WOMEN's HOOPS: Three's a charm for Gators

Maybe all Coach Carolyn Peck's Gator women's basketball team needed was a break from the norm to get over the bad taste of an 0-2 start that included a loss to Florida State. Whatever it was that got the Gators turned around, ever since that trip to The Bahamas, the Gators have been focused and playing with the kind of intensity that Peck expects from her team.

Saturday at the O'Connell Center, Peck's focused team proved that three is a charm. Not only did the Gators pound the Temple Owls 77-58 for their third straight win, but the Gators stretched the Temple defense on the perimeter and nailed 11 three-pointers to tie a school record with seniors Tamia Williams and Tishona Gregory combining for 10-14 threes.

"One goal for today's game was to get field-goal percentage up, especially during the first half," Peck said. "The difference was also with the unselfish play - [almost] every person had an assist by the end of the first half."

Williams had a career high 23 points in 15 minutes for UF off the bench, while Gregory had 17 points.

Williams was the Gators fire starter on Saturday, scoring 10 points on a momentum changing 15-4 run in the first half to give the Gators a 30-12 lead with six minutes remaining in the half.

One encouraging stat for the Gators came on the pine production. The Florida bench outscored Temple 44-12. Yet another area where the Gators shone was on the defensive side of the ball forcing 20 plus turnovers for the second straight game.

"We had a lot of energy on the defensive side and that transfers to the offense," Peck said.

The Owls committed 13 first half turnovers while shooting 33 percent, all of which led to a 44-21 UF halftime lead.

For the game, Florida was able to convert 28 points off of Temple's 20 turnovers, and junior Sarah Lowe led the defensive effort with four steals while also leading the team with five assists on the offensive side.

Not enough can be said about the Gators bench this year. With the departure of current WNBA player Vanessa Hayden, and the recovering Tashia Morehead, Peck has had to rely on her deep team for production. Sophomore Briana Phillips was able to put in eight points off the bench on 4-5 shooting and added three rebounds in 17 minutes of play.

The Gators face Delaware State Monday night in the O'Connell Center.

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