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Balance helps Florida fight off Tide

Tashia Morehead scored 13 of her 19 in the first half and Vanessa Hayden had 14 points, 15 rebounds, six assists and three blocks as Florida beat Alabama 76-69 Thursday night.

Morehead shot 7-of-14 overall and 3-of-6 from 3-point range as the Gators (14-5, 4-2 SEC) made 9 of 19 3-pointers.

Morehead also made both her free-throw attempts to extend her streak to 20. Florida made 15 of 21 free throws to 8 of 16 for the Crimson Tide (10-9, 2-4).

Tishona Gregory added three 3-pointers and scored 14, and Bernice Mosby had 13 points and seven rebounds for the Gators.

"You got to pick your poison," Alabama coach Rick Moody said. "Right now we're really thin in the post, and I don't think that we had anybody on the floor that could guard Vanessa one-on-one without fouling out in the first half."

Eighteen seconds in, Hayden collected her 1,000th career rebound to become the fifth Gator to top 1,000 in scoring and rebounding.

Monique Bivins led Alabama with 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting, and Katie Sipe scored 15 on 5-of-9 3-point shooting. Dee Merriweather had 11 points and eight rebounds.

Florida led 40-30 at the half before the Tide rallied, getting within one with 3:40 left before the Gators finished with a 9-3 run. Gregory sank a 3-pointer with about 1:30 left to seal the win for Florida and send the Tide to its fourth consecutive conference loss.

"You've got to compliment Alabama," UF coach Carolyn Peck said. "They came out firing, creating shots and making 3s. Their defensive intensity picked up.

"I think they did the best job of collapsing down on Vanessa. I think she did a very good job of finding ways to get the ball out to our guards, so it was a very good inside-out attack."