GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida's Sarah Lowe stepped to the
line with 3.2 seconds left in overtime and the Gators trailing LSU (No. 3 ESPN/USA Today, No. 2 AP) by a point.
Nervous? Not a chance.
Lowe made two free throws and Florida stunned LSU 79-78 on
Thursday night to end the Tigers' 24-game regular-season
Southeastern Conference winning streak and give the Gators their
first win over a top-five team.
"When I stepped up there I just told myself I had to relax and
not worry about anything and just go up there and shoot them like I
had been," Lowe said. "There wasn't a doubt in my mind I was
going to make it. I walked up there like it was just shooting a
free throw at practice."
The Gators trailed 65-56 with 5:00 left, but held the Tigers
(22-2, 10-1) scoreless the rest of the way to force overtime. Lowe
then scored Florida's last six points in the extra session. Her
driving layup with 12.4 seconds left cut the deficit to 78-77, and
after LSU's RaShonta LeBlanc missed two free throws, Lowe drew a
foul while attempting a pull-up shot over Seimone Augustus.
"I don't really know if I'll be able to sleep tonight," Lowe
said. "I'll be honest. This is awesome for the program and awesome
for the senior class. We beat a top-five team."
Lowe, who finished with 17 points, also scored the tying basket
in regulation with 52.9 seconds left. Freshman Sha Brooks had a
career-high 25 points, and Dalila Eshe scored 15 of her 22 in the
last 10:26 for the Gators (18-6, 7-5).
Augustus scored a career-high 35 points but had only two after
giving LSU a 65-56 lead with 5:11 left. Sylvia Fowles added 23
points and 16 rebounds, but the rest of the Tigers combined for 20
points while going 9-for-28 from the field.
"I give credit to Florida's defense," LSU coach Pokey Chatman
said. "And maybe LSU not being at the top of their game."
Fowles injured her right knee with 4:36 left in regulation.
Although she returned 49 seconds later, her limited mobility
allowed Eshe to drive around her repeatedly. The Tigers also lost
starting guard Scholanda Hoston to an ankle injury in the first
Florida had been 0-12 all-time against No.-2-ranked teams. LSU
lost a regular-season SEC game for the first time since the last
game of 2003-04 against Tennessee.
"I'm not going to sit here and start patting myself on the
back," Florida coach Carolyn Peck said. "We've got work to do.
The biggest thing I have confidence in is the team has confidence
in us as a staff."
Florida never led until Eshe hit a 3-pointer with 1:56 left in
overtime to make the score 73-72. The Gators missed five shots with
the chance to go ahead in regulation and were behind by only two at
the half, despite converting only 36.7 percent of their shots to
LSU's 55 percent.