Florida led by second half domination and impressive play by Lavender Briggs to lockdown third straight win
For the third game in a row, the Florida Gators have chomped on the taste of success after flying by the USC Upstate Spartans in a Monday night showdown. Few fans filled the seats of Exactech Arena but the Gators team still brought the energy needed to take down the opposition.
It was a sloppy first quarter for the Gators but the team was able to limp out of the period with a lead. The teams penetrated the paint equally but neither squad could seem yo find find a finishing touch at the basket. The Gators just barely claimed a six-point lead thanks to a corner three-pointer by freshman guard Alberte Rimdal.
Rimdal played off the bench and finished Monday night with an impressive stat line of her own. The Denmark native placed 11 points on top of going 4-7 from the field. Rimdal even made an impressive finger roll late in the third to hype up the Gator bench.
Junior Lavender Briggs didn’t find her touch until the second half. In the first, the guard from Provo, Utah went 4-10 from the field and nabbed three boards on top of two assists.
The performance pushed Florida to a basket lead after the conclusion of the first half. The Spartans kept Florida uncomfortable, especially in the paint, outscoring the Gators 20-12 and using them like a turnstile. But Florida was able to capitalize off turnover points, recording 13 points compared to the Spartans’ two in the first half.
Florida rampaged out of the locker room to ignite a 13-0 run in the third period. Briggs also continued her highlight reel by placing 10 points on the scoreboard and going a perfect 4-4 from the floor. The junior found her teammates an additional two times to add to her scorecard.
Interim head coach Kelly Rae Finley was proud of the team performance out the halftime break but didn’t take any credit for whipping the team into shape.
“I wish that was something that I could take credit for, but I will not do that,” Finley said. “You know, when they put their minds together and they really focus, they know what adjustments need to be made. They know how to motivate each other and that’s just what happened.”
Graduate student Kiki Smith went down with an injury in the third frame and needed assistance off the court and to the locker room. There was no update given for Smith’s injury status in the post-game press conference.
Up next for Florida is a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico to take on the Saint Louis Billikens and the George Washington Colonials over the next weekend. The tip-off against Saint Louis is set for 7 p.m. on Friday.