UF women's hoops wins again

Published: Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 12:10 a.m.

Sha Brooks scored a season-high 23 points leading the University of Florida women’s basketball team to a 68-54 victory over Temple on Saturday afternoon at the Liacouras Center.

The outcome marked the Gators' seventh consecutive victory as Florida closed its non-conference slate with an 11-4 record. The Gators next turn their attention to Southeastern Conference play which gets underway on Thursday when the team travels to Lexington to play Kentucky at 7 p.m. The radio broadcast of the game can be heard live in Gainesville on WRUF AM-850.

Absent from the Gator sideline on Saturday was head coach Amanda Butler, who was tending to a family emergency. Assistant coach Susie Gardner assumed Butler’s duties on the bench and will continue to do so until her return to the team.

The Gators rallied for their coach, sprinting out of the gate with an 11-1 run in the first four minutes, as Brooks, Depree Bowden, Marshae Dotson and Lonnika Thompson all chipped in during the offensive spurt. After a 2-plus minute scoring drought, Brooks sank a pair of free throws and extended Florida’s game-opening run to 13-1.

“We thought it was important to keep our winning streak intact and our confidence level high entering SEC play,” Gardner said. “Our run to start the game reflected that confidence and that was a key for us today.”

Joining Brooks with a double-figure scoring effort were Dotson, who powered up 16 points along with nine rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a pair of steals, as well as Bowden, who added 12 points, and Smith, who contributed 11 points and seven boards.

“We know Coach Butler is going through a difficult time right now and it was important for us to step up for her,” Bowden said.

Florida shot 43.9 percent (25-57) from the floor during the game, while Temple managed just 35.7 percent (20-56) that included a 3-for-13 effort from the 3-point arc. While the Owls edged the Gators in the rebounding battle, 38-34, Temple committed 23 turnovers compared with 14 miscues for Florida, which entered the game averaging 21.8 per game.

“We limited our turnovers against a very good defensive team,” Gardner said. “I couldn’t be more proud of our team right now.

Lady Comfort and LaKeisha Eaddy each scored 14 points for Temple (7-9), which lost its third consecutive game.

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