NEW PORT RICHEY — The last time Gulf and Land O’ Lakes squared off was the season opener, in which the Buccaneers got past the Gators by three.
Gulf wanted to show it’s a much different team from the last time the clubs matched up and it proved its point loud and clear Tuesday night.
The Buccaneers used a stifling third quarter, holding the Gators to three points, and were able to runaway with a 48-30 victory.
“We’re just coming together as a full team,” Gulf coach Claire Ennis said. “The first around when we played Land O’ Lakes, we didn’t have all of our players. I told the girls we still have a lot of work to do.”
Gulf (9-1) used every facet of the game to put together an overall well balanced attack offensively and defensively, with five players scoring 8 points or more. The Buccaneers excelled defensively with 18 steals. Guard Jalena Hawkins (12 points) led with eight steals.
It seemed like the game would be a mirror image of the first meeting, with Gulf leading 19-18 at halftime, but the Bucs went on a 6-0 run to begin the third quarter and outscored Land O’ Lakes 12-3 for the period. The Gators (8-2) at intermission were 47 percent from the field, but by the end of the game were held to 31 percent on 10 of 32 shooting.
Land O’ Lakes’ power forward Jhade Hayes had a double-double, collecting 13 rebounds to go along with 11 points. Gulf’s Ali Cochrane and Syann Julian each had 10 points.