Despite featuring three players in double
figures, the University of Florida women’s basketball team fell, 76-66 Sunday
afternoon to Ole Miss at the Pavilion.
Funda Nakkasoglu, scoring 10 or more points for the 13th time this season, paced Florida with 21 points while Danielle Rainey and Zada Williams recorded 15 and 10 points, respectively.
The Gators rallied back from double-digit deficits twice in the game, and trailed by just two in the fourth, but saw the host Rebels pull away late.
Florida held the edge in rebounding, 32-27 and outscored the Rebels’ bench 30-9.
The Gators put together a strong second quarter, outscoring Ole Miss 16-12 and faced just a 34-33 deficit at the break. In the third, Ole Miss jumped ahead by outscoring the Gators 22-14. Florida opened the fourth quarter locked in and determined, scoring nine of the first 11 points in the frame, but couldn’t sustain it, as Ole Miss finished the game with an 18-10 run.
Florida knocked down eight 3-pointers and held the edge in second chance points, 12-8, but was unable to overcome the hot shooting Rebels who posted a 50.9 shooting percentage on the day.
Ole Miss connected on eight 3-pointers of its
own, after entering the game averaging just five per contest, and finished
shooting 11 percentage points above its season average.
Nine different Florida players scored in the game and three players had three or more assists.
Delicia Washington led the way with nine rebounds for the Gators while Rainey registered seven boards off the bench. Rainey continues to progress as the sophomore finished in double figures for the second time in as many games.
The Gators trailed by as many as 10 in the opening quarter but hit four of their last five field goal attempts to narrow the gap to just 22-17 after the first was in the books. Florida stayed the course in the early going after the Rebels knocked down four of their first six 3-point attempts.
At the intermission Nakkasoglu led a group of eight Gator scorers with seven points. The Gators drained seven of their 11 shot attempts in the stanza, shooting an efficient 63.6 percent from the floor.
Ole Miss featured a trio of double-figure scorers paced by Shandricka Sessom’s 19 points. Crystal Allen, who entered the game second in the SEC in scoring at 18.5 points per game, was held scoreless in the first half but finished with 14 points and seven assists.
Nakkasoglu, Rainey and Williams combined to shoot 14 of 26 from the floor.
UP NEXT: Florida (5-13, 1-4) returns home Thursday, Jan. 27 to host the No. 7 Mississippi State Bulldogs (17-1, 5-0) for the first of consecutive matchups at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
Head Coach Cam Newbauer
On the defense of sophomore guard Kiki Smithâ€¦
“She did a good job of really trying to limit Allen (Crystal Allen, Ole Miss guard). She did a great job of busting her tail to stay with her. I wish we could have gotten that kind of effort from everybody coming out of the gate, but like I said that comes with growth and experience. Kiki has done a great job of being locked in and I couldn’t be prouder of the effort she is playing with out there.”
On the SEC and its depth
“The league has a lot of parity. The top is the top with South Carolina and Mississippi State, but if you look at what has been happening and the scores, anybody can win any given day at any given time.”
Overall thoughts on the game and the Rebels’ fast startâ€¦
“They (Ole Miss) started out the game and came out of the gate really strong. They were ready to go and hit some big shots. They always play hard and they did that tonight. They did a great job of protecting their home court.
They are aggressive, we knew they were going to come out and play that way. We talked about it and prepared for it but just weren’t ready for it once it became game time for some reason. That’s all part of it. When you look at our roster, it may look like we are experienced but in terms of SEC game experience, we aren’t that experienced. When you’re on the road, it doesn’t matter who it is, you have to come ready to play and I think out of the gates we got a little shell shocked.”
- UF’s bench is outscoring opponent’s reserves, 355-228 on the season and the Gators have held the edge in terms of bench production in 12 games.
- Florida outrebounded its opponent for the second-straight game.
- Florida shot 63.6 percent in the second quarter, its second best shooting percentage in any quarter this season trailing just the 78.6 percent it shot in the third quarter vs. Northwestern.
- Danielle Rainey scored 15 or more points for the second-straight game.
- Florida featured three or more double figure scorers for the second-straight game marking just the second time it has done so all season.