Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Wednesday, June 19, 2024

This wasn't the ending one would've hoped for.

Especially with the 1,303 in the O' Connell Center waving pictures of Depree Bowden.

The lone senior, playing in possibly her final game in the O'Dome, was forced to walk off in defeat.

South Carolina (14-13, 3-9 Southeastern Conference) ruined Bowden's Senior Day and dealt UF (16-11, 5-7 SEC) a possibly fatal blow to its NCAA Tournament hopes with a 69-65 victory Sunday afternoon. It was the Gamecocks' first SEC road win of the season.

"It's unfortunate," UF coach Amanda Butler said. "Depree obviously doesn't deserve this type of performance on her Senior Night."

After trailing by 11 with 6:30 left, the Gators cut the lead to 63-62 with 2:27 remaining. South Carolina made four straight free throws in the final 10 seconds to seal the win.

Bowden had a tough time trying to find scoring opportunities, finishing with 12 points after shooting 4 of 12 from the field and adding six rebounds. Junior forward Marshae Dotson scored a team-high 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting and junior guard Sha Brooks added 10.

It was a gritty performance from Dotson, who did not practice the two days prior due to illness. She did not start Sunday, snapping her 57-game streak of consecutive starts, but played 29 minutes.

Dotson said she didn't eat anything on Saturday but felt "alright" out on the floor except for a headache near the end of the game.

The Gators rode a wave of emotion after Bowden was recognized before the game. South Carolina made three of its first 22 shots, and UF capitalized by jumping out to a 13-4 lead. The Gamecocks had just 8 points more than 12 minutes into the game but battled back to tie with 2:14 left in the first half. They led 31-29 at the half.

UF's inability to put South Carolina away early probably cost it the game.

Butler wishes her team could have capitalized on South Carolina's stretch of cold shooting.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

"That would've been fantastic," she said. "We came out hot, and I thought we set the tone early. We made some plays and did some things. Then it was just like we relaxed a little bit, and again, that's hard to understand. During an SEC game, there's no moment you should be able to relax until the game is over with."

The Gamecocks had two players reach double figures - freshmen Jordan Jones (16 points) and Samone Kennedy (10). South Carolina rebounded to shoot 43.3 percent from the field, including 46.7 percent from behind the arc.

It took a while for Gamecocks coach Susan Walvius to decide who would be effective on the floor.

"What I told them in practice is that if they were careless with the basketball, and if they weren't working hard, they were coming out of the game, so you saw a lot of substitutions," Walvius said. "We found a group that had good chemistry and went from there. It was absolutely awful basketball for the first 10 minutes for us; fortunately for us, we got it together for 30."

South Carolina outrebounded UF 40-34 and shot better from the free-throw line, two categories Butler cited as reasons for the loss. The Gators made just 19 of 31 from the line, good for 61.3 percent. UF fell to 3-7 when getting outrebounded by its opponent. The team never found its mark from behind the 3-point line either, shooting 4 of 19 - 21.1 percent.

"South Carolina was tougher than us tonight, which is disappointing, because I thought we've got a really, tough scrappy team," Butler said. "For whatever reason, we didn't play that way this afternoon."

For Butler and her team, one year removed from a 9-22 season, Sunday was yet another tough lesson in this up-and-down season.

"We're just in a position right now where we're learning the lesson the hard way," Butler said. "It's just disappointing this late in the season to be in the position that we're in and to still have to learn this type of lesson."

Bowden said the one thing she would take away from this season is the need to fight through adversity.

Unfortunately for her, on her big day, her team was unable to do just that.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.