Gators Start Fast, but Fall at No. 19 Kentucky

Despite sophomore guard Danielle Rainey’s career-high 20 points, the University of Florida women’s basketball team fell 62-51 to No. 19 Kentucky Sunday afternoon at Rupp Arena.
Rainey, scoring 15 or more for the fourth time in her last six games, finished with a game high and shot 7-of-10 from the floor. Junior guard Delicia Washingtonregistered her third double-double of the season as she recorded 10 points and a season-high 14 rebounds.
Funda Nakkasoglu added eight points, including a pair of treys, as the Australian registered her 17thgame with multiple made three-pointers. She also tied her season high with four assists.
UF finished the game shooting 45 percent (18-of-40) from the floor, but committed 24 turnovers which resulted in 31 Wildcat points. The Gators dished out 14 assists on their 18 made field goals and were outrebounded by a slim margin of 35-34.
With their eyes set on snapping a four-game slide, Florida got off to a strong start and led 9-0, but saw the nationally-ranked Wildcats fight back to win on their home floor.
Kentucky led by just two at 42-40 with 52 seconds remaining in the third quarter, but outscored the Gators 20-11 over the final 10+ minutes.
After a season-low eight turnovers Thursday at Tennessee, the Wildcat defense forced Florida into committing 16 turnovers in the first half.
Florida knocked down three of its four shots to open the game, including makes on its first two three-point attempts. While the Gators started hot, the host Wildcats struggled to score at the onset, coming up empty on their first seven attempts.
After being held without a field goal Thursday in Knoxville, Rainey didn’t waste any time getting things going as she scored the game’s first six points. After the Gators’ quick start forced a Wildcat timeout, Kentucky countered with a 6-0 run and ultimately finished the frame on 15-6 scoring spurt to knot the score at 15-15 at the quarter’s end. Rainey finished with nine points in the frame.

After Ariel Johnson opened the second quarter scoring with a trey, Kentucky rattled off an 8-0 run grab a 23-18 lead with under six minutes remaining in the period. Rainey’s shooting success spilled over into the second period as she made her first two shots and scored five of the Gators’ first eight points in the stanza. UK outscored Florida 15-8 in the second and led 30-23 at the intermission.
Florida shot an efficient 7-of-13 from the floor but as a result of the early turnover trouble, Kentucky attempted three times as many shots, going 12-of-39 on its attempts in the first. The Gators’ ability to knock down three-pointers helped them hang tough with the Wildcats as they hit five of their nine attempts in the opening half.
Rainey checked in at the break with 14 points on perfect 5-of-5 shooting.

After some halftime adjustments, the Gators held the Wildcats without a field goal for over five minutes in the third quarter. Paired with its strong defense, UF scored some timely baskets to narrow the gap to just 42-40 with under a minute to play in the third. Florida outscored UK, 17-15 in the third and limited the Wildcats to just 25 percent shooting from the floor.
Heading into the fourth, Kentucky led 45-40.
The teams went back and forth in the fourth and Florida trailed just 48-43 with 6:44 remaining. Over the next three minutes, Kentucky would score eight-straight points to gain their largest advantage at 13 points. Washington put together a strong fourth quarter, scoring eight points and snagging four rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to bring the Gators back.
Zada Williams tallied five points and four rebounds off the Gator bench.
Kentucky featured a trio of double-figure scorers led by freshman Rhyne Howard who added 16.
The Gators return home to host Alabama on Thursday, Feb. 7. All fans are encouraged to wear orange as Florida battles the Crimson Tide at 7 p.m. ET from Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
Up Next
Thursday, Feb. 7 | 7 p.m.
Florida (5-17, 1-8) vs. Alabama (11-11, 3-6)
Exactech Arena at Stephen C. O’Connell Center | Gainesville, Fla.

  • Danielle Rainey finished with a career-high 20 points and tied a career high with seven made field goals. She finished 7-of-10 from the floor.
  • Rainey knocked down her first five field goals.
  • Delicia Washington finished with her third double-double of the season and 10th of her career. It was her first since Dec. 9 with FAMU.
  • Washington hauled in double-digit rebounds for the fifth time this season and for the first time since Dec. 16 at Ohio State.
  • UF’s 45 percent shooting from the floor was its best since shooting 46.9 percent vs. Utah on Dec. 20.
  • Florida finished with 14 assists on its 18 made field goals.
  • Florida finished with at least seven made three-pointers for the 14th time this season.

Head Coach Cameron Newbauer
 On the team’s performance…
 “I’m proud of the way we continue to fight. We went up against a really talented team on their home court and held our own. Despite our troubles with turnovers, I think there were a lot of positives to draw from on offense. We had 14 assists on 18 made field goals. We moved the ball and got the looks we wanted for the most part.”
On the impact Danielle Rainey and Delicia Washington had on the game…
“Individually Danielle (Rainey) and Delicia (Washington) played really well. I’m really proud of how aggressively Dani started the game and with how she played with determination on both ends. Delicia did a tremendous job on the glass and she had great poise out there.”
On what the team will take away from this game…
“Our complete 40 minute game is coming. There were some great times today where our offense was flowing and our defense was strong, and we had a couple lapses that set us back. We are going to use this as a learning experience and get better because of it.”
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