Women's Hoops Uses Big 2nd Half in Win at USC

The University of Florida women's basketball team began a 24-2 rally with under 15 minutes remaining in the game to overcome a 12-point deficit to earn a 67-57 victory over South Carolina Sunday afternoon at the Colonial Center. Florida's victory was the 499th in the 31st year of the program.

Tamia Williams, who made 5-of-8 from the three-point arc, scored 15 of her game-high 21 points in the second half, when Florida (12-5, 3-1 SEC) committed just three turnovers and shot 44.8 percent (13-29) from the floor, while outscoring the Gamecocks 40-22. USC shot just 25.8 percent (8-31) in the second half after sizzling from the floor during the opening 20 minutes.

The Gamecocks (6-11, 1-3 SEC) entered the game shooting an SEC-low 25.5 percent from the three-point arc, but came out sizzling during the first half, hitting 6-of-13 and building a 35-27 halftime lead. UF also shot well from deep, canning 5-of-10, but committed 13 turnovers that USC turned into 10 points.

"At halftime, I challenged our guards to take care of the basketball," UF head coach Carolyn Peck said. "In the second half we made much better decisions."

Bernice Mosby netted her sixth double-double of the year and the 16th of her career with a 17-point, 12-rebound effort. Tashia Morehead was instrumental during the comeback run and finished the game with 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including 4-of-6 from the three-point line.

"Tashia Morehead came to play today," Peck said. "She stepped it up big. Her focus was on, her senior leadership showed. She made a lot of good things happen. I also cannot say enough about our post game. Bernice Mosby was very aggressive and active in the paint. Brittany Davis stepped up and Dalila Eshe was huge off the bench."

USC continued its hot shooting during the opening two minutes of the second half, extending its eight-point halftime lead to 42-30. But Tashia Morehead scored the next four points of the game bringing the deficit to eight, before USC countered with the next four points with 15:23 remaining. That's when Bernice Mosby, Morehead and Tamia Williams rallied UF with a 10-0 run and were within two, 46-44, with 13:04 remaining. Just before Williams ended the spree with a trey, Morehead collected her fourth personal foul with 13:10 on the clock and went to the bench after leading UF with 16 points, but that didn't slow the Gator offense.

Ilona Burgrova ended UF's run with a jumper in the lane, but Dalila Esha answered with a strong post move for two points and Mosby followed with a tough fade-away in the paint over a double-team to tie the score with 9:30 remaining. Williams then connected on a pair of free throws before throwing up an off-balanced three-pointer that banked in from the left corner as the shot clock expired, giving UF a 53-48 advantage. She followed that with another trey and Brittany Davis capped the 14-0 run with two free throws, as the Gators built a 58-48 lead. After one USC free throw, Williams stole a pass at the top of the key and sank the lay-up with just over four minutes remaining that sparked a 8-2 spree that extended the advantage to 15 points, 66-52, with 1:32 remaining.

USC entered the game shooting an SEC-low 25.5 percent from the three-point arc, but came out sizzling during the first half, hitting 6-of-13 and building a 35-27 halftime lead. UF also shot well from deep, canning 5-of-10, but committed 13 turnovers that USC turned into 10 points.

Florida shot 41.7 percent (10-24) from the field during the first half, but USC managed a 48.3 percent (14-29) effort and held a 17-12 rebounding edge that included seven offensive boards.

Tashia Morehead nailed two three-pointers during UF's game-opening 9-2 run, as the Gators raced out to the early lead. USC struck back thanks to a trey from Olga Gritsaeva and a pair of offensive rebound put-backs by Melanie Johnson to tie the game at 9-all. Tamia Williams canned her second three-pointer of the game to stop the Gamecock run, but USC countered with five straight points, extending their run to 12-3 and taking a two-point lead.

Bernice Mosby shot 2-for-17 from the three-point arc entering the game, but nailed her first attempted Sunday that gave the Gators a 15-13 advantage with just under 12 minutes remaining in the opening period.

The scored was knotted at 17-all after Mosby converted a fast break layup after a steal by Tishona Gregory, but USC went on a 9-2 run to take a 26-19 lead with just over six minutes remaining. The teams essentially traded baskets for the rest of the half, as USC's final three field goals were from the 3-point line, with Lea Fabbri hitting the Cocks sixth three-pointer of the period with one minute left to end the scoring.

Florida's first five field goals came from the three-pointer arc, as the Gators canned 5-of-6 from long range. However, UF also committed six turnovers during that span which prevented the Gators from taking advantage of their hot shooting and led just 15-14.

Florida now has a full week to rest and prepare for its next game, Sunday, Jan. 23 when the Gators play host to Ole Miss in the O'Connell Center beginning at 3 p.m.


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