No. 5 Tennessee dominates Florida at O'Connell Center

Published: Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 9:50 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 9:50 p.m.

The Florida women's basketball team went into its big SEC tilt with No. 5 Tennessee looking to check the progress of its young team. The results showed that there is still a lot of work to be done.

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Florida Gators guard Lanita Bartley (3) is defended by Tennessee Lady Volunteers forward Alicia Manning (15) and center Kelley Cain (52) as she goes up for a shot during the first half at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011.

Matt Stamey/ Staff Photographer

If something could have gone wrong Thursday in the O'Connell Center, it did. The Gators shot a lowly 21.4 percent from the field, third worst in program history, and were dominated in every facet of the game by the more experienced Volunteers. A 32-point halftime lead was extended in the second half as UT embarrassed the home team with a 83-40 victory.

The defeat is the third worst in the 43-game series history, trailing only a 74-point romping in the teams' first meeting in 1980 and a 55-point decision in 1988.

"I think our team learned a lesson about how far we have to go to be able to contend for a title against a team like that," Coach Amanda Butler said.

Florida (12-6, 2-2 SEC) took an early lead at 3-2 before the wheels fell off during a 15-2 Vols run. At times, the young Florida team look dazed by the superior size and speed while failing to complete fast break opportunities and easy layups.

The 47-15 deficit at intermission marked the third fewest first-half point total ever in an SEC game for Florida. In the period, Tennessee had more 3 pointers (seven) than UF had field goals (six)

"I was so up for coming to the next best SEC school to help beat Tennessee" said transfer junior Deana Allen, who scored six points and grabbed a career-high eight rebounds. "But I think we went away from certain things defensively and we took off possessions. ... Once we couldn't stop them from doing what we knew they were going to do, we lost confidence."

UF's shooting percentage dipped as low as 17 percent in the second half as Tennessee rolled through the period to improve to 16-2 (4-0 SEC). The Gators were led by Brittany Shine, who scored seven points. Florida's starters combined for just 20 points.

The Volunteers completed 32-of-67 shots (47.8 percent), including 9-of-21 (42.9) from long range. UT out-rebounded (57-37), out-assisted (13-5) and out-scored the Gators in the paint (30-12).

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