Sunday, February 16, 2003
» Box Score
TUSCALOOSA - The University of Alabama women's basketball team got just what they needed on Sunday afternoon earning a hard fought 69-65 victory over the Florida Gators at Coleman Coliseum.
The win snapped a five-game losing skid for the Tide and pulled them back to an even 12-12 (2-9 SEC) on the year. The loss was Florida's 11th in a row and dropped the Gators to 8-15, 0-10 in SEC play. For Alabama, the win also halted a four-game home losing streak.
A quartet of Crimson Tide players finished in double figures on the day led by 18 points from senior Jamilah Johns. Fellow senior Beth Vice scored 17 in the win followed by 14 from Natasha Gamble and 11 from Shun Hunter. Gamble also led the Tide with nine rebounds on the day.
Florida got a double-double from junior center Vanessa Hayden with 20 points and 12 boards and 17 points from freshman Bernice Mosby. Hayden also tallied six blocked shots to increase her career record total at UF.
"It was just a thrill to go to the dressing room and see the smiles back on our kids' faces," said UA head coach Rick Moody. "Florida played very well today we were just able to get Beth (Vice) and Jamilah (Johns) to make those big free throws when we needed them. I always say that if we can get four people in double figures that we have a chance and we did that today."
Both teams came into the contest struggling offensively but neither showed any lack of firepower as the pair each scored over 20 points in the opening 10 minutes of the game. Florida held their only lead of the game, a six-point 18-12 margin, with 13:35 left in the first period. Alabama used a 19-4 run over the next nine minutes to take their largest advantage of the half. The Crimson Tide owned a 40-32 lead at halftime on the strength of 12 points by Johns.
Alabama widened the gap early in the second stanza taking their third 12-point lead, 52-40, on a jumper by Vice with 14:15 left on the clock. The Gators scored the next six points to trim the UA lead in half but a Vice trey with 6:17 remaining pushed the Bama lead back to nine at 59-50.
The Tide offense sputtered over the next several minutes as Florida started to chip away at the Alabama margin. The Gators eventually tied the score at 63 when Tishona Gregory nailed a three-pointer with 1:25 left to play.
Johns made a short jumper to put Bama up by two and then following a missed shot by Florida, Vice was fouled and hit a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left to give the Tide a four-point cushion. Gregory scored on a driving layup at the 0:08 mark before Johns iced the game with two free throws just seconds later.
In addition to shooting 41.5 percent from the floor for the game, Alabama also committed a season-low eight turnovers in the contest. UA forced 14 miscues from the Gators and held them to just 37.1 percent shooting for the game.
The Crimson Tide continues its final home stand of the season next Sunday (Feb. 23) against Kentucky. Alabama enjoys a week off from competition before their 2 p.m. tilt with the Lady Wildcats.
Alabama (12-12, 2-9) 40-29-69
Florida (8-15, 0-10) 32-33-65