Ohio State Pulls Away Late as Gators Fall to Buckeyes

Despite a game-high 14 points from redshirt-senior Funda Nakkasoglu in her return to game action, the University of Florida women’s basketball team saw its three-game winning streak snapped as it fell 46-41 at Ohio State Sunday afternoon at St. John Arena.

Florida put together one of its best defensive performances of the season by limiting the Buckeyes to a season-low 46 points on 24.6 percent shooting from the floor.
UF led for over 34 minutes in the contest but struggled to find its offensive flow late as the host Buckeyes outscored the Gators 14-4 in the fourth quarter to earn their fourth victory of the season.

Junior guard Delicia Washington scored eight points and added 10 rebounds for the Gators, giving her 10 or more boards in three-straight games while Ariel Johnson registered eight points off the Gator bench as she continues to provide a spark for Florida.

The Gators led after each of the first three quarters and for the majority of the fourth, but the Buckeyes closed the game on an 8-0 run, denying Florida its shot at its first win at a Big Ten opponent since 2015.

For the sixth time this season the Gators held the lead after the end of the first quarter as they jumped out to an early 13-10 advantage. UF didn’t show any signs of rust after a week layoff in between games, connecting on three of its first five three-point field goals. The Gators’ defense limited Ohio State to just two makes in its first 14 tries, but the Buckeyes made three-straight shots to shrink the Gator lead to three heading into the second quarter.

Early in the second stanza after Ohio State had battled back to grab its first lead at 14-13, Florida countered with a 10-0 scoring run to establish a 23-14 advantage. The Gators led 25-18 at the intermission, holding the half time edge for the sixth time this season, and had seven players score in the first paced by Johnson’s eight points. UF stuck to its defensive game plan and it showed as it limited Ohio State to just 23 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes of play which included the Buckeyes’ 0-of-11 mark from three-point range. OSU finished with a season low in first half points.

Florida’s bench accounted for 13 of its 25 first half points as the freshman guard Johnson scored all eight of her tallies in the first 20 minutes of play.

After missing 11-straight three-pointers in the first half to open the game, the Buckeyes drained their first three-point try of the second half which spurred a 7-2 run to kickoff the third quarter. Florida weathered the storm when it looked like the Buckeyes had the momentum thanks to Washington’s six third quarter points. OSU cut the Florida lead to 27-25 with 6:10 to play in the third quarter, but the Gators utilized an 8-1 scoring spurt to give them their largest lead at 35-26 late. OSU scored on consecutive possessions to cut the Florida lead to 37-32 heading into the final period.

In the fourth, the Buckeyes scored the first four points to draw the gap to 37-36, but after a Gator timeout, Nakkasoglu nailed a timely three-pointer to put UF back up four with eight minutes remaining in the game. Three minutes passed until Florida’s next score as Nakkasoglu split a trip to the line to put Florida ahead 41-38 with 5:10 remaining. A Najah Queenland layup gave Ohio State a 42-41 lead, its first since the 6:54 mark of the second quarter.

For the first time in the last three games, the Gators were outrebounded by their opponent, as OSU held a 51-39 edge on the boards.

Makayla Waterman paced the Buckeyes with 11 points and Florida limited OSU’s leading scorer coming into the game, Dorka Juhasz, to just six points on 2-of-10 shooting.

The Gators return to action Thursday, Dec. 20 when they take on the Utah Utes in the opening round of the Duel in the Desert tournament co-hosted by UNLV and Basketball Travelers Inc. Tip off from UNLV’s Cox Pavilion is slated for 3 p.m. Competing in the Rebels bracket portion of the event, Florida will draw either UNLV or Hawaii in its second and final game of the event on Dec. 21.

Head Coach Cam Newbauer 

On team’s performance
 “We battled for 40 minutes and executed really well. Shots just didn’t go down but we got the looks we wanted. We really stuck to the game plan, I mean if you were to tell me we held a team to 46 points and lost, I would say you’re crazy. We stuck to it, but ultimately just couldn’t knock down enough shots to get it done today. We have to keep fighting and continue to get better each possessions.”

On Ohio State’s offensive rebounding
“They had 17 offensive rebounds. We knew we wanted to back off and make them shoot jump shots from the perimeter, that’s why they were 1-of-19 from three, but when you give up that many offensive rebounds and they can get 13 second chance points, that’s the game. We knew there would be a chance for offensive rebounds with the long rebounds that come from perimeter shots and we just didn’t get to enough 50/50 balls today.”

On Funda Nakkasoglu returning to the lineup
“She demands a defensive presence at all times. Ohio State did a great job of sticking to her the whole game. We need to find ways to get other people more involved in knocking down some shots because teams are going to continue to try to take her away.”


  • Redshirt-sophomore Danielle Rainey played her first game as a Florida Gator after sitting out two semesters due to the NCAA’s transfer rules. It was her first game action since Feb. 27, 2017 when she suited up for TCU against Texas Tech.
    • Rainey scored her first points as a Gator at the 2:25 mark of the second quarter when she connected on a three-point attempt.
  • Redshirt-senior guard Funda Nakkasoglu returned to the Gator starting lineup after missing the last two contests with an ankle injury.
  • Ariel Johnson has made 13 of her last 27 three-point field goal attempts
  • Nakkasoglu finished in double figures for the seventh time this season and 83rd time in her career
  • Delicia Washington finished with a double-figure rebound total for the third-straight game

Up Next
Florida (3-7) vs. Utah (9-0)
Cox Pavilion | Las Vegas, Nev.
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