UF WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Mizzou's 3s too much for Gators


Florida coach Amanda Butler talks to a player from the sidelines during the Gators' 82-72 win over Mississippi State on Jan. 2 at the O'Connell Center.

Matt Stamey / Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 11:14 p.m.

It wasn't like Florida didn't know what visiting Missouri was going to do in Thursday night's SEC basketball game at the O'Connell Center.

Facts

Sunday's game

Who: Florida at South Carolina
When: 1 p.m.
TV: Sun Sports
Radio: AM-850

Knowing the Tigers' tendencies and stopping them, however, turned out to be two different topics.

Missouri, which came into the game leading the SEC in 3-point attempts (631) and 3-pointers made (236), proceeded to knock down 12 of 25 shots (48 percent) from beyond the arc to upset the Gators, 81-76, dropping UF to 17-9 overall and 7-6 in SEC play while the Tigers improved to 16-10, 5-8.

“It's disappointing to lose on our home floor and lose in exactly the way that we knew they were going to play,” coach Amanda Butler said. “I think it just doesn't show a lot of commitment to the practice we put in the last two days and what we think makes us good in that preparation battle.”

Junior guard Morgan Eye led the way for Missouri with 20 points and also led the long-range assault, hitting 6 of 10 treys, while freshman guard Sierra Michaelis hit 4 of 6 from bonus land en route to an 18-point, 11-rebound double-double. Senior forward Bri Kulas added 19 points and sealed the win with three free throws in the final 18 seconds after UF had pulled to within 78-76 on an offensive rebound and putback by sophomore January Miller with 19.4 ticks left.

The Gators led 34-30 at the half, but the Tigers, who were just 4 of 14 from 3-point range at the break, hit back-to-back treys coming out of intermission and went on to knock down 8 of 11 in the second half to pull off the road win, outscoring Florida 51-42 over the last 20 minutes.

Redshirt junior Kayla Lewis led the Gators, who lost despite shooting 50 percent from the field (30 of 60), with 20 points and 10 rebounds for her team-leading eighth double-double of the year, and senior Jaterra Bonds and redshirt sophomore Cassie Peoples added 16 and 13 points, respectively.

But it wasn't enough as UF missed a golden opportunity to pick up its eighth league win of the year and assure itself of no worse than a .500 SEC mark with three league games remaining.

“You just have to give Missouri a ton of credit for the way they played,” Butler said. “To go on the road in the SEC, we talk about how hard that is all the time, but they really made it look easy.”

The good news for the Gators was that the other two teams tied with them for fourth place in the conference — No. 15 Kentucky and No. 19 LSU — also lost Thursday night.

Next up, UF faces a huge road test against league-leading, No. 4 South Carolina (24-2, 12-1) Sunday at 1 p.m.

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