As the game’s remaining seconds ticked away at the O’Connell Center, Amanda Butler motioned toward referee Kelly Johnson and asked for a 30-second timeout.
With Sunday’s contest against Georgia all but over, the coach in her 10th season at Florida had one last piece of business to take care of: getting Ronni Williams and Tyshara Fleming off the floor.
Williams and Fleming, UF’s two graduating seniors, couldn’t have played much better in the final home appearance of their college careers.
The duo combined for 39 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and two blocks on the way to a 65-58 victory over the Bulldogs on Senior Day, concluding the regular season with a sweep over Georgia for the first time since 2004.
“I could not be more proud of our upperclassmen,” Butler said. “They absolutely embodied the belief that Ronni leads us with every single day.”
Williams topped all scorers on Sunday with 31 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field. The Daytona Beach native finished the regular season averaging 19.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, marking one of the greatest campaigns from a Gator in program history.
Junior forward Brooke Copeland made contributions against Georgia as well, totaling 12 points, six rebounds and three assists, while Fleming stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
“We knew how we needed to come out to play,” Williams said. “We knew we needed this win to get us rolling for our postseason, so we took that to heart.”
After an evenly played first half that saw the Bulldogs leading 30-26 at the intermission, UF hit an offensive rhythm in the final 20 minutes of action, outscoring UGA by 11 points.
Jumpers from Copeland, Williams and Fleming at the end of the third quarter propelled Florida on a 13-4 run to tie the game at 43-43.
Six minutes later, another series of baskets from the Gators’ senior duo put things out of reach.
Fleming converted on a layup attempt at the 4:39 mark of the period off an assist from Copeland to knot the score at 52-52.
Williams then knocked down consecutive shots at the 3:00 mark, 1:42 mark and 0:58 mark of the frame to increase Florida’s lead all the way up to eight points.
After multiple missed field goals on the other end of the floor for the Bulldogs, Williams made three more free throws to seal the win before walking off the floor to a standing ovation.
“It felt great,” Williams said of the win. “It’s great to be a Gator.”
Next up for UF, it’ll travel to Greenville, South Carolina, later this week for the SEC Tournament. Florida checks in this year as the No. 11 seed in the bracket and will open play on Wednesday at 1:25 against the No. 14-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks (13-16, 2-14 SEC).
UF forward Ronni Williams attempts a layup during Florida's 84-75 loss to Ole Miss on Feb. 6, 2017, in the O'Connell Center.