Strong Third Quarter Pushes Gators to Third-Straight Win

The University of Florida women’s basketball team earned its third-straight victory as it defeated Florida A&M 62-38, Sunday afternoon at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

The Gators outscored the Rattlers 21-2 in the third quarter to take control of the game and finish their season-long four-game homestand with a 3-1 record.
A trio of Florida players registered double-digit point totals as Zada Williams contributed a career-high 16, Ariel Johnson added 13 while Delicia Washington collected her second-straight double-double with an 11 point, 10 rebound performance.

The Gators won the rebounding battle for the third time in as many games, holding the edge on the glass 44-30 and they dominated second chance points, 22-2.

During the Gators’ pivotal third quarter run, they connected on 9-of-16 shots while holding their counterpart to just 1-of-12 shooting. UF limited FAMU to just two points, marking its lowest points allowed in a quarter since Nov. 24, 2015 when the Gators held Savannah State scoreless in the game’s opening period.

UF, who never trailed in the game, led for over 37 minutes and grew its lead to as large as 28 in the fourth quarter.

Williams, starting for the first time since Nov. 15 at Mercer, made the most of her minutes with a career best in points to go with nine rebounds, two assists and zero turnovers. Corey Staples, earning a starting nod for the second-straight game, stepped up and contributed a career-high eight points with four rebounds while freshman Emanuely de Oliveira scored seven and notched three rebounds off the Gator bench.

At the half Florida held a 27-23 edge, carrying a lead into the intermission for the second-straight game. It was truly a tale of two quarters for Florida as it got off to a strong start to lead 19-9 after the first but cooled down in the second as FAMU fought back to outscore Florida 14-8. The Gators tied a season best with 19 first quarter points but followed it up with a season-low eight points in the second. Florida endured a stretch of over five minutes without a basket in the second stanza and FAMU capitalized with a 12-2 scoring run to tighten the score heading into the half.

Williams was the story of the first half, checking in with 12 points and five rebounds at the break. The University of Miami transfer’s play was a critical factor in the Gators’ success early as she scored eight of UF’s first 10 points. Struggling to shoot it from distance, Florida asserted its will down low, outscoring its opponent 20-6 in terms of points in the paint and winning the rebounding battle 20-15 in the first half.

After a sluggish second quarter, Florida came out rejuvenated to open the second half and scored 13-straight points to separate itself from the Rattlers. UF held FAMU scoreless for over eight minutes as the Rattlers failed to score until the 1:59 mark of the third quarter when Jasmine Ballew scored on a runout layup.

For Johnson Sunday marked her third-straight game with 10 or more points and her fifth-straight game with a three-point field goal as the freshman continues to excel. Washington has now notched consecutive double-doubles twice in her Gator career as her last time doing so came against Ole Miss and Mississippi State in January of 2018.

Mya Moye and Tyra James each added nine points to lead Florida A&M.

The Gators next return to action Sunday, Dec. 16 when they travel to Ohio State for a matinee matchup with the Buckeyes in Columbus which kicks off a stretch of three-consecutive contests away from Gainesville.

Up Next
Florida (3-6) vs. Ohio State (3-3)
St. John Arena | Columbus, Ohio


  • The Gators three-game winning streak is their longest since winning three in a row vs. Savannah State, Jacksonville and Oklahoma a season ago and it ties the longest stretch of consecutive wins during Cam Newbauer‘s tenure.
  • The Gators have won three-consecutive home matchups for the first time since February of 2016 when they beat No. 12 Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, and Auburn in succession.
  • Florida featured its fourth different starting lineup this season.
  • Funda Nakkasoglu missed her second-straight game due to injury.
  • Corey Staples started her second-straight game.
  • Ariel Johnson has scored a three-pointer in five-straight games.
  • The Gators held Florida A&M to just 38 points, the fewest they have allowed since Nov. 11, 2016 when they limited South Alabama to just 33.           
  • Florida held the Rattlers to just two points in the third quarter, marking the fewest points allowed in a quarter since Nov. 24, 2015 when it held Savannah State scoreless in the opening quarter.
  • Zada Williams tallied a new career high with 16 points, earning her first starting assignment since Nov. 15 at Mercer.
  • Florida tied its season high with 19 first quarter points.
  • This is the Gators fourth game of the season and third-straight with 40 or more rebounds
  • Delicia Washington registered her second straight double-double.
  • The Gators’ 26-point win was the largest margin of victory since their 90-40 win over Savannah State on November 23, 2017


Head Coach Cam Newbauer
Opening Statement
“I really liked our response coming out of halftime with some adjustments we made defensively, as well as rebounding and sharing the ball. We shot 56 percent from the floor in the third and that was our best quarter. We came out of the gates focused and stayed disciplined. I really thought we did a good job of that. Zada had a great game today- 16 points, nine rebounds and no turnovers. That is a phenomenal stat line. Ari played well again. It’s great getting a double-double from Delicia as well. Overall, it was just a nice team effort today. It was nice having the adversity in the second half and having to overcome that, lock in and come out for the second half. I thought we did a good job of taking care of what we needed to do today and get the win.”

On what the adjustments the team makes at the half…
“What we do every game when the coaches meet, the players meet too, and they come up with their ideas of what areas we need to get better in and we all write those up on the board. It’s amazing how often the coaches and players’ adjustments match up at half.

On Ariel Johnson’s performance . . .
“Ari has done a great job of continuing to get better. She spends a lot of extra time in the gym working on her game. When we watch film together, she soaks it up. She is probably the hardest on herself, wanting to do everything perfectly and sometimes that stifles her a bit because she tries too hard. But she fights through it and has done a great job stepping in with Funda out. We are excited about the future for her.”

On the team’s rebounding . . .
“What sticks out is the offensive rebounds, and we had 18 of those tonight. That’s one thing we talk about: having a team effort by committee when it comes to rebounding and it is becoming infectious. That’s our toughness and discipline we have talked about, so I’m proud of our ladies.”

Junior Forward Zada Williams
On scoring the first eight of 10 points…
“Just coming out aggressive. You try to do that every game and I guess it just kind of clicked, so just being prepared and taking what was given.”
On the team chemistry leading to better offensive and defensive performances…
“It’s definitely getting better. We work every day so we knew at some point it was going to click and I’m excited to see the fruits of our labor.”
On Florida’s second-chance point success
“It’s definitely effort. I know the last game we kind of rushed a lot with our finishes around the rim, so we focused on just taking our time and just following through with our shots.”

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