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Tennessee women rally past Florida Gators on late layup

GAINESVILLE — Angie Bjorklund was having an awful shooting night, but when it counted most, the Tennessee junior guard hit the biggest shot of the game.

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Tied with Florida in the waning seconds, Bjorklund took a pass from Glory Johnson on a broken play, then drove the baseline for a reverse layup with 2.3 seconds remaining to give No. 4 Tennessee a 66-64 come-from-behind win over Florida on Thursday night in front of 4,103 at the O'Connell Center.

"Not even close," said Bjorklund, who shot 3-of-11, when asked if the winning shot was a designed play. "It was initially to get our posts the ball, simple cross screen and I don't know, it just broke down. I saw Glory get doubled and I just cut to the hoop and it was open."

Florida (9-8, 2-2 SEC) had a final opportunity. Gator forward Sharielle Smith threw the inbounds pass to Steffi Sorensen who lobbed it to senior guard Lonnika Thompson. But Thompson's open 3-pointer from the right side bounced off the rim.

"I think everybody in the gym thought we were going to be on ESPN by hitting that buzzer-beater and pulling the upset off," UF coach Amanda Butler said.

The Vols (15-1, 3-0) led 32-29 at halftime, but Florida's aggressive defense caused the Vols to commit a season-high 25 turnovers and allowed the Gators to take an eight-point lead with 7:33 left. After Tennessee rallied to pull within 64-62, Gator center Azania Stewart picked up her fourth foul with 5:27 left. With Stewart out, the Vols went on a 10-2 run to take a 64-62 lead. Thompson's jumper with 31.5 seconds remaining tied it, before Bjorklund's winner.

"Our basketball team didn't come here ready to play," Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. "I don't know why. … We dodged a bullet against a very good team."

Butler said she was proud of the Gators, but wouldn't hear of talk about a moral victory.

"We lost a ball game that we should have won," she said. "We know we should have won."

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com.

Tenn. 66

Florida 64

Tennessee women rally past Florida Gators on late layup

01/14/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 15, 2010 12:13am]
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