Gators Host No. 22 Arkansas for Senior Sendoff

After consecutive contests on the road, the University of Florida women’s basketball team returns home to Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center to host No. 22 Arkansas Sunday afternoon. Tipoff is slated for 4 p.m. ET as Florida’s two seniors, Paige Robinson and Zada Williams, will be honored in a pre-game ceremony as part of the team’s Senior Sendoff. Sunday also marks the program’s annual Play4Kay game and the Gators will wear their special pink uniforms in support of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. 

Date:Sunday, Feb. 23
Time:4 p.m. ET
Matchup:Florida (14-12, 5-8) vs. No. 22 Arkansas (21-5, 9-4)
Location:Gainesville, Fla. | Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell
TV:SEC Network with Sam Gore and Kelsey Plum
Live Stats: Here
Radio:WRUF ESPN 98.1 FM/850 AM  with Kyle Crooks & Brittany Davis
Game Notes:Florida
Promotions:Senior Sendoff
Final Sunday Sundaes of the season
Junior Dazzlers
Stay in the Game Junior

The Gators took the court Thursday at Alabama and despite holding a six point advantage in the fourth quarter were unable to hold on, falling 69-62 in Tuscaloosa. Florida saw Lavender Briggs register another impressive performance with a game-high 21 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Crimson Tide would pull away by utilizing an 8-0 run after the score was knotted at 58-58 midway through the fourth. Florida made six of its 16 three-point shots but struggled to convert in the paint and the charity stripe. The Gators looked poised to collect their third-straight SEC road win, something they haven’t done in quite some time, but will look to rebound when they host Arkansas as just three regular season games remain until the season-culminating conference tournament in Greenville.
After leading 57-53 with under five minutes to play, Florida sustained its first loss when leading with under five minutes to go (11-1).
Briggs, who was tabbed SEC Freshman of the Week on Tuesday, Feb. 18, continues to act as UF’s primary offensive catalyst as she averages a team-best 14.6 points per game. Briggs is the second-highest scoring freshmen in the SEC and 22 times has finished with at least 10 points. Kiki Smith, who notched 11 at Alabama, and Zada Williams, who at .616 converts field goals at an extremely efficient rate, also average double figure scoring for the Gators.
Williams is averaging 12.0 points and 9.8 rebounds on .647 shooting over last five games, notching three double-doubles during that span.
When the Gators take the court against the No. 22 Razorbacks they will battle their ninth AP Top 25 foe, their most in a regular season since the 2001-02 campaign.
Florida holds a 28-11 edge in the 39 all-time meetings between the programs. Florida had won five-straight in the series but the Razorbacks have claimed the past two matchups, both by double figures.
The Gators and Razorbacks met back on Jan. 26 in Fayetteville as then No. 21 Arkansas pulled away late, posting a 79-57 victory. Arkansas outscored Florida 25-10 in the fourth and the Gators came up short despite 17 points from Briggs.
Florida’s .718 winning percentage against Arkansas is its best against any SEC program. The series began back in Gainesville in January of 1992.
No. 22 Arkansas enters the matchup with a 21-5 record which includes a 9-4 mark in league play. One of five SEC squads in the AP Top 25, Arkansas is locked in a three-way tie for third place in the league standings. The Razorbacks’ 85.0 points per game paces the conference and ranks third nationally. Arkansas, which has won six of seven since taking on Florida on Jan. 26, features a potent three-pronged scoring attack paced by Preseason All-SEC First Team selection, Chelsie Dungee. The Oklahoma transfer Dungee leads the way at 18.0 points per game while Alexis Tolefree (16.1) and Amber Ramirez (15.0) also make significant contributions offensively. The TCU transfer, Ramirez, has drained 83 three-pointers this season, a figure that ranks her top five nationally. The conference’s highest-powered offense ranks top 10 nationally in scoring offense, scoring margin (+19.8), three-point field goals per game (9.8), three-point field goal percentage (38.8), three-point field goal percentage defense (24.5), and free throw attempts (563).
Mike Neighbors, the former Washington head coach and Arkansas alum, is in his third season with the program. Neighbors has over 150 victories over his seven-plus year career as a head coach.

Each remaining matchup looms large for the Gators as they enter the game in a three-way tie for eighth place with Alabama and Georgia at 5-8.
Following Florida’s matchup with No. 22 Arkansas, the Gators host their home finale Thursday, Feb. 27 when they welcome No. 1 South Carolina. So long as the Gamecocks retain their No. 1 ranking, it will be Florida’s first game against an AP No. 1 team since Jan. 19, 2015 when it played No. 1 South Carolina on the road. The matchup would be the first time Florida has hosted the No. 1 team since it took on No. 1 Tennessee in Gainesville on Jan. 10, 1998.

  • Florida’s two seniors, Zada Williams and Paige Robinson, will be honored during a pre-game ceremony as part of the team’s senior sendoff. While Sunday won’t be the team’s final home game, as is tradition for some senior days, the Gators host theirs this Sunday for ease of travel plans.
  • Sunday, the Gators don their pink jerseys as part of the Play4Kay cancer awareness initiative. A season ago, Florida wore its pink jerseys just once in a matchup with South Carolina on Feb. 17.
  • UF leads the SEC in games played by underclassmen (167) and is second in games started (77). True freshmen and sophomores account for 63 percent of its offense.
  • With 365 points, Briggs ranks 8th in program history in freshmen scoring.
  • Only six players in program history have shot above 60 percent from the floor for an entire season (minimum 50 made field goals). At 61.8 percent, Williams is on track to do so.
  • Nina Rickards is shooting a team-best 43.3 percent from three-point range during SEC play; in non-conference Rickards shot just 27.8 percent.
  • Sophomore guard Ariel Johnson has 7 or more points in consecutive games and it is her first time doing so since Jan. 5 and Jan. 9.

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