UF women even SEC record with rout of Tide

Florida forward Jennifer George shoots as Alabama guard Jessica Merritt, right, looks on during the Gators' game against the Crimson Tide at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center on Jan. 19, 2012, in Gainesville, Fla.

Steven H. Keys/Correspondent
Published: Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 10:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 10:37 p.m.

Behind junior forward Jennifer George's 11th double-double of the season and a tremendous defensive effort, the Florida Gators evened their Southeastern Conference record at 3-3 while improving to 13-6 overall with a 61-37 win over Alabama on Thursday night in the O'Connell Center.

George finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds, both game-high marks, and senior center Azania Stewart added eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Gators kept the Crimson Tide (10-10, 0-6 SEC) winless in league play by holding them to 24.6 percent shooting (16 of 65) and out-rebounding them by a 51-39 margin.

Junior forward Kyra Crosby tied her career-high with 14 points to lead the Tide, who lost their sixth straight game.

“I thought Florida did exactly what they needed to do by taking control of the game, and once they got control, they didn't do anything to let us back in the game,” Alabama head coach Wendell Hudson said. “They're playing at a very high level right now.”

The Tide led 11-8 with 11:13 left in the first half, but from there, Florida's pressure defense started to take its toll, leading to some easy baskets and a game-changing 25-6 run that left the Gators with a 33-17 halftime lead.

The lead ballooned to as many as 27 points in the second half, with Alabama's 37-point output the lowest by a Florida opponent since Southern scored 35 in December 2009.

“I'm really proud of the maturity we displayed tonight,” said Florida head coach Amanda Butler. “I think that we really showed our senior leadership and our composure. We had great preparation coming into this game and great execution of the game plan.”

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