Kentucky clips UF women's hoops

Published: Friday, January 11, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 11, 2008 at 12:25 a.m.

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Junior Marshae Dotson tied her career-high of 26 points and snared a game-high 12 rebounds in Florida’s tough 60-58 loss to Kentucky on Thursday evening in Memorial Coliseum.

Florida (11-5) had two offensive possessions with under seven seconds remaining, but both opportunities went awry and the Wildcats (7-8) managed to snap the Gator’s seven-game winning streak and earn the victory in both teams’ Southeastern Conference openers.

“We’re disappointed in the outcome but at the same time, it’s a road game and you don’t expect the ball to bounce your way or decisions to be made in your favor, especially when they’re in the heat of the moment,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “We have to control the things we can control.”

The usually accurate Gators hit just 13-of-20 from the free-throw line for 65 percent during the game, while committing 24 turnovers.

Florida was aggressive out of the locker room and quickly eliminated a five-point deficit, as Dotson converted a feed inside from Lonnika Thompson to start a 7-2 run that tied the game at 32-all after Sha Brooks’ 3-pointer from the left corner.

The Gators had chances to take the lead, but couldn’t get a shot to fall, as UK tallied the next four points. UF came right back with four straight points after Sharielle Smith took a dish from Dotson in the paint. Dotson then connected on an acrobatic lay-in and the game was tied at 36 with 15:43 to go.

Brooks sank one free throw to give the Gators their first lead since three minutes into the game.

The lead was short lived, as Samantha Mahoney drove the lane for a short jumper before Smith added one free throw to tied the game at 38. Chelsea Chowning nailed a 3-pointer for UK and sparked a 7-0 run, as the Wildcats led 45-38 with 11:26 remaining.

The Gators came right back after Jennifer Mossor’s jumper ignited a 7-0 run, as Dotson converted a three-point play and came up with a steal on UK’s ensuing possession, driving the length of the court for the layup to tie the game at 45-all with 10:12 on the clock.

The game was tied twice more over the next three-plus minutes, the last time after Smith nailed a 3-pointer from the right corner with 6:42 remaining. UK hit the next bucket and Chowning again came up with a huge 3-pointer, extending the Wildcat lead to five, 55-50, with 5:10 left in the game.

UF whittled the lead down to three, 57-54, with just under two minutes remaining. Mahoney countered with a field goal that swelled the lead back to five with 1:32 to play.

Dotson came right back, found her way to the line and made both with 1:15 left in the game, before she followed that with a slashing drive with 50 seconds left and the Gators were within one point, 59-58.

After a strong defensive stand where the Gators forced a shot-clock violation, Florida placed the ball in Dotson’s hands. She went high for a pass but came down and fell to the floor, where the Wildcats took the ball away and called a timeout with 6.4 seconds left.

Florida stole the ball in the inbound pass and fed Dotson, but she was called for an offensive charge with 2.3 seconds remaining. Chowning made one free throw and intentionally missed the second with under two seconds remaining, as UF was unable to go the length of the court for a chance to tie or win the game.

Sha Brooks was the only other Gator to reach double-figure scoring, as she tallied 13 points. Sharielle Smith scored six points and collected 10 rebounds in 22 minutes for Florida, which won the rebounding battle, 42-38.

Samantha Mahoney’s 22 points led UK, while Amber Smith chipped in 13 points, as the Wildcats hit 39 percent from the floor and committed 20 turnovers.

The Gators return to action on Sunday, when Florida plays host to Alabama in the team’s SEC home opener in the O’Connell Center beginning at 2 p.m.

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