LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Florida was getting sick of close losses to Kentucky. So the Gators finally found a way to knock off the sixth-ranked team in the country.
Jaterra Bonds scored 23 points and the Gators ended a six-game losing streak to the Wildcats with an 83-73 victory on Sunday. Florida had lost its last five games to Kentucky by seven points or loss.
The Gators (12-3, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) have won eight straight overall, playing their first road game since Dec. 4.
"Kentucky is a great team and it's a fantastic win, not only to play and beat them, but beat them here," Florida coach Amanda Butler said. "It was very significant. It's a great opportunity for our team that we took advantage of. This is a team that works very hard every day and got what they deserved and took advantage of the chance they had this evening."
Florida trailed 70-69 with four minutes but outscored the Wildcats 14-3 the remainder of the game for the final margin. The Gators made 12 of 16 free throws in the last four minutes and Kentucky failed to muster a field goal in the last eight minutes.
"This team just has an extra measure of chemistry and extra (incentive) and do things for each other," Butler said. "They knew there's no way we're going to get a win at Kentucky, they're too good of a ball club on their home floor, we had to be mentally ready and resilient. I'm really, proud of the way we didn't hang our heads."
She also hopes her team's performance is "an indicator of things to come" after watching her team outrebounds the Wildcats 42-40.
"We showed a lot of toughness and a lot of guts and it shows that the team (was) willing to do whatever they had to do to win. It wasn't as much about scoring points tonight as much as it was getting in those spots and getting those rebounds."
Bonds led four players in double figures and scored eight of Florida's first 13 points as the Gators raced out to a 21-10 lead. Bonds scored 14 points in the opening half.
"It felt good to beat them on their home court, they're one of the best (teams) in the country, pressuring you 94 feet," Bonds said. "I knew it was going to be a challenge the whole game. Every huddle, I was just telling my teammates to stay composed and be smart. It's a big win for us, especially in the road, because they count double."