LSU head coach Kim Mulkey entered Sunday’s matchup with the Gators searching for win number 650. Instead, Florida pulled off the upset of the nation’s No. 10 ranked team and earned interim head coach Kelly Rae Finley her fifteenth career win.
The Gators improved to 15-5 overall and 5-2 in SEC play.
Florida started out playing a physical style on both offense and defense that, early on, appeared to make LSU uncomfortable. The Gators twice led by as much as six in the first quarter, and escaped the first frame with a 16-12 advantage.
The Gators extended the lead to eight after a pair of made free throws by Kiki Smith with 4:54 remaining in the first half. The Tigers made a push before half and managed to tie the game at 33 entering intermission.
A mostly back and forth third quarter saw a tug of war between the two teams. The visitors built a lead of as much as five with just :30 left in the period. Florida entered the fourth quarter trailing by four points at 58-54.
The Gators opened the fourth with four straight points that came on a pair of free throws by Smith and a layup by Nina Rickards. Again, the quarter was back and forth with neither team taking a stranglehold. LSU held a 1-2 point lead for much of the fourth, but the Gators rallied. Smith and Zippy Broughton keyed the final few minutes and iced the win by hitting three of four from the free throw line. Broughton knocked down a pair with :06 remaining that put Florida up four. LSU’s Khayla Pointer made a three pointer at the buzzer, but it was inconsequential.
Smith finished with a team high 23 points and eight assists. Jordyn Merritt added 16 points and 7 rebounds while knocking down 4-6 from beyond the three point line. Broughton scored 14 despite obtaining a fourth foul late in the third quarter.
Florida shot 38% from the floor and made 6-17 from deep. LSU only made one three, shooting 1-9 from long range. The Gators defense forced 19 turnovers and turned them into 22 points.
Florida will now have a week off before taking on No. 1 South Carolina in Gainesville next Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for noon and the game will be aired on SEC Network.