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Friday, March 31, 2023

Prairie View A&M dominated the opening of both halves, but it would be the UF women's basketball team (3-1) who finished on top with a 69-63 victory Tuesday night.

The Gators trailed by as many as 11 in the first half and 8 in the second, but they finally broke away when forward Marshae Dotson hit a short jumper to put UF up 56-54.

The Gators held Prairie View A&M without a field goal for 5:59 in the second half, allowing UF to go on a 14-0 run.

"If we're going to beat good teams we have got to play solid, tough, stingy, aggressive defense, and that's what we did," UF coach Amanda Butler said. "We came up with the loose balls in the second half that we didn't get in the first half."

Senior guard Depree Bowden (23 points) used both her play and her talking to lead the team.

"I just told them this is our home floor and it's all about pride," Bowden said. "That cranked us up a little bit."

Prairie View A&M coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, a former WNBA MVP with the Houston Comets, said UF's changing defensive schemes attributed to her team's shooting woes.

"Because Florida kept mixing it up it was very difficult for us to get into any offensive rhythm," Cooper-Dyke said.

The Gators started slow once again Tuesday night.

Prairie View opened the game with a 6-0 run. UF went on a 14-5 run late in the half to close the gap, and the teams entered the half tied at 31.

The Panthers opened the second half with a 4-0 run and later scored 10 straight points to take an 8-point lead with 11:35 remaining in the game.

It was an ugly one Tuesday as the teams combined for 53 turnovers.

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"It's very tough to get into an offensive rhythm or even a flow of the game when you have so many turnovers," Cooper-Dyke said

While it might not have been the way she imagined it, Butler was glad to take home the W.

"It wasn't pretty, and I've said several times before, we're going to win ballgames that aren't pretty and that's generally going to be in our favor," Butler said. "When you can come away with a win, playing the way we did, sometimes down the stretch you just have got to be happy for it."

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