Junior Funda Nakkasoglu scored 19 and Florida held the rebounding edge against the taller Mississippi State squad, however, the No. 2-ranked Bulldogs took advantage of several missed opportunities and an impressive third quarter to earn the 90-53 decision at Humphrey Coliseum Thursday evening.
Gator sophomore Delicia Washington notched her fifth double-double of the season and sixth of her career with 10 points and 10 rebounds, as Florida shot 39.7 percent overall from the floor compared to MSUâ€™s 54.4 percent effort, the highest by a Gator opponent this season.
This was the first of two regular-season meetings between Florida and Mississippi State. The teams will square off again in 14 days in Gainesville (Feb. 8).
Mississippi State improved to 21-0 overall â€“ 7-0 in the Southeastern Conference â€“ and set the program record for best start to a season.
How It Happened
The teams traded scores for the first three minutes of the second half before MSU scored five straight points for a 46-28 advantage. Jalaysha Thomas converted a layup that prevented a larger run, however, MSU came right back with a score.
Funda Nakkasoglu drilled a three-pointer that had Florida within 15 points with 4:36 left in the third, but the Bulldogs countered with 11 straight points that started a devastating 16-2 run over a 2:50 span for a 29-point difference with 1:26 remaining in the third quarter and the Gators (10-11, 2-6 SEC) wouldnâ€™t recover.
Florida shot a respectable 46.2 percent during that third quarter, however, MSU hit 64.7 percent as it outscored the Gators 31-14 to carry a comfortable 66-37 lead into the final period.
Gators Kept It Close Early
Mississippi State scored seven consecutive points to build an early 13-4 lead and the teams traded buckets for the next three minutes before Victoria Vivansâ€™ shot with 44 seconds left in the first quarter gave the hosts a 10-point advantage.
Sydney Searcy answered with a three-pointer from the corner to end the first frameâ€™s scoring and ignited a 10-2 run that cut Floridaâ€™s deficit down to 22-20 with 5:41 remaining in the second quarter.
The Gators had chance to tie the game on their next possession but couldnâ€™t inbound the ball and the Bulldogs made them pay with a quick Vivansâ€™ bucket that sparked an 13-0 MSU swing.
Dyandria Anderson set up on the wing and Haley Lorenzen found her for a three-pointer that halted the Bulldog spree with 31 seconds left in the first half. Florida had missed nine consecutive field goals prior to Andersonâ€™s trey, as the Bulldogs took a 35-23 halftime lead.
Nakkasoglu scored 13 of UFâ€™s 23 first-half points, as she hit 5-of-8 from the field that include a three-pointer and a pair of free throws.
Lorenzen collected nine rebounds during the first 20 minutes and helped the Gators hold a 21-18 edge on the boards.
Individual Gator Numbers of Note
- Nakkasoglu scored a team-best 19 points with a Gator-leading three assists
- Lorenzen collected 12 rebounds for her fourth consecutive game with double-digit boards
- Lorenzen started her 95th career game
- Anderson started her 70th career game and team-leading 54th consecutive game
- Hersler collected her 300th career rebound during the game
- Nakkasoglu hit a three-pointer in her 14th consecutive game, tied for the 10th-longest streak in program history
- Teaira McCowan, who finished with 23 and eight rebounds, scored her 1,000th career point during the game.
- Victoria Vivians scored 17 points
- Blair Schaefer, who ranks second in SEC league games in three-pointers made per game, connected on 5-of-8 from deep and finished with 15 points.
Numbers of Note
- Florida dropped its ninth consecutive game to ranked opponents, including three this season.
- Mississippi State won fourth straight in the series against Florida.
Quotes from the Court – UF Coach Cameron Newbauer
– To come
Whatâ€™s Next for the Gators
- Florida plays host to No. 21/20 Georgia on Sunday at 2 p.m.
- The Lady Bulldogs (18-2, 6-1 SEC) upset No. 11 Missouri on Thursday and sit alone in second place in the SEC standings.
Gator Pronunciations for this Release:
- DYANDRIA Anderson: dee-ANN-dree-uh
- FUNDA NAKKASOGLU: FOON-da knock-ah-SO-glue
- Sydney SEARCY: SIR-see
- JALAYSHA Thomas: jah-LAY-shuh
- DELICIA Washington: duh-LEE-shuh