UF women's hoops outlasts South Carolina

Published: Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 25, 2010 at 12:34 a.m.

South Carolina’s basketball teams didn’t have a bad weekend trip to Gainesville, just a bad minute or two.

After the men dropped a last-second decision to UF Saturday night, the women’s team let go of a lead in the final minute Sunday to fall to the Gators 59-56 in front of 2,053 fans at the O’Connell Center.

Florida led by as many as 13 points in the first half, but allowed the Gamecocks back in the game with a run before intermission. South Carolina erased a five-point Florida lead in the closing seconds, but couldn’t hold on during a frantic final minute of action.

USC freshman center Kelsey Bone scored 14 of her game-high 19 points in the first half. All five second-half points came in a 47-second surge to give her team a 56-55 lead with 44 seconds to play. Florida guard Trumae Lucas answered with a left-side floater with 16 seconds remaining to put the Gators back on top. South Carolina’s attempt at a game-winner failed when Jennifer George logged one of her career-high six blocks on a La’Keisha Sutton layup. Bone grabbed the rebound, but wasn’t able to put in a spinning layup attempt.

Lucas and Sharielle Smith led the Gators with 11 points each. Smith’s sixth rebound came on Bone’s miss which the senior followed up with a pair of free throws to ice the victory.

Jordan Jones, who started her career with the Gamecocks (10-9, 3-4 SEC) before transferring after her freshman year, didn’t have the game she envisioned. The redshirt sophomore logged her lowest point total as a Gator, finishing with four points on 1-of-6 shooting, but was still able to enjoy the victory.

“Of course I would have loved to see a 40-point Gator victory,” Jones said. “But a win is a win.”

Six different players scored as Florida (11-9, 4-3) jumped out to a 20-7 lead in the first 10 minutes. Jones’ only field goal, a three pointer from the left corner, was all the team could muster during a 5:44 stretch that saw South Carolina mount a 17-3 run to take the lead and give Florida its largest lost lead under in Amanda Butler’s three years as coach..

“South Carolina is very, very talented,” Butler said. “...We never felt like everything was going our way. We knew they were going to make their run.”

A 27-all halftime score flip-flopped for most of the second half as neither team could extend a lead by more than five points. Twelve of the 16 lead changes took place in the final 20 minutes as both teams struggled with foul trouble.

Bone missed much of the second period after picking up her fourth foul with 8:52 to play. In her absence, a one-point USC lead became a four-point Gator advantage. Florida center Azania Stewart fouled out with 1:31 to play, just as Bone began her run to retake the lead.

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