Gators Drop SEC Home Opener to Alabama


Florida’s offense in the final 5:21 of Thursday’s game matched the frigid temperatures outside, as the Gators missed their final nine shots and dropped a 63-54 decision to Alabama at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

The Crimson Tide (11-4, 1-1 SEC) outscored the Gators, 11-0, to end the game after Florida had erased a third quarter, double-digit deficit and took the lead.

 Haley Lorenzen scored 12 of her game-high 14 points in the second half, while UF’s leading scorer Funda Nakkasoglu scored all of her 11 points in the final 14:36 of the game.

Dyandria Anderson recorded 13 points and Paulina Hersler flirted with a double-double, finishing with eight points and a game-high nine rebounds.

Ashley Williams led Alabama with 12 points.

How it Happened

Florida (8-7, 0-2 SEC) trailed by 10 points with 6:34 remaining in the third quarter and ripped off a 10-1 run with Dyandria Anderson connecting on a three and a pair of free throws to start the march before Funda Nakkasogluadded a trey and Haley Lorenzen capped it with a layup and 3:57 left in the frame.

Alabama closed the period on a 7-3 spurt and took a 48-42 lead into the final quarter.

Nakkasoglu, who scored all of her 11 points in the final 14:36 of the game, launched a three-pointer to start the fourth and led the Gators on a 10-2 run to take a 52-50 lead with 6:39 remaining.

Shaquera Wade came back with an inside bucket and tied the game before Lorenzen coolly converted a pair of free throws and put the Gators back on top, 56-54, with 5:21 on the clock.

Florida, however, went cold from floor from that point on, missing its final nine shots and the Tide took advantage by scoring the final 11 points and earning its first SEC win of the season.

There were three lead changes and five tied scores during the game, with three of those even scores and two of the lead changes coming in the fourth quarter.

Individual Numbers of Note

  • Haley Lorenzen was UF’s leading scorer for the fifth time this year and 11th time in her career.
  • Lorenzen (14 points), Anderson (13) and Nakkasoglu (11) each scored in double-digits.
  • Delicia Washington scored her 500th career point during the game

Numbers of Note

  • The Gators dished 16 assists with 20 made field goals.
  • UF recorded its seventh game this season with double-digit three-pointers, connecting on 10-of-28 against Alabama.
  • Tonight marked Florida’s sixth game this season decided by 10 points or less (3-3 record in those games).
  • UF’s 26 first-half points was tied for the fewest this season (also 26 vs. Florida State, Nov. 17)
  • This was just the third game UF has shot less than 40 percent from the floor and is now 0-3 when doing so.
  • Florida committed 17 turnovers that Alabama converted into 18 points.
  • Alabama collected 17 offensive rebounds and turned those into 14 points.

Quotes from the Court

UF Coach Cameron Newbauer

Opening Statement:

“Frustration – it is the exact same thing. We gave up 17 offensive rebounds. We had some bad turnovers. Had a tough turnover in transition, then two plays later had another really tough one in transition. Valuing the ball and possessions more is important. We had some bad shots at the end of the game where we had a chance to tie the game or take the lead, but it was kind of the same old, same old – which is frustrating. We have got to pick ourselves up immediately because we play a game at Ole Miss in two days. No rest for the weary. I don’t know how they [Ole Miss] did tonight against South Carolina, but it might be a battle of the 0-2 teams. We have to scrape and claw our way out of things better and earlier because we did not fight until late. That is the thing that really frustrates me. We have to show more fight, period.”

On getting the lead late and losing it:

“We could not get stops late, but we did get great looks. We executed and got the shots that we wanted, they just didn’t go down. Defensively, we just did not get the stops we needed at the right time, but I thought we executed well to get great looks that just went in and out. That’s what happens sometimes, but you just have to keep playing and fighting. Too many times we rely on our offense to dictate our defense and we have to stop that. We have to play defense regardless of what happens on offense; we have to get stops if we want to have success in this conference.”

Gator Junior Funda Nakkasoglu:

“I don’t think it personally had anything to do with me, we were just trying to find the best option at the time. We knew that Haley was getting it done inside and we wanted to look to her more and same with our perimeter shooters. We have offenses that get everyone involved and at the right time, we need the right scoring option, so we look towards that more.”

What’s Next for the Gators

  • Florida returns to action on Sunday, when the team travels to Oxford, Miss., and plays Ole Miss (10-5, 0-2 SEC) at The Pavilion at Ole Miss with tip-off scheduled for 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT.
  • There will be television coverage of the game, but SEC Network + (WatchESPN app) will provide live streaming video.
  • The Rebels lost to No. 4 South Carolina, 88-62, on Thursday.

 Other SEC Games Played Thursday

  • No. 4 South Carolina def. OLE MISS, 88-62
  • No. 7 TENNESSEE def. Auburn, 70-59
  • No. 19 TEXAS A&M def. Kentucky, 74-70
  • LSU def. No. 15 MISSOURI, 69-65
  • Georgia def. VANDERBILT, 81-52
  • No. 5 MISSISSIPPI STATE def. Arkansas, 111-69

Gator Pronunciations for this Release:

  • DYANDRIA Anderson: dee-ANN-dree-uh
  • FUNDA NAKKASOGLU: FOON-da knock-ah-SO-glue
  • DELICIA Washington: duh-LEE-shuh

Links of Note:


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