Women's Hoops: Gators get sixth straight win

Two games don't make a season, but for Coach Carolyn Peck and her Florida Gators, confidence is soaring after accomplishing opening the Southeastern Conference schedule with back to back wins for the first time in four years. Peck's Gators are 2-0 in SEC play after a 67-60 victory over Auburn Sunday afternoon at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center before a crowd of 3,842, the sixth largest crowd for a women's basketball game in school history.

The Gators improved their record to a surprising 11-4 overall by playing tough defense and hitting clutch free throws down the stretch to upend the Tigers, now 9-5 overall and 0-1 in the SEC. For a team that began the season with low expectations by the SEC media, the Gators are showing that playing tough both mentally and physically manifests itself in victories. The win was the sixth straight for the Gators.

"My team continues to impress me and has shown a lot of character in every game that we've played," Peck said. "We showed a lot of character, poise and confidence down the stretch tonight and I'm very proud of them."

Florida found itself in a familiar position in the final minutes of the game, trailing and in need of some big plays to switch the momentum. On this day, it was Tamia Williams and Bernice Mosby who stepped up the intensity to lead the Gators turnaround.

Williams, who led the Gators with 22 points, scored eight straight points in a span of 1:31 to rally the Gators from three down to a five-point lead. In that mini-run, Williams nailed a pair of three-pointers. She went 4-8 from behind the arc for the game.

Mosby's 17 point, nine-rebound performance included 10 second half points.

In the final minutes of the game, it was the Gators' ability to calmly knock down one free throw after another that kept Auburn from regaining the lead. Florida hit six clutch free throws in the last 39 seconds of the game.

"I thought we played well enough to win, but I felt we fouled too much in the second half," Fortner said. "We sent Florida to the free throw line too many times, and that's the difference in the ball game."

Reserve center Dalila Eshe had a solid game for the Gators with eight points and eight rebounds in 19 minutes. Senior Tishona Gregory, normally a reliable scoring option at the point guard position, struggled with her shooting but she contributed four assists and three steals to compensate for her off day shooting the ball.

Auburn's Louise Emeagi almost stole all the momentum away with her 29 points and six rebounds.

The Gators hope to ride the momentum of six straight wins when they play host to number one ranked LSU at the O-Dome Thursday.


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