|Hatters Hold Halftime Lead Yet Fall at Florida|
Gainesville, Fla. - Sophomore forward Sasha Sims (Fayetteville, Ga.) scored 21 points, just three off her career high, and the Hatters held a 30-29 halftime lead at SEC power Florida, but eventually the size advantage of the Gators (1-1) proved too much for the Stetson women's basketball team (1-1) to handle. An 8-0 run to start the second half gave Florida a lead it did not relinquish en route to a 71-57 win over Stetson.
Despite giving up huge size advantages to players such as 6'4" Azania Stewart, 6'2" Lily Svete and 6'0" Jennifer George, the Hatters managed to tie the rebounding column 24-24 in the first half and lead 30-29 at the break. Stetson rallied from a six-point deficit with 5:17 to go to out-score the Gators by seven for the remainder of the half.
Freshman guard Clarissa Coddington (Davie, Fla.) and Sims led Stetson with eight points apiece in the first period; Coddington tied for the team high with four rebounds. Jennifer George and Jordan Jones scored seven each in the first half.
Florida's 8-0 burst out of the locker room erased Stetson's 30-29 edge; the Gators led 37-30 with less than two minutes gone in the second half and they would not trail again. Florida consistently fed the post and used its height advantage to outscore Stetson 46-20 in the paint.
The Hatters cut the deficit to 62-57 on a bucket by junior guard Victoria McGowan (Inkster, Mich.) with 3:27 remaining, but Florida closed the game on a 9-0 run to seal the outcome.
Sims was 7-14 from the floor and three for five from three-point range as well as four for four from the stripe to record 21 points, adding four rebounds in the process. Junior guard/forward Simone Taylor's (Delray Beach, Fla.) 12 points and nine rebounds were just three off her career highs in each category; Coddington finished with nine points, four rebounds and two assists.
George finished with 21 points and nine rebounds to lead the Gators to the win with Deana Allen contributing 11 points and eight rebounds. Point guard Lanita Bartley scored seven points with six assists and four boards for Florida as well.
The Hatters will be back in action at the three-game Winthrop Classic this weekend in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Stetson takes on Niagara at 4:00 pm Friday, Bradley at 1:00 pm Saturday and finishes with host Winthrop at 3:00 pm Sunday. Fans can listen to Bill Topping's Hatter Vision audiocast at GoHatters.com; Live Stats links will be posted when available.
FACEBOOK - Stetson Athletics (facebook.com/stetsonhatters); TWITTER - @StetsonSID (twitter.com/stetsonsid)
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