Gators’ Season Ends at SEC Tournament


Seniors Paulina Hersler and Haley Lorenzen, along with junior Funda Nakkasoglu each scored in double-figures but it wasn’t enough to overcome a slow start as Florida dropped a 48-43 decision to Ole Miss in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament held at Bridgestone Arena Wednesday.

The first quarter set the stage for low-scoring affair, as the 14-seed Rebels held a 9-6 advantage after the opening 10 minutes of play. The Gators refocused and held a five-point lead midway through the second quarter before Ole Miss ripped off a 21-3 run for a 32-19 lead 1:35 into the second half.

Florida attempted to rally using a 10-3 spurt and closed within six points with 7:15 remaining in the game.

The Gators’ shots weren’t falling and the turnovers began to mount, however, Florida continued to push and was within four points with 2:46 remaining and again at two other times but couldn’t get any closer.

Hersler notched her fourth double-double of the season and of her career with 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds – eight of those coming on the offensive end.

Lorenzen led the Gators in scoring for the ninth time this season with a team-best 14 points to go along with seven rebounds, as she and Hersler helped Florida take the 39-36 edge on the boards.

Nakkasoglu capped her outstanding debut season with the Gators scoring 11 points, hitting 2-of-5 three-pointers and 5-of-6 from the line in 40 minutes of action.


How It Happened

There were six lead changes and two tied scores in the first half as both team teams took turns with scoring spurts.

Florida held a 16-11 lead after back-to-back three-pointers from Funda Nakkasoglu and Haley Lorenzen that forced an Ole Miss timeout.

The Rebels responded out of the break by scoring the next nine points of the game. After three free throws from Nakkasoglu, Ole Miss used a 12-0 run that extended into the second half and the Rebels enjoyed a 32-19 lead with 8:25 remaining in the third quarter.

Paulina Hersler and Lorenzen followed with 12-foot jumpers and cut the Gators’ deficit to nine points, 32-23, with 5:07 on the clock.

The Rebels came right back with four free throws and the Gators answered got buckets from Mikayla Hayes and a 15-foot jumper from Hersler that dropped the deficit to single digits again. The points started a 10-3 run and Florida was within six points, 39-33, with 7:15 remaining the game and the momentum seemingly in the Gators’ favor.

Florida came up with a steal on its next defense possession, but missed the ensuing layup. Somehow, the Gators collected the miss, but again turned the ball over and Alissa Alston popped in a short jumper and UM’s lead was back to eight.

The Gators committed another turnover and again it was Alston who hit a jumper for a 10-point Rebels lead with 4:48 remaining.

Sophomore Delicia Washington stopped UF’s scoring drought with a pair of free throws for her first points of the game.

Hersler then drew a defensive charge and Nakkasoglu drilled her second three-pointer of the game and the Gators were within five, 43-38, with 3:36 on the clock.

Senior Dyandria Anderson came up with a block on UF’s defensive turn and found her way to the free throw where she made one and the Gators were within four points and had 2:46 to continue their rally.

Bree Glover then scored what would be the last field goal of the game, hitting a jumper with 2:16 to play that swung the lead back to six points.

Florida again turned the ball over, but it didn’t cost them, as Nakkasoglu found her way to the line and converted both and drew the Gators back within four with 22.5 seconds left.

The teams traded frees throws and Florida (11-19) wasn’t able to make one last push before the clock ran out on the game and its season.


Individual Numbers of Note

  • Dyandria Anderson dished a game-high six assists and topped the 300-assist mark for her career.
  • Funda Nakkasoglu hit a three-pointer in her 23rd consecutive game, tying for the second longest streak in program history.


Numbers of Note

  • Florida dished 11 assists on its 14 field goals.
  • Ole Miss converted Florida’s 20 turnovers into 20 points.
  • The Rebels attempted 22 free throws, the second-most by a Gator opponent this year.
  • The six points in the first quarter were the fewest UF has scored in the opening frame all season.
  • Both teams struggled with its shot during the game, as Florida just edged Ole Miss, 28 percent to 27.8 percent.
  • The game marked the first-ever meeting between the two teams in the SEC Tournament.


Close Ones

  • Including Wednesday’s outing, the Gators played 15 games this season – including nine in the SEC – decided by 10 points or less (4-11 record overall, 1-8 SEC).


Senior Salute

  • The game marked the final collegiate appearance for UF’s three seniors: Dyandria Anderson, Paulina Hersler and Haley Lorenzen.
  • On Wednesday, the trio combined for 28 points, 23 rebounds and six assists.


Quick Career Senior Stat Numbers:

  • Anderson: 121 Games Played, 79 starts, 724 points (6.0 ppg), 416 rebounds, 304 assists, 156 steals, 75 three-pointers (50 this year)
  • Hersler: 126 Games, 32 starts, 593 points (4.7 ppg), 367 rebounds, 78 three-pointers (43 this year)
  • Lorenzen: 120 Games, 104 starts, 1,214 points (10.1 ppg), 730 rebounds, 132 assists, 112 blocks, 98 steals


Quotes from the Court – UF Coach Cameron Newbauer, Opening Remarks:

“Just really proud of our seniors and what they’ve done this year with building a foundation of our program. I don’t think this game and the result is indicative at all of what they’ve done off the court, on the court, the culture in the locker room and who they are as people. This is something we do. This does not define us. Just couldn’t be more proud of, Haley (Lorenzen) and Paulina (Hersler), for sure.


“With regards to the game I thought Ole Miss did a terrific job of what we wanted to take away, 22 free throws, 15 offensive rebounds, led to 33 points off those so that was the Achilles today. We made a great effort at the end to fight back and had a couple of big turnovers late that really hurt us. Hats off to Ole Miss because playing a team three times, you get to know each other well and I thought they did a terrific job of really taking us out of what we wanted to do from an offensive end.”


Gator Pronunciations for this Release:

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


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