UF women's hoops routs Alabama

Published: Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 6:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 6:52 p.m.

Amanda Butler isn't trying to simply build a winning basketball team. She's hoping to construct a winning program.

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Florida guard Jennifer Mossor makes the basket and gets the foul against Alabama's Tamara Williams late in the second half of the Gators' win on Sunday.

BRAD McCLENNY/Special to The Sun

Butler and the Gators took another step toward that goal during an 80-65 rout of Alabama on Sunday afternoon in the O'Connell Center. The SEC home-opening win came in front of over two dozen former Florida women's basketball players who were part of the crowd of 1,529 on Alumni Day.

"It was a great day for our program for a lot of different reasons," Butler said. "It got us off to the right start in terms of defending the home court in the SEC. It was an answer to our disappointing loss at Kentucky. We had a fantastic crowd and an enthusiastic group of alums here.

"It's all indications that things are moving in the right direction."

The Gators improved to 12-5 and 1-1 in the SEC. The win was the largest SEC victory for the Gators since a 98-83 win over Mississippi State in the first round of the 2006 SEC Tournament.

Florida did it by shooting a blistering 56.5 percent from the floor. Four Gators were in double figures in scoring led by senior Depree Bowden's 18 points. Junior Marshae Dotson had 17, junior Aneika Henry had 14 while sophomore Sharielle Smith added 10.

Florida's starting post players Dotson and Henry combined to shoot 15-for-22 from the field.

"That helped a lot," Bowden said. "Aneika was finishing well. We tried to get the ball into Marshae, too and work it back out."

Florida started the game with tremendous balance. Six different players accounted for Florida's first seven field goals. The Gators never trailed after taking a 7-6 lead on a Sha Brooks' 3-pointer with 17:32 left in the first half. Florida surged to a 42-30 halftime lead and led by as many as 22 in the second half.

The Gators did it by forcing 26 Alabama turnovers and keeping the tempo fast-paced.

"Florida did a good job pushing on the fast break," Alabama coach Stephany Smith said. "It snowballed for us at different points of the game. I am proud our team continued to fight. It could have gotten away from us more than it did."

Alabama fell to 8-9 and 1-1 in the SEC. The Crimson Tide got 17 points from Dedrea Magee and 11 off the bench from Tierney Jenkins.

Florida, meanwhile, bounced back from Thursday's disappointing, 60-58, loss at Kentucky. Butler said that showed the character of her team.

"Our team did a great job of not making excuses, of being held accountable and being tough and being ready to play the next time," Butler said. "That's what we did. That shows leadership and maturity."

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