Senior forward/center Jennifer Humphrey (Memphis) led a tenacious defensive effort for the Wildcats (12-3, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) with a career-high 19 boards, while sophomore forward/center Eleia Roddy (Columbus, Ohio) posted her third career double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds. UK's advantage on the boards was the difference in the game, as the Wildcats out-rebounded the Gators (13-3, 1-2 SEC) 55-39.
"This is a great win for us," UK Coach Mickie DeMoss said. "We haven't won here since 2000 and I thought we played hard. We handled their pressure and we really rebounded well. We knew they wouldn't go away - they kept coming at us. I am very proud of the way we played and finished the game."
The Cats were dominant from long distance, connecting on nine three-pointers, while the Gators made just 1-of-13 shots from beyond the arc. As a team, Kentucky shot 42.3 percent (28-of-66) from the floor, while holding Florida's leading scorer Sha Brooks, who entered the game averaging 13.9 ppg, scoreless in the contest.
"Pfeiffer hit some really big threes in the game," DeMoss said. "We played smart on the perimeter tonight. She had to knock down the shots tonight and she did in pressure situations."
Both teams opened the game strong offensively with Kentucky taking a 6-4 advantage on a jumper by Humphrey at the 18:05 mark of the first half. A basket by Danielle Santos at the 17:58 mark tied the score and the teams would continue to battle closely. Florida broke a 9-9 tie with a 4-0 run to take a 13-9 advantage at the 15:55 mark. The Gators, however, would not score for nearly four more minutes and Florida went ahead 16-13 on a three-pointer by Pfeiffer with 11:02 remaining.
After another tie at 16, Kentucky used a 7-0 run that included a three-pointer from Mahoney to take a 23-18 lead with 8:52 left until halftime. The Gators cut the UK lead to three, 25-22, but went scoreless for nearly three minutes as the Cats extended their advantage to 11, 33-22, after back-to-back threes by Pfeiffer and freshman point guard Carly Ormerod (Louisville, Ky.) at the 4:31 mark. The Gators followed with an 11-0 run to tie the score at 33 on a three-pointer, but Jenn'e Jackson (Radcliff, Ky.) scored the final basket of the half to put UK up 35-33 at intermission.
The Wildcats carried their momentum from the first half into the second, using a 6-0 run over the first 2:40 of the final period to extend their advantage to 41-33. A three-pointer by Pfeiffer moved UK in front by eight, 46-38, with 15:49 remaining.
Florida began chipping away at the Kentucky lead to come within four, 52-48, on a three-point play by Dalila Eshe with 13:01 remaining in the game. Florida came as close as three points (56-53), but the Wildcats went on a 12-0 run backed by three three-pointers from Pfeiffer to go ahead by 15, 70-55, with 5:47 remaining. The Cats hit 6-of-8 clutch free-throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Ormerod finished with 16 points, including 6-of-6 free-throws, while sophomore guard Samantha Mahoney (Detroit) had 13.
Eshe finished with 23 points to lead Florida.