Gators Take Down Tigers to Improve to 2-1 in SEC Play

Box Score
 | Highlights Postgame Interview 

AUBURN, Ala. – The University of Florida women’s basketball team (11-5, 2-1) picked up its second-straight conference victory as it cruised to an 83-63 win on the road at Auburn (6-8, 0-3) Thursday night.

With the victory, Florida has opened SEC play 2-1 for the first time since the 2015-16 season and at 11-5 is off to its best start since that same campaign.

Scoring in double figures for the 14th-straight game, Florida freshman Lavender Briggs paced the Gators with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor. Briggs’ double-figure scoring streak is the longest in program history since the 2000-01 season when Vanessa Hayden scored in double figures in 21-straight games.

Going up against one of the league’s trickier defenses in Auburn’s pesky full-court press, Florida’s offense clicked on all cylinders. The Gators shot a season-high 61.5 percent from the floor including a dazzling 58.8 percent mark from beyond the arc.
Kiki Smith, finishing with 10 or more points for the 12th time this season, scored 15 while Nina Rickards, who had just 12 points in her last six games, registered 13. Ariel Johnson rounded out UF’s quartet of double-figure scorers with 10 as she finished in double figures for the third time in four games.

Thursday’s win snapped a three-game losing streak for Florida against the Tigers and it was its first victory at Auburn since 2015.

Scoring 80 points for the third time this season, Florida outscored the Tigers 42-22 in terms of points in the paint and saw seven players score six or more points. The Gators poured in 10 three-pointers, their second-most in a game this year.
Florida brought its own energy to Auburn Arena as it led for over 37 minutes and by as many as 24 in the contest.

Florida’s lead guard Smith not only turned in an impressive performance on offense, she also collected a career-high five steals.

Rickards scored Florida’s first five points of the game and the Gators led 10-7 at the first media timeout. Florida knocked down its first two 3-pointers and assisted on three of its first four field goals.

Out of the media timeout, the Gators rattled off nine-straight points, provoking a Tiger timeout. The Gators were ahead 21-12 after strong shooting in the first. Florida connected on 66.7 percent of its shots in the opening frame, its best shooting first quarter of the season. Rickards finished with eight in the period and Florida converted on four of its first five tries from deep.

The Tigers cut into the lead early in the second, but the Gators responded with a run of their own and led 32-21 at the second quarter media timeout. The Tigers made seven of nine shots in a stretch and sliced the lead back down to five with under three minutes to play. After the resurgence from the Tigers, Florida made its final four shots of the half and carried a 42-31 lead into the intermission.

Florida made 16 of its 26 shots in the first 20 minutes and registered a season-best 62.5 percent shooting percentage. Smith, Briggs and Rickards were all in double figures by half.

The three-headed monster of Smith, Briggs and Rickards combined to shoot 11-of-15 from the floor. Auburn’s All-SEC talent, Unique Thompson, had zero points and two rebounds at the break in play.

The Gators utilized a 13-0 run to open the half and after connecting on seven of their first nine shots in the third quarter, their lead ballooned to 20 points. The Gators led 60-40 at the under-five media timeout and their lead wouldn’t shrink below 16 from this point forward.

Florida’s lead stood at 64-46 heading into the fourth. The Gators’ excellent offense spilled over into the third quarter as it knocked down nine of its 14 shots including three treys. Smith and Briggs scored five points apiece in the stanza.  
In the fourth, Florida outscored Auburn 19-17 as it put the finishing touches on another conference win.

Coming off a momentous win over Vanderbilt in their conference home opener Sunday, the Gators kept things rolling and nabbed their third road win of the campaign.

Thompson finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds as she notched her league-best 13th double-double. Brooke Moore led Auburn with 14 points.

Zada Williams added eight points and four rebounds for the Gators.

Florida’s freshmen class combined for 38 points and eight 3-pointers.

Sunday, Jan. 12 | Noon ET
Florida (11-5, 2-1) vs. No. 14 Kentucky (12-2, 1-1)
Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center | Gainesville, Fla.

Head Coach Cam Newbauer
Overall thoughts on the game…

“We did a good job of being aggressive in the first half and shot it really really well. It was crazy too because we had five offensive rebounds on only seven missed shots. Defensively, I think we did a really good job. You know Unique Thompson finished with a double-double but didn’t have that for much of the game, a lot of that was in the fourth quarter. Our forwards did a really good job in there, it was a great team defensive effort you know making other people shoot the ball. We will take a road win any way we can get it and I wish we could shoot that well every game.”

“Our ladies did a great job of staying focused and making it about us on the road. I think we did a great job of just fighting and competing and staying locked in one possession at a time.”

“We are just playing one possession at a time and not really thinking about anything other than trying to be the best version of ourselves. We are just trying to compete and be the best team we can, day in and day out.”


  • With the victory, Florida has opened SEC play 2-1 for the first time since the 2015-16 season and at 11-5 is off to its best start since that same season.
  • Florida shot a season-best 61.5 percent from the floor and knocked down double-digit three-pointers for the third time this season.
  • Briggs’ double-figure scoring streak is the longest since UF’s Vanessa Hayden scored in double figures in 21-straight games in the 2001-02 season.
  • UF’s 83 points were its second most of the season.
  • Florida has held 11 of its 16 opponents this season under their scoring average entering the game.
  • Florida improves to 10-1 when outrebounding its opponent.
  • Florida improves to 10-1 when leading at the half.
  • Florida’s 62.5 shooting percentage in the opening half was its best this season.
  • The Tigers were without their second-leading scorer, Daisa Alexander (13.9 points per game), who missed the game with an ankle injury.
  • Florida’s 42 first half points were its fourth-most this season.
  • Smith has scored in double-figures in fifth-straight games and 13 times overall this season.

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