No. 2 Mississippi St. Too Much for Gators in Second Half

Mississippi State looked every bit like one of the nation’s top teams, as the second-ranked Bulldogs used a 32-5 run that spanned both halves to pull away and earned an impressive 98-50 victory against Florida at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Thursday evening.

It was a devastating third quarter for the Gators, who were outscored, 30-7, with Funda Nakkasoglu netting all seven for Florida (10-14, 2-9 SEC), as she finished with a team-leading 17 points during the game.

During the third quarter, MSU hit 70.6 percent (12-17) of its shots, including 4-of-5 from three, and held an 11-3 rebounding advantage while forcing five Gator turnovers. Florida managed just 3-of-12 shooting during the period.

The fourth quarter fairly similar, with the Bulldogs connecting on 60-percent (12-20) from the floor and holding a 26-14 scoring advantage.

How it Happened

After Florida cut its deficit to three points midway through the second quarter, Mississippi State (25-0, 11-1 SEC) closed the first half on a 13-3 run and began the second with a similar 19-2 march for a 61-31 lead and the Gators never recovered.

How It Began

Mississippi State scored the first nine points behind a trio of threes before Funda Nakkasoglu banked in an eight-foot jumper. The teams traded scores for the next few minutes and after Dyandria Anderson’s three-pointer brought the Gators within five, the Bulldogs marched off the next six points for a 19-8 edge with 1:53 remaining in the first quarter.

Haley Lorenzen, who totaled 12 points, added a three to stop the run, but Victoria Vivians, who finished with 17 points, answered with one for the Bulldogs and later MSU’s lead stood at 12 points, 25-13, to end the opening frame.

After the teams exchanged scores in the first minute of the second, Lorenzen’s bucket sparked an 11-2 run and Florida closed within three points, 29-26, with 5:51 remaining in the period.

Florida had a few chances to inch closer, but wouldn’t and MSU ended the first half with a 13-3 run for a 42-29 halftime advantage.

Individual Numbers of Note

  • Funda Nakkasoglu finished with a team-best 17 points, the ninth time this season she has led the Gators in scoring
  • This was Nakkasoglu’s 16th double-figure scoring game this year and the 69th of her career
  • Nakkasoglu connected on 3-of-5 three-pointers and extended her streak of at least one trey to 17 consecutive games
  • Haley Lorenzen’s 12 points marked her 16th double-figure scoring game this year and 55th of her career
  • Delicia Washington totaled 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds for her 16th double-figure scoring game this year and 35th of her career
  • Washington’s 10th point tonight represented the 600th of her career
  • Freshman Tameria Johnson played a career-long 26 minutes

Numbers of Note

  • Thursday’s game was Florida’s fourth during a six-game stretch against nationally-ranked opponents.
  • This was the second meeting in 14 days between Florida and Mississippi State, which won the Jan. 25 outing in Starkville, 90-53.
  • The Bulldogs remain one of two undefeated NCAA Division I women’s basketball teams in the country (UConn is the other).
  • MSU won its fifth straight game in the series against the Gators.
  • Florida dropped its 12th consecutive game against nationally ranked opponents, including six this season.

Bulldogs in Double-Digits

  • MSU’s Roshunda Johnson led all scorers with 22 points.
  • Teaira McCowan recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Morgan William (15 points) and Jordan Danberry (11 points) each tallied a double-figure scoring effort.

Quotes from the Court – Opening Statements by the head coaches


UF Head Coach Cameron Newbauer

Opening comments about the game:

“There is a reason they are the number two team in the country – both offensively and defensively. I think we did a great job in the first half. We had it at 29-26 and had a three that just didn’t go down. Pressure got to us – it speeds you up physically and mentally and we just got out of sorts. We kept fighting and now we are going to turn the page and move on to the next game.”

MSU Head Coach Vic Schaefer

Opening Comments:

Alright, giving God the glory for #25. Really proud of how they came out in the second half and that third quarter after just a real bad second quarter. We had to go on a run in the second quarter just to outscore them by one. Gotta give Florida a lot of credit. I thought they played extremely well in the second quarter, especially after we had a punch first in the first quarter. But our third quarter, third in seven and 26 points in the fourth. So that’s 56 points. I think we had 55 at our place in the second half. So, just our execution offensively was really good, we made shots. Ro(shunda) going four for seven from three. Morgan was three for three from three. Blair was two for five. You go ten for twenty from three then you can attack people off the bounce a little bit. It really opens some things up. Morgan probably should be in here, she had a great ball game. Six out of seven, three assists, one steal. It’s good to see her back, making shots and attacking. Third quarter defense was really good, 25%. We only made three buckets. That’s where we went on a run, held it at seven points. We’ve had some good quarters in the second half and held it to single digits. 37 points off turnovers and 14 fast break. We did 52 points in the paint. That’s the answer for us. That’s our secret to our success. If we can do that, we have a chance to win every night, so I’m really, really proud of my team coming off of such a high, an emotional game on Monday, then you take Tuesday off, with one day to prep. Florida has been playing so good. Cam’s got them playing really well. Going to Missouri with a chance to win. We know how hard it is to play at Missouri, we barely got out of there. Coming here tonight and playing as well as we did, I’m really proud of my team.”

What’s Next for the Gators

  • Florida begins a two-game road swing next week against nationally-ranked opponents.
  • The Gators first play at No. 7 and reigning NCAA champion South Carolina (19-5, 8-3 SEC) on Sunday, before playing at No. 14 Texas A&M (19-6, 8-3 SEC) on Thursday.

Gator Pronunciations for this Release:

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


Links of Note:


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