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Brereton, Harris lead with 17 each against Gat

Brereton, Harris lead with 17 each against Gat

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Senior Ayana Brereton opened with a hot-hand and closed as the University of Arkansas’ leading scorer with 17 points, but the 12th-ranked Florida Gators turned up their offense for a 94-78 win in women’s basketball.

Florida, 20-2, moves to 6-1 in Southeastern Conference play while the Razorbacks fall to 12-10 overall and 1-6 in league games.

The Gators hit a season-high 13 three-pointers led Sha Brooks with four.  Five different Florida players hit threes as the Razorbacks gave up an opponent high.

The result was the most points scored by a Razorback opponent this season, bettering the 76 scored by Tennessee.

“They are a team that can score, a lot,” UA head coach Tom Collen said.  “It is a distinct advantage in a defensive league.”

Freshman Lyndsay Harris came off the bench to also add 17 for Arkansas, scoring all of her field goals from behind the arc.

Brooks led all scorers with 25 points, followed by 16 each for Marshae Dotson and Lonnika Thompson.  Steffie Sorensen rounded out the Gator scorers with 11.

Trailing by as many as 25 midway through the second half, Arkansas went on an 11-2 run to pull back to within 14, 76-62, with six minutes left.  Florida countered by slowing the pace to limit Arkansas’ comeback ability.

“We probably had our best offensive game of the year, but so much of it was too late in the game,” Collen said.  “This might be our most frustrating game of the season also, because we had built momentum in the last three games.”

Arkansas got to within 12, 77-65, but a technical foul on Ashley McCray stopped the rally with two free throws and then a bucket by Marshae Dotson on the ensuing possession started a 9-0 run by Florida to seal the game, 86-65, with four minutes left.

Arkansas went tall with Ashley McCray in the starting lineup for guard Harris.  While McCray had the hot hand for Arkansas the past three games, the Razorbacks could only get scoring from Brereton early.

The Gators took advantage of Arkansas’ half-court power with perimeter shooting, hitting four of their first six three-pointers to lead by 11, 16-5, seven minutes into the game.

“In the first half, it seemed like everything they shot went in, but we didn’t contest their shots as hard as we needed to,” Harris said.

Brereton scored Arkansas’ first 10 points on perfect shooting, but the rest of the Razorbacks were as cold as the ice storm that closed the campus for most the week.  Meanwhile Florida hit over 50% from behind the line and overall for the majority of the first half.

The combination of Dotson and Brooks drove the Gators to a 15-point lead, 37-22, late in the first half.  Arkansas whittled the lead to single digits at halftime, 39-30.

While the 78 points wasn’t a season high, it was a conference game best for the Razorbacks.

Freshman Ceira Ricketts was Arkansas’ other double-digit scorer with 14 points.

Razorbacks head back on the road for two games this week, first at LSU on Thursday, Feb. 5, then at Georgia on Sunday, Feb. 8.

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