Hampton, VA - Hampton dominated the second half and Florida wasn’t able to capture an elusive road win, as the Lady Pirates earned a 69-54
victory at the HU Convocation Center Friday evening.
Hampton, which won its fourth consecutive game, scored the last six
points of the first half and carried that momentum into the second, when
the Pirates outscored the Gators, 42-22.
“Hampton played a lot tougher than we did,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “Whenever you get out-rebounded like we did, giving up 18
offensive rebounds, it’s just toughness. At a certain point, our
physical toughness lacked and then our mental toughness didn’t sustain us at all. It’s really, really disappointing that we didn’t have more
Florida (8-3) was out-rebounded for the first time this season, as
Hampton (5-4) fought for the 38-30 advantage inside, also out-scoring
the Gators 28-16 in the paint.
“Hampton did a great job of getting the ball in the paint,” Butler said.
“We didn’t defend dribble penetration at all. That’s personal. That’s
pride on the defensive side and it’s disappointing. The two areas that
really are a reflection of how tough you are we failed in tonight. I
thought we had good preparation and we have great balance when everyone shows up to play, but clearly we were lacking a full team tonight.”
The Pirates quickly erased the Gators’ 32-27 halftime lead, using a 15-0
run that spanned the final 58 seconds of the opening period into the
first five minutes of the second and taking a 36-32 lead.
Deaundra Young finally halted the spree with an inside jumper and after
one Pirate free thrown, Jennifer George made a strong move in the paint
the cut the deficit to one, 37-36, with 14:13 remaining.
Hampton, however, wasn’t done scoring in waves and ripped off an 11-0
run and claimed a 48-36 advantage.
Jaterra Bonds nailed a three-pointer and had Florida within single
digits and the teams traded scores for the next minute, as the Pirates
continued to find their way to the free throw line, moving into the
bonus phase with 9:49 remaining.
After one free throw from Jordan Jones brought UF within nine, 52-43,
with 7:55 left, the Gators played great defense for 29 seconds on its
next possession, but Bernadette Fortune jacked up a long shot and banked in a three-pointer as the shot clock expired, fitting for the way the game was going for the Gators.
The trey ignited an 8-0 spurt and Hampton was able to weather a late
push by the Gators, who cut the deficit to 10, last coming with 3:58 to
play, but Florida went cold from the floor, as Lanita Bartley’s layup
that brought her team within 62-52 was the final field goal of the game
for the Gators.
Jones was the only Florida player who scored in double-figures and
scored 16 points, with 13 of those coming in the first half for the
Gators, who have yet to earn a true road win in three tries this season.
Florida shot 41.7 percent overall (20-48) from the floor, including a
44.4 percent (8-18) effort from the three-point arc. The Gators, however
connected on just 1-of-8 long range attempts in the deciding second
Melanie Warner led four Pirates in double-figures, scoring 16 with a
game-high 10 rebounds, as Hampton hit 43.1 percent from the floor and
scored 22 points off of UF’s 19 turnovers.
Florida began the second half committing consecutive turnovers, but held Hampton to one missed shot on both of its initial offensive tries.
After the Gators’ third miscue in as many offensive possessions, the
Lady Pirates crashed the boards and Melanie Warner rewarded the home team with a three-pointer and continued the run the club finished the first half to 9-0.
Two more buckets by Hampton extended the sprePirates a 34-32 lead, which forced the Gators to call a timeout.
Hampton tacked on one more bucket and continued its scoring spree that ballooned to a 27-4 run and never looked back.
Florida came out firing on all cylinders and began the game with
back-to-back three-pointers from Jordan Jones and Lily Svete in the
first 78 seconds of the contest.
Hampton showed it had the long-rang touch, as Melanie Warner nailed one. Jericka Jenkins followed with a three-point play and tied the game.
Jaterra Bonds added a third trey for the Gators, but the Lady Pirates
scored the next four points and held a 10-9 lead with 13:58 remaining in
the first half.
The Gators marched right back with four consecutive points, as Jones and Kayla Lewis hit from inside the arc, before Hampton matched the scores and evened the count at 14-all with 9:31 on the clock.
The teams traded buckets, with Brittany Shine sneaking in a trey for the
Gators, who maintained a one-point advantage with 5:29 left in the
Ndidi Madu’s offensive rebound put-back with 4:37 remaining sparked a
10-0 Florida run, as the Gators received scoring from Azania Stewart,
Jones and Deaundra Young during the spurt that gave UF a 32-21 lead with 1:47 to go in the half.
Hampton fought right back and scored the final six points of the period
and cut Florida’s deficit to five entering the locker room.
Jones hit 4-of-5 three-pointers, leading Florida’s outside shooting
touch that nailed 7-of-10 from beyond the arc, as Bonds, Shine and Svete all got in on the long-range brigade.
The Gators shot 46.2 percent (12-26) during the opening half.
The Gators now take a 10-day break from competition to regroup and
prepare for winter semester final exams being held on the UF campus.
Florida returns to the court on Mon., Dec. 20, playing host the annual
two-day Gator Holiday Classic. Florida plays Alabama State at 7:30 p.m., following the opening round game featuring Robert Morris and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi that tips-off at 4 p.m. in the O’Connell Center. The consolation and championship games are scheduled for Tue., Dec. 21, with start times at 2 p.n. and 4:30 p.m.