straight time. Georgia (18-4, 5-2) has now won seven straight over Florida by an average of 22.8 points per contest.

This time, however, Florida looked like it was going to reverse the recent history in this series. The Gators, trailing 36-27 at the half, cut Georgia's lead to four points on five separate occasions in the second half. The last came when Dotson hit a layup to slice Georgia's lead to 53-49 with 9:28 left.

"That gave us a little confidence," said Dotson, who recorded her sixth 20-point game this season. "We knew we could play with them. We just had to play hard."

Georgia answered by going on a 10-0 run over the next two minutes to go ahead 63-49 with 7:15 left. Kim Dye cut the deficit to 11 with a 3-pointer with 6:48 left but it would be Florida's last field goal of the game.

"We might have gotten a little tired at the end," Dye said. "That's just something that's going to come along."

Part of the spark from Georgia came from Humphrey, who finally eluded the double and triple teams Florida threw at her in the first half to score 13 second-half points.

"I thought Florida played hard and with a lot of grit," Georgia coach Andy Landers said. "Their strategy defensively was solid and frustrated us. In the first half we looked out of sync, but that was because they had half of Gainesville in the paint defending us."

A year ago, Florida made waves by defeating No. 2 LSU in the O'Connell Center and No. 5 Tennessee in Knoxville.

This year, Florida is just looking for any kind of win. Sunday's game was the third straight home contest Florida put itself in position to win.

The Gators held a six-point lead over Arkansas at halftime before losing 67-57 on Jan. 21 and played Auburn to the final minutes in a 74-69 loss on Jan. 18.

Peck said she was happy with her team's play coming off a lackluster, 79-51, loss at South Carolina on Thursday.

"I was proud of the effort this team gave after South Carolina," Peck said. "They got back in the fight. That was something I was pleased with. But I was not pleased with our play down the stretch."

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