Nakkasoglu Notches 2,000th Point, Gators End Regular Season on High Note with Win at Vandy

Behind 23 points from redshirt-senior guard Funda Nakkasoglu, the University of Florida women’s basketball team ended its 2018-19 regular season on a high note, earning a 78-66 victory over Vanderbilt Sunday afternoon in the Music City.

Nakkasoglu eclipsed the 2,000 career point mark when knocked down a pair of free throws at the 6:59 mark of the third quarter, becoming just one of 20 active players with 2,000 or more points.

The sharpshooter’s final regular season contest was a memorable one, as she scored 18 points in the third quarter, outscoring the entire Vanderbilt team and helping spur a crucial Gator run.

Nakkasoglu, Delicia Washington and Kiki Smith all finished in double figures as the Gators pulled ahead during a pivotal third quarter stretch, and never looked back as they defeated Vanderbilt for the fourth straight time.

Florida put together its best shooting game of the season, shooting 49.2 percent as a collective and outscored the Commodores 47-35 in the second half.

Washington came through in a big way for Florida, scoring 20 points and nabbing 12 rebounds as she finished with her fifth double double of the season. The junior guard turned in a perfect 6-of-6 performance from the charity stripe as she helped ice the game late with clutch free throws.

Smith helped initiate the Gator offense, registering a career-high eight assists to go with 10 points and just two turnovers in 40 minutes. 

The teams were deadlocked at 31-31 at the break, but the Gators pulled away by winning the third quarter, 24-17 thanks to an incredible scoring stretch from Nakkasoglu.

UF shot 52 percent in the second half and buried seven triples after not making a trey in the first.

Ariel Johnson added eight points off the Gator bench and connected for two 3-pointers during Florida’s second half run.

Florida led 14-13 after the first quarter as it knocked down seven of its first 17 shots to open the game.

Vanderbilt made its first five shot attempts to kickoff the second quarter and built a 25-19 lead midway through the frame. Facing an early deficit, Washington took charge for Florida, scoring eight straight points to tie the game up at 27-27. The Gators finished the first half on a 10-4 scoring run.

UF concluded the first 20 minutes shooting 43 percent but went without a three-point make in a first half for just the second time this season. The Gators made their living scoring from close range, scoring 22 of their 31 points in the painted area.

While points in the paint were the story of the first half, three-point shooting loomed large in half two for UF.

Nakkasoglu erupted for 10 points in the first five minutes of the third quarter and finished the stanza with 18 points in all. The redshirt-senior was a perfect 4-of-4 from three-point range and made six field goals in the stanza. She scored 18 of Florida’s 24 third quarter points.

Vandy opened the second half with a 5-0 scoring run and led 36-31, but Florida quickly countered with a 9-2 scoring to grab a 40-38 lead. Florida wouldn’t relinquish its lead after Johnson’s timely layup and and outscored the Commodores 24-7 over a stretch in the period to build a double-digit lead.

The Commodores scored five in a row to end the third quarter and Florida carried a 55-48 lead into the fourth.

Vanderbilt’s run spilled into the fourth as Jordyn Cambridge canned a three-pointer to cut the Florida lead to just five at 55-50 after it had built a lead as large as 14 in the third. After turning it over on the ensuing possession, Johnson answered with a clutch three to put the Gators back up eight. This is as close as Vanderbilt would come the rest of the way as Washington thwarted VU’s comeback bid with 10 fourth quarter tallies.

Chelsie Hall led Vanderbilt with 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor.

With the win Florida has secured the No. 13 seed and will draw No. 12 Ole Miss in the opening round of the SEC Tournament on Wednesday, March 6.

Up Next
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
11 a.m. ET
No. 13 Florida (7-22, 3-13) vs. No. 12 Ole Miss (9-21, 3-13)
Bon Secours Wellness Arena | Greenville, SC
Full SEC Tournament Bracket


  • Nakkasoglu eclipsed the 2,000 career point mark when knocked down a pair of free throws at the 6:59 mark of the third quarter, becoming just one of 20 active players with 2,000 or more points.
  • Nakksaoglu added 18 points in the third quarter, the most of any Gator in a single quarter this season.
  • Nakkasoglu has finished with 20 or more points 12 times this season and 46 times in her career.
  • Washington added her fifth double double of the season and finished with 20 or more points for the first time since scoring 22 at Indiana on Nov. 21.
  • Washington and Smith both collected three steals. 
  • Smith dished out a career-high eight assists, the most of any Gator this season, and did so with just two turnovers.
  • Smith added 10 points, her eighth time in double figures during league action.
  • Florida finished the game shooting 49.2 percent as a team, a season best. 
  • Through 29 games, Florida has drained 225 three-pointers which is the second-most in program history. The Gators have 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. UF set the program record with 249 a season ago.
  • The Gators finished without a first half three-pointer for just the second time this season.
  • Sunday marked Florida’s first road win of the season and its first since Jan. 18, 2018 at Arkansas.
  • Florida won its fourth straight game vs. Vanderbilt, its longest winning streak against an SEC foe.


Head Coach Cam Newbauer
Overall thoughts on the game…
 “I’m so proud of this group for staying the course and continuing to fight. I really can’t say enough about Funda. For her to do what she did in the second half truly is a testament to who she is as a person. She is a tireless worker and someone who never backs down. We all know she’s capable of shooting like this and I’m just so proud of the way she played in tough gym. This was one of our best offensive performances of the year. The way Delicia played was pivotal for us. We stress playing aggressively on offense and she definitely did that. She showed a lot of fight and I was really impressed with her impact on the glass. Kiki found open shooters all game and was great defensively for us. The goal is always to play your best ball in March and I think today showed me a lot.”

On Funda Nakkasoglu scoring her 2,000 career point…
 “Funda has been such an impactful player for this program. In a short period of time, she’s helped us not only with her tremendous play on the court but she’s been such a special leader for the team. I’m so proud and happy for her. This is quite an achievement and will be something she will never forget. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”

Redshirt-senior Funda Nakkasoglu
On her play in the second half…
“I think my teammates just found me, especially in transition in the second half. They were falling in the second half and I thought, why not try my luck and luckily they went in. It was just a team effort. We just ran through our plays and knew that it is daunting on the defense to have to guard for a long time so we really tried to do this in the second.”

On getting her 2,000 career point…
 “I just really really wanted the win. We just really wanted this win so bad going into the SEC Tournament and we knew it would really bring us a lot of confidence. When I got that, of course it was like ‘ah that’s nice to know’, but we need to finish this out.”

On what the win means for the team going into the SEC Tournament…
“It just builds momentum and confidence. We saw that we can put it in and focus for 40 minutes which is what we have been trying to practice and do for so long now. Just knowing that, we can bring that into our next game.” It’s 0-0 now, it’s March. They say that you should play your best basketball in March. We and praying and hoping that everything goes right and we can go as far as we can.”

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