Gators Finish 2018 in Style with 70-60 Win Over Charleston Southern

Paced by redshirt-senior Funda Nakkasoglu’s 30 points, the University of Florida women’s basketball team closed out the 2018 calendar year with a 70-60 victory over Charleston Southern Sunday afternoon at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
Nakkasoglu’s 30 points were the most she has scored since joining the Gators last season after spending her first two years of eligibility at Utah State.
Nakkasoglu, Zada Williams and Delicia Washington combined to score 61 of UF’s 70 points and accounted for all 20 of the Gators’ made field goals. Williams finished with 18 points, a career high during her Florida tenure, and Delicia Washington added 13 points, nine rebounds and four assists as the veteran trio helped guide UF to its fourth-straight home win.
The game saw nine ties and seven lead changes, but Florida made its move in fourth, outscoring the Buccaneers 23-16 in the frame.
In the final period Florida would connect on just one field goal, a Nakkasoglu three-pointer, but the Gators iced the game from the charity stripe draining 20 of 21 from the line.
For the game, Florida finished shooting 26-of-30 from the line, setting season highs in makes and in percentage.
Nakkasoglu, who entered the game with a .512 shooting percentage, made nine of her 12 field goals on the day and was a perfect 8-of-8 from the line as she netted 20 or more points for the seventh time this season.
Twice when Charleston Southern tested Florida with lengthy scoring runs, once in the second and once in the third, Nakkasoglu answered with personal 6-0 runs to bring the Gators back.
Florida held its eighth halftime lead of the season thanks to 16-3 surge to close out the first 20 minutes. UF shot 46 percent from the floor in the first and entered the intermission with a 30-25 lead.
The first half featured three major scoring runs, two for Florida and one for the Buccaneers. Florida used a 9-2 run to jump ahead 12-9 in the early going but the Buccaneers countered quickly with a 13-2 run of their own that catapulted them to 22-14 lead in the second quarter. After Florida faced a 24-20 deficit, Nakkasoglu scored on three-straight trips down the court to help spur a late Gator run heading into the half.

The second half saw more of the same in terms of extended scoring streaks.
After a Kristina Moore free throw, the first Gator points not scored by Nakkasoglu, Williams or Washington, put the Gators ahead 33-27 at the 7:47 mark of the third quarter, Charleston Southern stormed back with an 8-0 run to put it ahead 35-33 midway through the quarter. Facing its first deficit since late in the second quarter, Florida responded with an 8-2 scoring spurt to lead 41-35 with under four minutes remaining in the period. CSU then mounted a 6-0 run to grab the 44-41 advantage. Now trailing by three with under a minute and thirty seconds to go in the stanza, Nakkasoglu heated up and drilled three-pointers on consecutive possessions to give Florida the edge 47-44 heading into the deciding period.
Florida never trailed in the fourth and led by as many as 12. The Buccaneers kept things close and they narrowed the gap to just one point at 49-48 with 6:16 remaining in regulation, but Florida punched back with a 7-0 scoring spree that was capped off by a Nakkasoglu triple.
Ke’Asia Jackson paced the Buccaneers with 20 points while Breannah Bretches also registered double figures, finishing the game with 10.

Florida returns to action Thursday, Jan. 3 when it travels to Alabama for its 2018-19 SEC Season Opener. Tipoff from Coleman Coliseum is slated for 8 p.m. ET.

  • Florida has won eight-straight non-conference finales.
  • Florida improves to 3-0 vs. Charleston Southern and 9-2 all time against Big South squads.
  • Florida has held its opponent to 60 points or fewer points in five of the last six games
  • Florida has outrebounded its opponent in five of the last seven games and improves to 4-3 when winning the battle on the glass.
  • Florida has won four-straight home games.
  • Four newcomers were featured in the starting lineup for the second time this season and second-straight game.
  • Florida has finished with 10 or more assists in three-straight games.
  • The Gators improve to 4-2 when donning the orange jerseys.
  • UF outscored CSU’s bench 47-11, marking the eighth time this season that the Gator bench has done so.
  • Funda Nakkasoglu’s 30 points were a career high during her time at Florida, surpassing her previous best which was 26. She had 37 against Pacific on Nov. 21, 2015 while at Utah State.
  • Nakkasoglu has now hit at least three three-pointers in nine of the 11 games she has played in this season.
  • Zada Williams scored a career-high 18 points and had a season-high five free-throw attempts.
  • With three steals today, Delicia Washington matched her season high.  
  • Nakkasoglu added six rebounds, the most she has notched during her Florida career.
  • Florida has now had two players score 30 or more points this season as Washington scored 33 at Mercer.
  • Washington finished in double figures for the ninth time this season. 

Head Coach Cam Newbauer

Opening Statement…

“I’m not sure you are going to ever see a game again where only three players make field goals and where we go 20-of-21 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. We finished 26-of-30 in the game from the free-throw line which is great. These three next to me [Delicia Washington, Funda Nakkasoglu, Zada Williams] did a great job just trying to continue to be leaders and demand the ball and play together. Funda had 30, Delicia 13 and Zada 18, but what’s most impressive about that is the 20-of-33 shooting from the floor from these three, which is phenomenal.  They did a good job leading us. We have a young squad, not the most experienced, so these three really stepped up today and did a great job of taking care of business. Charleston Southern is a pretty good team that gains a lot of confidence when they are making shots. [Ke’asia] Jackson, No. 3, did a really good job hitting some tough shots, and finished with 20. They put a lot of pressure on us and did a good job taking us out of some things we wanted to do today as well.  We are excited to get this win under our belt and can’t wait for next year, because that’s when our next game is, right Delicia? SEC play begins on Thursday.”

“It was a really big mental game for us.  We went really hard the last three days and I think with these three, they have kind of been through this before and the rest of our team is pretty fatigued physically with how hard we have been practicing. So we knew today would be a mental challenge and it’s even more why I’m impressed with these three being the elder statesman of our squad and leading us through it.”

On this win being a confidence going into conference play…

“We talk a lot about our focus and we knew coming into tonight that we had had seven half time leads and so you look at the numbers tonight in terms of focus and we had some players that didn’t make field goals but you look at their free throws. Kiki [Smith] didn’t make a field goal, but she was 2-of-2 from the line and made those two late when it was still an undecided game. Danielle [Rainey] was 4-of-4 late in the game as well to help ice it and Manu [de Oliveira] goes 2-2 late to knock down the free throws. We talk a lot about staying focused and staying the course throughout the duration of the game and I think we did that today. We knew that was a team that had a chance to give us some problems when they scored it, so we took away some of their tendencies later in the game. From an offensive standpoint, I thought we settled in much more later. I thought we were stronger with the ball and that’s what gave us the opportunity to get free throws and we took that chance and just knocked them down.  So overall, in terms of focus I think for us moving forward this was a really good sign of growing with our maturity and focusing on the offensive and defensive end for all 40 minutes.”

Redshirt Senior Guard Funda Nakkasoglu

On getting a win to finish out the year…

“I am so happy that we got the win. I know all of us wanted that last non-conference win and we’ve obviously had a tough ride up until now. As Delicia said, we had three hard practices coming off Christmas break and we were all very focused and we wanted that win so badly. We pulled it off and we played hard for pretty much all forty minutes, which is what we were trying to focus on.”


Redshirt Junior Forward Zada Williams

On adjusting to the new system…

“My teammates really do a good job of making me feel comfortable. We encourage each other and we all try to be each other’s eyes and ears on the court. We lift each other up when we miss a layup or something. Just having each other’s back is what is really helping me and what will push us through conference play.”

On the success of Florida’s bench…

“Coaches always say when your number is called, just make your mark. Whether you’re starting or coming off the bench, play hard and play for your teammates.”


Junior Guard Delicia Washington

On the team’s practices the last few days…

“We had three really hard days of practice. Everybody stayed focused and helped each other as a team. We knew that we needed this win under our belt and we finished off this year with a win. We played together.”

On importance of free throw shooting…

“They’re only one or two points, so make the small ones count. They’re free so you might as well knock them down. Free throws at the end of the game lengthens the lead. Our team is really aggressive so we can make our way to the free throw line and we knock them down.”

On importance of rebounding…

“That’s something that my teammates look to me to do. They expect me to get rebounds and they know that I can jump. They expect me to hustle for the rebound and get on the glass. I’m doing it for my teammates.”

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