Bonds, Lewis lead Florida past MSU

Florida guard Jaterra Bonds, left, drives past Mississippi State center Martha Alwal as she goes up for a basket.  (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Florida guard Jaterra Bonds, left, drives past Mississippi State center Martha Alwal as she goes up for a basket. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

By George Henry

Associated Press

DULUTH, Ga. – Jaterra Bonds scored 18 points, Kayla Lewis added 17 and Florida beat Mississippi State 71-67 in the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament on Thursday.

The fifth-seeded Gators (19-11) will play No. 12 Kentucky, the tournament’s No. 4 seed, on Friday.

Kendra Grant finished with 14 points and Katia May had 12 for Mississippi State (19-13), which failed to advance past the second round for the 10th time in 11 years. The Bulldogs have lost nine straight to Florida.

Cassie Peoples’ 3-pointer in the final minute of first half gave Gators their biggest lead at 15.

Florida was outscored 20-8 over a nearly 9-minute span of the second half and trailed 56-55 on Jerica James’ 3-pointer.

But the Gators led for the final 7:32 after Peoples hit a jumper.