Women's hoops edged by Pacific

Published: Saturday, December 10, 2011 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, December 10, 2011 at 11:43 p.m.

STOCKTON, Calif. — Florida’s Jennifer George powered up her second consecutive double-double and fourth of the year but it wasn’t enough as the Gators lost at Pacific, 78-73, late Friday at the Alex G. Spanos Center.

Florida actually made one more field goal than the hosts, but the Tigers connected on 11-of-16 3-pointers and corralled 20 offensive rebounds that they turned into 22 second-chance points to win their fourth consecutive game.

“Pacific just out-played us,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “You have to give them credit for the outcome in every way. We played really soft in the first half and that credit goes to Pacific. We did not come out ready to play, which is obviously on

me. They had some individuals who really stepped up and make plays. We didn’t step up and defend the 3-point line at all and you can’t do that on someone else’s home court.”

George finished the game with 14 points and 14 rebounds, while Azania Stewart pulled down 10 rebounds to help Florida out-rebound Pacific, 52-35.

Stewart also blocked a career-high six shots for the Gators, who turned the ball over 22 times and resulted in 25 Tiger points. Jaterra Bonds finished with 13 points and four assists, while Lanita Bartley added 11 points with four assists and four steals and Jordan Jones tallied 10 points with three steals.

The Gators (7-3) began the second half on a 7-3 run and cut their eight-point halftime deficit to four points, 43-39. After the teams traded scores, Pacific knocked down its seventh 3-pointer of the game and another within the next two minutes as part of a 9-2 spurt and reclaimed a double-digit lead, 54-43, with 12:08 remaining. Jones ended the run with a 3-pointer for the Gators, who traded buckets for the next minute, with Bonds hitting an eight-foot, pull-up jumper in the paint. Pacific, however, answered with a score and kept its 10-point lead, 58-48, with 11:03 to go in the game.

Ndidi Madu then knocked down a 16-footer and started a 9-0 run that began a 13-3 overall spurt that tied the game at 61 with 4:58 remaining.

Both teams scored on their next offensive trips and Pacific then nailed its 10th 3-pointer of the game and took a three-point lead with 4:15 on the clock. Stewart skied for an offensive rebound and put back a miss and had Florida within one, 66-65, with 3:34 to go, but Pacific regrouped with the next five points, including four dropping as the shot clock expired.

Florida tried one last rally, scoring the next three points, with Bonds hitting one free throw and Madu collecting the miss on her second attempt and putting it back in with 23.6 seconds remaining and brought the Gators within three points, 71-68.

Kendall Rodriguez then iced the game by hitting four consecutive free throws and finishing the game with 19 points and six of Pacific’s 15 steals. Erica McKenzie was the star of the game, as she converted 7-of-8 three-pointers and ended with a game-high 23 points.

The Gators take a 12-day break from competition and turn their attention to fall semester final exams before returning to the court to play host to the annual Gator Holiday Classic held Dec. 20-21.

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