Minutewomen Fall To Florida, 78-70, In Double OT
Dec. 28, 2002
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Senior Jen Butler (Brooklyn, N.Y.) tied a career-high with 30 points and pulled down a school record 30 rebounds, but the University of Massachusetts (8-2) women's basketball team fell to the University of Florida (7-4), 78-70, in double overtime this evening in the second first round game of the State Farm Classic. The 30 boards by Butler is the fifth-highest single-game performance in NCAA Division I history and the most of any Atlantic 10 player.
The Minutewomen, who held a 15-point lead at the 15:22 mark of the second half, overcame deficits of three points at the end of regulation and five-points in the first overtime, but ran out of gas in the second extra session, falling for just the second time this year.
Massachusetts shot just .283 (26-92) from the field, including a .088 (3-34) clip from three-point range, both school records for attempts. The Gators were .382 (26-68) from the field. UMass pulled down a school-record 64 rebounds, including 26 on the offensive glass. Florida recorded 53 boards, just nine coming from the offensive end.
Down by three points with just 35 seconds remaining in regulation, Butler converted a lay-up and got fouled in the process. Although she missed the freebie, it did cut the Gator lead to a point. UMass then sent UF's Tishona Gregory to the line for a one-and-one. She obliged by missing the front end. On the ensuing rebound, Butler was fouled. She made them both giving UMass a one-point lead with 23 seconds left. Florida worked the clock down under 10 seconds until Sarah Lowe got fouled in the act of shooting with 6.6 seconds on the clock. She missed the first but sank the second. UMass was unable to get a shot off and the game went into overtime deadlocked at 61.
Florida built a 66-61 lead mid-way through the first overtime until Butler was successful on an old-fashioned three-point play, cutting its deficit to two points with 1:48 remaining. On the next possession, Butler stole the ball at mid-court and drove in for what appeared to be the game-tying lay-up, but was called for travelling. She did redeem herself by draining two foul shots after a Florida turnover to tie the game with 1:08 remaining. It turned out to be the final points of the extra session and the game went to a second overtime at 66 apiece.
Massachusetts junior Cleo Foster (Toronto, Ontario) drained a mid-range jumper at the 3:56 mark of the second extra period putting the Minutewomen up 68-67, but an 8-0 Gator run over the next 2:28 handed the Minutewomen their first loss in the last seven games. Florida tried to help out UMass, shooting .200 (2-10) in the period, but UMass was unable to take advantage.
Senior Ebony Pegues (Columbus, Ohio) had 14 points, five rebounds and four assists for Massachusetts, but shot just 5-for-28 from the field. Senior Nekole Smith (Ann Arbor, Mich.) had just nine points and five boards while playing much of the game in foul trouble. Sophomore Katie Nelson (Ellicott City, Md.) dished out a game-high six assists and was the only member of either team to play in all 50 minutes.
Lowe led a balanced Gator attack with 17 points, one of five to record double-figures. She also pulled down 10 rebounds. Bernice Mosby finished with 15 points and a team-high 18 boards.
Massachusetts will now play No.25 Michigan in the tomorrow's State Farm Classic consolation game at 5:00 p.m. The Wolverines handed the Minutewomen their first loss of the season, a 91-65 set-back Nov. 29 in Ann Arbor, Mich.