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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Coach Amanda Butler said her team needed to respond to the adversity of playing on the road.

In two previous chances this season, an inexperienced Florida team was unable to do such, getting blown out against Florida State and faltering late in a loss to Michigan.

On Sunday, Florida (8-3) used its defense to collect its first road win of the season, defeating La Salle (1-9) 74-50 in the Tom Gola Arena in Philadelphia, Pa.

Florida limited the Explorers to just 18.5 percent shooting in the first half, as La Salle made just 5 of its 27 shots from the field before halftime and shot just 28.8 percent throughout the game.

Butler has urged her team to focus defensively throughout the season, and it responded with a stifling effort Sunday.

“We had some folks who got determined (on defense),” Butler said. “They stepped up and made some tough plays.”

Senior Jennifer George was one of those players for the Gators. George notched her third consecutive double-double, finishing with 19 points and 11 rebounds to go with a strong defensive effort.

George made her first nine shots from the floor to help Florida take a 19-point lead into halftime.

“[George] did a great job of positions where she was and demanding the ball,” Butler said. “She took a lot of contact but is strong enough to finish.”

La Salle cut into Florida’s lead by scoring the first 12 points of the second half to pull within 35-28 with 15:35 remaining.

However, the Gators recovered and pulled away down the stretch.

Redshirt freshman Carlie Needles scored 12 points on four three-pointers. Her

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efforts, along with George’s production inside, propelled the Gators to victory.

“Carlie knocked down a couple in the second half, and it became contagious,” Butler said.

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