Roundup: Embree captures milestones, women's tennis beats Baylor

Women's hoops hosts Alabama today


Published: Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 12:26 a.m.

The top-ranked University of Florida women's tennis team earned the hard-fought doubles point, where senior All-American Lauren Embree earned the 100th career doubles victory, and the Gators defeated No. 15 Baylor, 7-0, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex.

“We showed a lot of class today, Baylor's a great team,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “They fight really hard and are more skilled in doubles than I anticipated. I thought we showed quality to get out with the doubles point.”

Embree became the 14th different Gator to reach the 100-win plateau for doubles, as she improved her 100-18 in her distinguished collegiate doubles career. Embree also notched her 99th career singles victory with her 6-4, 6-7 (6), 1-0 (10-7) win against 16th-ranked Ema Burgic.




The gusty Gator senior who is known for outlasting her opponent in pressure-filled team competitions, was involved in yet another lengthy match even though the team outcome had already been secured. In what proved to be one of the best and most competitive matches of the day, Embree won the first set after earning a break in the final game. She then found herself receiving, down 5-2 before staging one of her patented comebacks, rallying to win four straight games and taking a 6-5 lead. Burgic held serve and forced a tiebreak, as she had to fight off two match points before holding on her second game-point opportunity.

In the second-set tiebreak, Embree jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but Burgic battled back and with a mini-break on the ninth point and held on her next two trips to the baseline for the 6-5 advantage. Embree's next serve tied the breaker at 6-all, but Burgic broke before holding to force a third set.

Embree again jumped out and took a 3-0 lead before Burgic won three straight points. Embree held for 4-3 and earned a mini-break for a 5-4 lead. She won both of her next two serves and held a 7-4 advantage. Burgic also held her next two serves and after Embree held captured another break, cutting Embree's lead to 8-7. The Gator senior, however, won the final two points to end the match.

Freshman Brianna Morgan was the first Gator off the court, as she posted a decisive 6-1, 6-1 victory over Alex Leatu in 54 minutes. The rookie held at love to begin the match and jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Leatu took Morgan's next serve, but the Gator ripped off the next four games to take the opening set. Leatu held to begin the second set, but that would be her only game, as Morgan rolled through the final six games for the straight-set win and gave Florida a 2-0 lead.

Alexandra Cerconewas the next off the court with her 6-2, 6-2 victory against Jordaan Sanford at the number three position. Cercone earned breaks in the fourth, sixth and eighth games to claim the first set, before racing out to a 5-0 lead in the second as she broke in the final game to capture the win and give Florida a 3-0 lead.

Danielle Collins provided the clinching singles victory, a 6-4, 6-0 decision over Kiah Generette on court four, where she capped the match with a beautifully placed lob for a winner. Collins began the match with a break and rode that to the first set before posting a bagel in the second for the straight-set victory.

Top-ranked Sofie Oyen then downed Megan Horter, 6-4, 6-3, and gave the Gators their fifth point of the match. The Gator junior jumped out to a 3-0 lead, up one break. Horter broke late, but couldn't hold off Oyen, who managed the break to take the first set. The two traded breaks early in the second and Oyen claimed another in the sixth game for the 4-2 lead. She then held in her final two games to close out the match.

Olivia Janowicz needed three sets to earn Florida's sixth point of the dual match, as she emerged with a 6-2, 5-7, 1-0 (10-5) decision over Victoria Kisialeva. After winning a quick first set, Janowicz and her opponent held to begin the second before the next nine games were all breaks, as Kisialeva ended the streak by holding in the 12th game and forcing a third set. Janowicz jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the 10-point third-set super-tiebreak, as Kisialeva roared back to take a 5-4 lead. The Gator junior refocused and won the final six points and earned the one hour and 43 minute victory.

Florida captured the doubles point with victories on courts one and three. The Gator pair of Alexandra Cercone and Brianna Morgan overcame a slow start when they trailed Megan Horter and Alex Leatu, 3-1, and were the first to post a result after claiming seven straight games to en route to the their 8-3 decision in 46 minutes, capped by Cercone holding at love for the win.

On court one, Embree teamed with Sofie Oyen defeated Ema Burgic and Kiah Generette, 8-5, to secure the first team point of the dual match. The Gator pair jumped out to an early 3-1 lead thanks to an early break and that's all it needed as the tandem held serve throughout, earning its second break in the final game where they lost just one point to take the match. Embree fell behind 15-40 on her serve in the 12th game, but the Gators battled back and won three straight points for their first game-point. They had one more after that, before having to fend off a break point, which they did and ended the battle on their third game-point opportunity to take the 7-5 lead. They carried that momentum in the final game for the victory and Embree's milestone win.

Women's basketball: Florida returns to the O'Connell Center on Sunday when the Gators play host to Alabama and seek a return to their winning ways.

Tip-off from the O'Connell Center is scheduled for 1 p.m. and fans who wear pink to the game receive $1 general admission tickets. It's also a FAMILY 4-PACK SUNDAY, where 4 general admission tickets, 4 hot dogs and 4 sodas cost $20.

The Gators will be wearing PINK uniforms as part of the Southeastern Conference's initiative to raise awareness for breast cancer. The first 500 fans receive “Live Life All In” Pink wristbands.

The Gators have lost their last five games, four of those by eight points or less, including Thursday evening's 69-64 setback at Missouri. They capped the first half of their Southeastern Conference slate with a 2-6 record.

During UF's current five-game losing streak, the Gators have won the rebounding battle just once (48-41 vs. Tennessee). Overall this year, the team has lost the rebounding battle six times and was even once (at Missouri). Another statistical change has been the team's effort at the free throw line, where the Gators have converted a woeful 53.8 percent (50-93) during the last five games, while sending their opponents to the charity stripe 130 times (that's an average of 26 times per game).

Florida's last meeting against 11 of the 13 other teams from the SEC has been decided by 10 points or less.

Women's golf:Even though the Lady Bulldog Individual Championship was scheduled for two 18-hole round, early morning frost shortened the event to only 18 holes. Nonetheless, senior Mia Piccio claimed the title with a score of 69, only two shots better than second place finisher, Laura Wearn of Furman.

The tournament does not count towards Piccio's season totals as it was only an individual contest, but it continues a string of strong Gator performances that has seen five UF medalist winners prior to today.

The round of 69 for Piccio is her best 18-hole performance for this season. Her lowest round prior to Saturday was two rounds of 70 back at the Cougar Classic in early September.

Along with Piccio, junior Elcin Ulu and sophomore Anna Young were in the field. Ulu was coming off a great performance at the Florida Challenge last week and shot a 75 to finish tied for fifth place. For Young, she shot an 81 to finish tied for 23rd place.

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