Redshirt-senior Funda Nakkasoglu scored a team-best 14 and tallied her 25thdouble-figure scoring game of the season, but the Gators were unable to keep pace with Missouri which poured in 13 three-pointers and shot 53 percent from the floor.
Nakkasoglu, finishing in double figures for the ninth straight game to close the season, knocked down her 84th three-pointer of the season in the game, giving her sole possession of second place in program history in terms of single seasons three-pointers made. Nakkasoglu entered the game tied with Steffi Sorensen for third in the record books.
The Australian finishes her collegiate career with 2,047 points and her career average of 15.8 points per game is the sixth-highest in a career for Florida.
For the second time in as many games, the duo of Nakkasoglu and Delicia Washington provided the bulk of Florida’s scoring. Washington, scoring 10 or more for the third straight game, added 10 including eight in the second half.
Florida and Missouri played to an even 20-20 tally after the first quarter but the Gators struggled to score as the game progressed while the Tigers continued to shoot it a high level.
The Tigers pulled away in the second half, outscoring Florida 45-24 in the final 20 minutes.
Playing its fifth game in 10 days, the Gators came out of the gates strong but weren’t able to match the well-rested Tigers.
Freshman guard Ariel Johnson recorded eight points off the bench while Zada Williams and Danielle Rainey each added seven.
Florida led 9-6 at the first quarter media timeout as it started four of eight from the floor while Missouri made just one of its first eight shot attempts. After some back-and-forth play, a Nakkasoglu three-pointer towards the end of the first quarter left the score tied at 20-20. The Gators found success in the early going from long range, as they converted three of their first five three-point attempts.
After the teams played an even first quarter, the Tigers surged ahead by outscoring Florida 22-12 in the second quarter. Florida trailed 42-32 at the break as the Tigers closed the second on a 12-2 run and the Gators endured a scoreless stretch of over three minutes. Nakkasoglu scored 12 first half points and the Gators finished the half shooting 40 percent from the floor. Missouri did its damage from three-point range and the free throw line as it made seven first half three’s and knocked down nine of its 10 attempts from the free throw line.
Following a 3-of-5 start from three-point range, the Gators finished the game with makes on just two of their final 14 three-pointers.
Washington scored eight third quarter points but the Tigers padded their lead by knocking down four third quarter 3-pointers and carried a 64-46 heading into the final frame.
The Tigers featured four double-figure scorers paced by Amber Smith’s 18 points and nine rebounds.
- UF falls to 21-39 all time in the SEC Tournament, including a 14-15 mark in the second round.
- Florida drained 235 three-pointers this season which is the second-most in program history and trails just the 249 the Gators made during last season’s record-breaking season. The Gators knocked down 200 or more three-pointers in consecutive seasons for just the second time in program history joining the 2008-09 and 2009-10 squads.
- After being held scoreless in yesterday’s first half, Nakkasoglu scored her first points Thursday at the 7:25 mark of the first quarter.
- Florida falls to 1-8 vs. Missouri and 0-1 against the Tigers in the SEC Tournament.
- Funda Nakkasoglu finishes the 2018-19 season with 83 made three-pointers as she passed former Gator Steffi Sorensen, who worked the game as a sideline reporter for SEC Network, for second place all-time in single season in program history.
- Nakkasoglu concludes her college career with 2,047 points.
- Nakkasoglu added 24 double-figure scoring games and scored over 20 points 12 times.
- Delicia Washington averaged 15.6 points per game over UF’s final three games.
Head Coach Cam Newbauer
“Hats off to Missouri. The last two games they’ve hit 28 threes. They played very well, shared the ball with 19 assists on 31 field goals. We played five games in the last 11 days. With a young, inexperienced team as we had this year, that’s a lot to finish the season with. Kind of got the short end of the stick with that with how our schedule worked out, but iouldn’t be more proud of our group for finishing the way we did, battling, fighting, sticking together, trying to be better each possession. I’m proud of the effort we gave. I thought we fought and had some moments today where shots didn’t go really down. I thought we had good looks, great execution. Probably some of that was the fatigue we’ve had from playing five games in 11 days. Even an experienced team, that would be tough on them, in the SEC. I’m proud of the growth we’ve shown all year, the two next to me, the leadership they’ve displayed with our team. I’m excited about what’s next for us. I couldn’t be more proud of Funda (Nakkasoglu) and what she’s done in such a short, short time, in two years at the University of Florida. So blessed and grateful to have had the opportunity to coach you. Hope I get to coach more like you.”
On the team’s growth over the season…
“You said it, they’ve grown, the growth of the individual players, the growth of our team. You look down our roster. You have a handful of players that have never played anywhere near what was asked of them this year in terms of minutes, in terms of roles. Then to do that and to not have a winning season, not even close to a winning season, keep fighting, keep competing, keep climbing that mountain of adversity every single day, it’s hard. I’m a 40-year-old man. It’s hard for me to do it. So just seeing their youth, their energy, their enthusiasm to want to be better, just makes me proud and excited for what’s to come. I just appreciate so much the character that they displayed all year through these tough times just trying to be the best Florida Gators we could be as a team and them as individuals.”
Senior Guard Funda Nakkasoglu
On what did being a Florida Gator meant to her…
“I mean, it’s more than you can put into words. I can’t necessarily put it in words. But I feel like I got so much experience from it. I met so many great people that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t taken this opportunity. I’ve just loved it. I literally call these girls family now. It sounds clichÃ©, but I can go to them for anything. They always have my back. They have that unwavering confidence in me that I sometimes don’t even have in myself. It’s been incredible. I’m going to miss it. I’m going to cherish it. It hasn’t 100% hit I would say that this is it. I know what it does, it will hurt. I’ll kind of wish that I could get some of those moments back.”
On playing for Coach Newbauer…
“He instills trust in me. He’s wanted leadership out of me this year, which I hope I’ve provided for him and the players on our team. But it’s been fun. It’s been a fun ride. You never know what you’re going to get thrown at you in this league, in anything. But he’s always been there just cheering me on.”
Junior Guard Delicia Washington
On what was working early on for Florida…
“Staying in a stance, playing defense. Giving up good shots for great shots. Just taking the shots that we take every day in practice, continue to focus on what we can control and what we can’t control, focus in on the small details, which is running the floor hard, hands up on defense, setting screens tight, communicating when shooters coming through, simple things like that. Helped us really good in the first half.”