The Florida Gators (3-0) dominated the Florida A&M Rattlers (0-3) 92-54 Monday evening in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
Florida took a slow start against the Rattlers as they reached a slim 6-5 lead early into the first quarter. UF senior guard Aliyah Matharu gave the Gators their first lead on a free throw. A passing error from FAMU allowed Florida to then regain possession of the ball and score on a fast break from freshman guard Laila Reynolds.
Reynolds’s layup pushed the Gators lead to 12-3.
A drilled three-pointer from UF senior guard Leilani Correa put the Rattlers in a seven-point deficit. After a back-and-forth grueling first quarter, the Gators continued to lead 20-13 as FAMU fell behind defensively.
UF senior center Ra Shaya Kyle gave Florida its first points in the second quarter with a free throw after a personal foul on Rattlers junior guard Nashani Gilbert. A fast break layup from Reynolds gave Florida a ten-point lead over FAMU as the Rattlers failed to set up on defense.
A three-point jumper from senior forward Faith Dut kept the Gators’ momentum up and edged a 15-point lead, 30-15. Matharu battled through an aggressive Rattlers defense that fought to keep her from possession of the ball, but she was unable to be blocked as she closed out the first half with a three-pointer on an 8-14 field goal percentage.
The Gators led 48-26 heading into halftime.
Florida dramatically opened the second half with two three-pointers from Correa and Matharu. Kyle dominated the frontcourt as she claimed five consecutive points for the Gators. With 3:34 left in the third quarter, Florida led 61-36.
Reynolds extended Florida’s lead with a long-stretch three-pointer that she drilled past the arc.
“The transition from high school to college is mostly in the speed of the transitions; she is extremely talented, and what sets her apart is her humble work ethic,” Florida head coach Kelly Rae Finley said.
Correa made her fourth three-point jumper of the night, followed by a layup from Kyle in the final seconds of the third quarter to bring the score to 69-40.
UF held the Rattlers to a 28-point deficit as graduate student guard Kenza Salgues made her first shot of the night to give Florida a 75-47 lead.
Florida junior guard Jeriah Warren drilled a three-point jumper, and with 19 seconds left, Reynolds made a layup with two consecutive missed free throws. UF junior forward Eriny Kindred ended the second half with a layup to close the game with a 92-54 victory.
“I was proud of our effort on both ends of the floor to hold them to 54 points, I thought was pretty good,” Finley said.
Leading Scorer: Aliyah Matharu with 22 points on 9-18 and 7 rebounds followed by Laila Reynolds with 20 points, going 8-11 for field goal attempts, along with six rebounds.
Florida shot 49 percent from the floor to go along with 13 steals, and 14 assists.
Florida will play Florida State at 4 p.m. Friday. The game will be streamed on SEC Network+.