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Thursday, May 19, 2022

SEC Women's Hoops Tourney Coverage Live from Nashville: Day Two - UF eliminated after 92-61 loss to No. 3 Tennessee.Gators await Selection Monday on March 17.

10:53 - Got a real nail-biter here. This is probably the best game of the tournament so far. Vandy leads 43-41 with 1:25 to go. Auburn has trailed for most of this game but just tied it a few moments ago.

9:50 PM - This last game is turning into a defensive battle. Third-seeded Vanderbilt leads sixth-seeded Auburn 23-15 at the half.

9:21 PM - Well I had a real long post written up and somehow it got deleted. So now I'll sum it up shortly:

Kentucky defeated Georgia 57-50 and will face LSU in the semifinals tomorrow.

UF flies home tomorrow morning and will have off until Wednesday for Spring Break. Then the Gators will reconvene in Gainesville to begin preparations for postseason play.

4:58 PM- Final Score: Tennessee 92, UF 61. The Volunteers' 26-4 second-half run ended up being the back-breaker for the Gators.

UF forward Marshae Dotson played the first six minutes before falling and spraining her left knee. Dotson didn't return.

Tennessee was led by three players in double figures - Candace Parker (26), Shannon Bobbitt (22) and Alexis Hornbuckle (16).

UF had two in double-digits - Sha Brooks (20) and Depree Bowden (15).

Coach Amanda Butler said she's "sure" the Gators will be playing in the postseason, it just comes down to which tournament.

Tennessee advances to the SEC Tournament semifinals for the 15th straight year.

Next game tips off at 6:30 - fourth-seeded Kentucky against fifth-seeded Georgia.

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4:03 PM - Well this one has now gotten out of hand. Tennessee leads 83-50 with 7:38 to play. The Volunteers just rattled off a 24-4 that has put the game out of reach. Both teams have begun to sub in the reserves. The final score will look really bad to UF fans, but they should know this was a game for the first 25 minutes or so - much better than the meeting in Knoxville eight days ago

It's hard to gameplan for the instance where your best player - Dotson - plays only six minutes.

3:50 PM- Believe it or not, despite UF trailing 48-33 at halftime, the Gators played reasonably well in the first half. Tennessee opened the game with 7 straight points and UF answered by rattling off 7 straight of its own. But the Volunteers eventually just started to pull away here and there behind the out-of-this-world play of Candace Parker. The two-time All-American must have felt slighted when she didn't win SEC Player of the Year, because she's come out with a vengeance in this first half, scoring 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Tennessee point guard Shannon Bobbitt was another big part of the first half, scoring 14 points, including 7-of-8 from the free-throw line.

The biggest blow may have come at the 13:51 mark of the first half when UF's leading scorer and rebounded Marshae Dotson went down hard on her right knee. It's being called a knee sprain and Dotson is not expected to return.

I stand corrected on my earlier tidbit. UF has played five games in these orange unis, 4 home, 1 road and is 5-0 in those games.

2:35 PM - Just one more thing here as we get set to tip off. UF has elected to wear its orange uniforms. It has played only four games in them so far this season - all home games, but the Gators are 4-0 in these uniforms. I'm unsure the reasoning behind the decision but it could be Coach Amanda Butler wanted to motivate her team just a little more.

2:24 PM - One quick note as we're about eight minutes away from tipoff. ESPN.com analyst Charlie Creme moved UF slightly in his projected bracket released today. Creme now has the Gators as one of the "last four out" as opposed to "next four out". With 64 teams making the field, he's got UF ranked around 68 or so. A win today very well might clinch an NCAA bid then.

Probably easier said than done, I admit.

1:56 PM - Wow, that first game got ugly in a hurry. Top-seeded LSU defeated Ole Miss 80-36. It wasn't even like the seventh-ranked Tigers were trying to run up the score - Coach Van Chancellor took his starters out with 10 minutes left in the game.

Now Uf has taken the floor for warmups and Tennessee should be joining it soon. This is definitely a very pro-Tennessee crowd. The biggest crowd cheer in the first game came with about two minutes left - when the Tennessee pep band took its seats.

As for the Gators' chances?

Well, I spoke to coaches from two different top-six seeds yesterday and they both think UF has a chance.

When asked about what today's margin would be:

One said: "Upset!"

the other said if the Gators play like they did against South Carolina, they will be definitely be up in it.

Of course, that's a big IF.

When I talked to Carol Ross yesterday, her biggest keys for UF were not getting wrapped up in the Tennessee hype and handling adversity. The Volunteers will certainly try and make an early-game run to put away the Gators - it's how good teams win.

If UF can hang around past the first or second media timeout, then that's when I'll start talking about a possible upset.

1:05 PM - (Reminder: Nashville's in Central Time, so that's how I'm timing my blog entries.)

Anyhow, sorry it's taken so long to get the first one up, I've been having some wireless Internet problems inside the arena, but they've miraculously fixed themselves.

We're midway through today's first game - top-seeded LSU leads eighth-seeded Mississippi 39-19 at halftime.

UF has arrived at the Sommet Center as some of the team has filed in to watch some of this game.

The Gators may very well think they're playing in Knoxville again today as the crowd is predominantly Tennessee-orange.

According to the league, the attendance on Day One was 44 percent higher than last year - I guess that's what happens when you have it in a decent place (the 2007 tournament was in Duluth, Ga. - don't know where that is? Good, you don't need to).

On a side note - apparently Nashville is supposed to receive about eight inches of snow, starting this afternoon at 3:30. I'm not leaving until Monday morning no matter today's result, but if the Gators lose, they may very well still be here for a few more days.

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