Florida slays the opposition on Caribbean vacation

Photo by Brian Fox | ChompTalk

Following a trip to the Caribbean, the Florida Gators return to Gainesville riding a five-game win streak after overcoming Saint Louis and George Washington. 

The team faced little adversity in San Juan, Puerto Rico to win both matchups by double-digit scores. Guard Lavender Briggs held the spotlight for the Orange and Blue after putting up a combined 23 points and seven assists. Although sophomore forward Jordyn Merritt shined brightest versus the Billikens on Saturday to put up 13 points of her own.

Florida def. Saint Louis, 69-54

The first frame of action started with a bang from both teams. The Gators started to sneak away on the scoreboard after consecutive shots from beyond the arc found nothing but net. 

The Gators claimed their territory within the paint to outshoot and outrebound the Billikens in the  Friday afternoon battle. Florida recorded 34 boards and 15 offensive rebounds, compared to Saint Louis’ total rebounds.

Without a doubt, the Gator defense stole the show in the second quarter to hold Saint Louis to 14.3% shooting. The Billikens finished with 34% shooting but couldn’t muster a comeback in the second half. The performance was Florida’s best defensive effort of the season as the team managed to force 18 sloppy Saint Louis turnovers.

Junior guard Nina Rickards and Merritt were the offensive tag team calling the shots to combine their efforts for 24 points, 10 rebounds and two assists. Meanwhile, junior guard Kiki Smith returned from an injury, which occurred against USC Upstate, to tally up 11 points of her own, as well as five boards and three assists.

Florida def. George Washington, 61-50

The Gators earned their fifth-straight win in San Juan after an 11-point victory against the Colonials. 

The decibel rate soared in Clemente Coliseum on Saturday night when Florida found more success on the hardwood. Briggs turned in her best game of the year after struggling to score against Saint Louis. The junior finished the night with 18 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and three steals. 

Senior forward Emanuely de Oliveria added a cherry on top of the offensive charge to go a perfect 3-3 from downtown and place 11 points on the scoreboard.

Florida’s defense matched its performance from Friday to force 22 GWU turnovers, including 15 steals. Smith returned to the starting lineup again to nab eight steals of her own and nine additional points to the Gator lead. 

Florida returns home to train for another road trip when the team travels to Fairfax, Virginia. George Mason University will host the Gators on Wednesday and the game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip-off.

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