Gators Show Out in Show Me State

Paced by freshman sharpshooter Brlyee Bartram’s career-high 18 points, the University of Florida women’s basketball team downed Missouri 75-67 Sunday afternoon as it won in Columbia for the first time in program history.
Bartram drained a career-best six three-pointers and helped propel UF to its second-straight Southeastern Conference win. Florida’s long-range shooting was the story as it connected for 12 three-pointers in the matchup, registering a new season high on the road.
Paired with Florida’s effective three-point shooting was the play of redshirt senior Zada Williams. The Florida native posted 15 points and 12 rebounds, notching her sixth double-double of the campaign and her third in the last four games. Standout Lavender Briggs, scoring 15 or more points for the 13th time this season, tallied 18 and six rebounds as her steady play allowed UF to lead for 37 minutes in the game and by as many as 19.
Offense came from up and down the UF lineup as eight different players scored. Florida won the battle of the boards 40-30 and its bench outscored MU’s, 29-14.
This is the latest the latest in the season the Gators, who collected their fifth conference victory, have won consecutive conference games since Feb. of 2016.
Sophomore guard Ariel Johnson chipped in with seven points and three assists off the bench.
With SEC Tournament positioning up for grabs, Florida cashed in to improve its place in the standings. 
With 14 wins and five SEC victories, UF has already surpassed its win total from each of the last two seasons. The Gators have their most conference wins in four years and with three SEC road wins, Florida has its most in three seasons.
Florida, which leads the SEC in games played by underclassmen, saw freshmen and sophomores combine for 54 points.
In the stretch run of conference play, Florida set the tone early and led 36-29 at the half.
After Bartram banked in a three from the wing, Florida led 9-7 at the first quarter media timeout. UF started four of nine from the floor with each field goal coming from a different Gator. Florida made its first three shots out of the timeout, two of which came courtesy of Bartram, who drilled three’s on back-to-back possessions.
Florida employed 13-0 run and it led 19-7 after making five of six during a stretch. Mizzou answered right back with an 8-0 surge after just over a minute went by and Florida’s lead shrunk to 19-15 at the first quarter break. Florida shot an even 50 percent from the floor in the first quarter while Mizzou wasn’t far behind at 45.5.
The Tigers’ run surged into the second and to 11-0 after Hayley Frank knocked down a three from the top of the key to open the second quarter. MU grabbed a 20-19 lead early in the second. Florida then drained treys on consecutive possessions to retake the lead at 25-20. A three from Kiki Smith put Florida ahead 28-20 and prompted a Tiger timeout with 5:05 to play in the second.
At the halftime break, Florida possessed a 36-29 lead. UF converted seven of 19 from beyond the arch, totaling more three’s than it had in the previous two entire games combined. Bartram led all scorers with 12 points at the intermission, eclipsing her career high in just 20 minutes of action. Seven different Gators scored as Briggs checked in with nine. Florida held a 23-17 edge on the glass and led for over 17 minutes.
Florida grew its lead to 12 early in the third at 44-32 after Mizzou endured a three minute scoreless drought. The pace slowed down as Missouri’s drought without a field goal extended to over five minutes. Williams provided UF’s main source of offense, scoring seven in the frame. The Gators lead swelled to 52-36 after Williams knocked down three out of four from the free throw line.
The Gators’ lead stood at 54-38 heading into the final period after they outscored Mizzou 18-9 in third stanza.
UF extended its advantage to 19 at a point in the fourth, after Bartram ignited the offense with two more triples. Missouri fought back and trimmed the Florida lead to 69-59 with 1:28 to play as Florida went without a field goal for nearly three minutes. Mizzou got within single digits at 71-63 with under a minute to play, but Florida would make the plays down the stretch to stave off the Tiger comeback.

Florida held Missouri to just 38 points through three quarters but saw Missouri tally 29 in the fourth quarter.
Smith finished with five points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

A matchup that featured two of the top scoring rookies in the Southeastern Conference, Briggs and Mizzou’s Aijha Blackwell, each rookie scored over 18 points.
Blackwell led all scorers with 20 and knocked down seven free throws.
The Gators close out their two-game road swing Thursday, Feb. 20 with a matchup at Alabama.
Thursday, Feb. 20
Florida (14-11, 5-7) at Alabama (14-11, 4-8)
Coleman Coliseum | Tuscaloosa, Ala.

  • Sunday marked Florida’s first-ever win at Missouri (1-5).
  • With three SEC road wins, Florida has its most in three seasons.
  • Brylee Bartram scored a career-best 18 points.
  • Zada Williams added her sixth double-double and third in last four games.
  • Bartram knocked down multiple three’s for the 11th time this season.
  • UF has outrebounded its opponent in 15 games and is 13-2 when doing so.
  • Lavender Briggs has scored in double figures in 21 of 24 games this season.
  • Florida drained 12 three-pointers, its most in a road game this season.
  • UF had 12 second chance points compared to Missouri’s 1.

Head Coach Cam Newbauer
Overall thoughts…
“We didn’t close out as well as we should have, but I know we will learn from this and it will make us better as we go forward. I’m really proud of our group and how they came out so aggressive from the beginning of the game. The team continues to come together and play as one and I’m very happy with the fight and focus we showed. I didn’t like how we closed it out, they scored 26 points in the last six and a half minutes. I think we had some careless turnovers there but I’m fully confident we will learn from it. Brylee Bartram going six of 11 from three, Zada Williams playing really well and strong and Lavender Briggs staying aggressive and playing so well. No matter how you slice it, a road win is a road win. There are plenty of areas we can improve on but I’m grateful to get a road win.”

On responding to Missouri’s runs with big runs of their own.
“We stayed focus and never lost sight of the next play. We kept working for the best shot, and we didn’t always take the best shot but we learned from it, shared the ball and tried to get good possessions. Defensively we had a really good day for the majority of the game until late.”

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