7:00 PM ET, February 16, 2006
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 half.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.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press