No. 2 Mississippi State Too Much for Gators in Starkville


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 MSU’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 – 7-0 in the Southeastern Conference – 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) wouldn’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 Vivans’ 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 frame’s scoring and ignited a 10-2 run that cut Florida’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 couldn’t inbound the ball and the Bulldogs made them pay with a quick Vivans’ 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 Anderson’s trey, as the Bulldogs took a 35-23 halftime lead.

Nakkasoglu scored 13 of UF’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

Bulldogs Bark

  • 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

What’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


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