9:30 PM ET, March 1, 2007
DULUTH, Ga. (AP) -- Marshae Dotson scored 25 points and No. 11 seed Florida claimed the first upset win of the SEC tournament by beating No. 6 seed Mississippi State 69-63 on Thursday night.The victory extended Carolyn Peck final season as Florida's coach. Peck was fired on Feb. 12, one day after the Gators' 13th straight loss -- a 79-74 home loss to Mississippi State. Peck remained with the team as it won two of its last three regular-season games in the Southeastern Conference.Sha Brooks added 16 points as Florida beat Mississippi State in the first round of the tournament for the second straight year.Marneshia Richard scored all of her 18 points in the second half, including two 3-pointers and another basket in the final minute. Richard's second 3 cut Florida's lead to 64-60 with 34 seconds left, but the Gators protected the lead with strong free-throw shooting down the stretch.Overall, Florida made 27 of 31 free throws. Mississippi State was only 7 of 12 from the line.Florida (9-21) will play No. 3 seed Vanderbilt in a quarterfinal game Friday.Mississippi State (17-13) lost for the third time in four games, possibly ending the Lady Bulldogs' NCAA tournament hopes.Imesia Jackson scored 12 points for Mississippi State. Tysheka Grimes added 11.There were eight lead changes in the first half. Mississippi State shot only 33.3 percent from the field but led 30-29 at halftime by holding Florida to 30-percent shooting.Florida was held without a field goal for the first 7:35 of the second half. A 3-pointer by Alexis Rack gave Mississippi State a 39-31 lead before Dotson finally scored the Gators' first field goal of the half.Dotson helped swing the momentum back to Florida, adding two more baskets and a free throw in the next 2 minutes.A three-point play by Brooks with 8:21 left gave Florida its first lead of the half at 44-43.Strong free-throw shooting and a basket by Briana Phillips helped Florida stretch the lead to seven points at 56-49 with 2 minutes left.
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