Feb. 9, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Turnovers proved costly for the Auburn women's basketball team (11-14, 3-9 SEC) as the Tigers fell 70-56 at Florida (16-8, 6-5 SEC) Thursday night in Gainesville, Fla. Junior Blanche Alverson led Auburn with a game-high 19 points in the loss.
"Florida's defense was really good tonight and took us out of a lot of things offensively," said Auburn head coach Nell Fortner. "They shot the 3-ball really well and that hurt us, too. It was just a tough night."
The Gator defense forced 22 Auburn turnovers, turning them in to 26 points. The Tigers were able to make some moves defensively as well, tallying 11 steals on 17 Florida turnovers, but could not capitalize on the other end.
After taking the lead late in the first half, Florida rode the momentum and scored the first nine points of the second half to put the lead into double figures for the first time. Including the last 2:30 of the first half, Florida went on a 19-2 run over 6:30, turning a two-point deficit into a 15-point lead early in the first half.
The Tigers would cut the lead to 10 at one point, but could come no closer as the Gators cruised to the win.
"That 10-0 run Florida got to start the second half really hurt," said Fortner. "We just could not overcome that."
Alverson was feeling it in the first half, shooting 4-of-6 with a pair of 3-pointers to lead the Tigers with 10 points in the opening period. She helped the Tigers to an early lead, one Auburn held for most of the first half.
The Tigers led as late as the 2:26 mark of the first half when a layup from Hasina Muhammad put the Tigers ahead, 29-27. Florida then capitalized on turnovers and scored nine of the final 11 points in the half to take a 36-31 lead into the locker room.
Alverson finished the game shooting 6-of-9 from the field, including 4-of-4 from the free throw line, for her 19 points. Freshman Hasina Muhammad came off the bench for 10 points while sophomore Jassany Williams pulled down eight rebounds with two blocks and three steals.
Lanita Bartley led three Gators in double figures with 17 points. Deana Allen added 14 while Jaterra Bonds scored 12 along with four assists. As a team, Florida was 8-of-17 from 3-point range with Bartley knocking down three.
Auburn will return to action at 1:30 p.m., Sunday at Auburn Arena against Arkansas. The game is Auburn's Pink Zone game for breast cancer awareness. It is also Adopt-A-Pet Day at Auburn Arena as fans can learn about pet adoption and adopt on-site. The game will air live on ESPN2 with Holly Rowe and Abby Waner calling the action.