FINAL: ALABAMA, FLORIDA 54
GAINESVILLE, FL- New Florida head coach Cameron Newbauer was just five minutes from winning his frist SEC contest. Alabama, however had other ideas as they held the Gators scoreless over the final 5:21 of the game and instead handed Florida their second loss in league play.
The Gators trailed 40-30 with 6:34 to play in the third period but Funda Nakkasoglu and Haley Lorenzen keyed a frantic rally that saw the Gators take the lead after a pair of made foul shots by Lorenzen.
Florida began the game by getting baskets in the paint. Lorenzen and fellow forward Paulina Hersler scored four points down low in the opening minute of play. The Gators didn’t even attempt their first three-pointer until Dyandria Anderson’s try with 6:29 to play in the opening quarter. It didn’t take long for Florida to live up to the mantra of “chuck it from the cheap seats” as the Gators finished with 28 attempts from deep, making 10. Alabama entered the matchup as the second best team in the SEC at defending the three.
Florida took a 54-52 lead with just over five minutes remaining, but Alabama finished the game on a 11-0 run to move the Gators to 8-7 overall on the year and 0-2 in SEC play. The Crimson Tide improved to 11-4 and 1-1 in league action.
After the game, Newbauer expressed his “frustration” with Florida’s bad turnovers at inopportune times. Newbauer explained that it’s been the same mistakes that have plagued Florida all year. “Too many times we rely on our offense to dictate our defense, but we need to stop that, we have to play defense regardless of what happens on offense,” he continued, “we have got to find ways to get tougher on defense.”
The Tide made a home inside the paint in the fourth quarter, scoring twelve of their fifteen points in the period in the lane.
Lorenzen led Florida with 14 points while adding 7 rebounds and 4 assists in 35 minutes of action. Anderson finished with 13, though she missed all four field goal attempts in the final quarter. Nakkasoglu, Florida’s leading scorer, finished with 11 points despite not finding the net until midway through the third period. Hersler grabbed a team high nine rebounds and Delicia Washington recorded four assists in the Gators effort.
Ashley Williams led Alabama with 12 points while Hannah Cook finished with 11. While these were the Tide’s only double-digit scorers, Alabama’s bench outscored Florida’s 20-2.
Florida will look to rebound on Sunday at Mississippi. The game is slated for 3:00 PM and will be aired on SEC Network +.
Florida will travel to Oxford, Mississippi to face the Rebels of Ole Miss. Mississippi is 10-5 overall and 0-2 in SEC play. The Rebels were trounced by South Carolina 88-62 on Thursday. Mississippi allowed the Gamecocks 29 points in the fourth quarter to put away the game. The Rebels are led by Madinah Muhammad, who is fifth in the conference in scoring, and finished with 29 against South Carolina.
Florida vs Mississippi
January 7, 2018
3:00 PM / The Pavillion