No. 24 Tennessee Too Much for Gators

Box Score
 | Highlights | Game Recap 

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Hosting its second-straight AP Top 25 foe, the University of Florida women’s basketball team (11-7, 2-3) came up short in its matchup against the No. 24 Tennessee Lady Vols (14-3, 4-1), falling 78-50 Thursday evening inside Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
The tally on the scoreboard didn’t stop the Gators from diving on loose balls, taking charges and hustling for rebounds as they continued to scrap for a full 40 minutes. Florida finished with 15 offensive rebounds and was outrebounded by just four by a Lady Vol unit that entered that game +16.2 on the glass.
Knocking down a trio of three-pointers, rookie sharpshooter Brylee Bartram tied her career high with 11 points off the Gator bench. Bartram, draining multiple triples in a game for the eighth time this season, led Florida in scoring for the first time in her career.
Going up against the long and strong Tennessee Lady Vols, who have an average height of six-foot-two, the scrappy Gators hung tough but couldn’t match their firepower in the end. Lavender Briggs, finishing with 10 or more points for the 15th time this season, tallied 11 points and five rebounds.
Squaring off against its fifth AP Top 25 opponent and sixth team to qualify for last season’s NCAA Tournament, Florida couldn’t get past the Lady Vols, who have won six of their last seven games.
Redshirt-senior Zada Williams added nine points and drew five fouls as she battled against the rugged Tennessee front line.
Jacksonville native Rennia Davis paced the Lady Vols with 18 points, five rebounds and four steals.
Florida scored the first six points of the game and led 6-2 early on but Tennessee quickly turned things in its favor with a 15-3 run to close the quarter. The Lady Vols led 17-9 after the first as they made seven of their 16 shot attempts. Davis accounted for 10 points in just the first 10 minutes alone. Florida shot just 30.8 percent in the opening stanza and Williams had the hot hand early with five points.
Tennessee continued to add to its advantage with a 7-0 spurt to kickoff the second quarter, prompting a Gator timeout. UF trailed by as many as 20 in the frame but made up some ground late, trailing 40-24 heading into the half.
Florida outrebounded the Lady Vols 20-18 in the first half. For perspective, Tennessee has now outrebounded its opponent now in 15 of its 17 contests. The first-year guard Briggs had a team-high six points at the break.
After the Lady Vols opened the third quarter with an 8-0 run, Bartram snapped the scoreless spell with her first of three second half three-pointers. Florida’s offense stalled as it registered just nine points in the frame while Tennessee scored 16. The Tampa native Bartram, accounted for five of them.
The fourth quarter would be Florida’s best scoring session, as it recorded 17 and converted on six of its 17 tries. Bartram’s hot shooting continued on into the fourth as she knocked down a pair of treys for a total of six points.
Bartram’s 11 points were her most since notching the same figure against Longwood on Nov. 10.
The Gators are in the midst of a particularly challenging four-game stretch against teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25 (No. 14 Kentucky, No. 24 Tennessee, No. 12 Texas A&M and No. 23 Arkansas) and resume play Sunday, Jan. 19 when they travel to College Station to take on the Texas A&M Aggies.
Sunday, Jan. 19
Florida (11-7, 2-3) at No. 12 Texas A&M (14-3, 2-2)
Reed Arena | College Station, Texas
SEC Network

Head Coach Cam Newbauer
Opening Statement…
“The score does not say win, but I think this was a win for us tonight. We fought and battled and had some really bright moments. 15 offensive rebounds. We didn’t have a lot of shots go down at times. Tennessee had nine blocks and nine steals. They’re a team with a lot of size and a lot of athleticism. I thought we continued to fight and try to find ways to keep improving throughout the game. Brylee (Bartram) did a good job keeping her eyes on the rim and got some good looks and screens from her teammates. She knocked down when she had the opportunity to knock them down. Tennessee is a good team. That’s a top-20 team with unbelievable size and athleticism, as well as a number of players who can put points on the board really quick.”
On potential adjustments…
“Four of our five losses to ranked teams were ranked in the top-15, except for Tennessee, and Wake Forest was 3-1 in the ACC. So, six of our losses are against really good teams and Kansas is 11-3. We want to win those games and I think we’re getting better at learning how to do that. When you play a team with size like this today, some of those baskets would go in against normal teams with not an average size of 6’2″. Tennessee has one player under six feet. That has to be the biggest team in the country. I thought we did a good job at making adjustments and getting better as the game went on. That’s part of it, just improving every moment even when you’re not winning. That’s one thing you have to do. You have to learn how to have that fight when your back is up against a wall when most people don’t want to fight, they just want to stop playing. That’s why I’m proud of our team for continuing to fight and battle. To only get outrebounded by four to those guys and to get 15 offensive rebounds, those are just hustle plays that we made. We made second efforts to make things happen.”
On limiting turnovers…
“We have to get better in that area. That’s one area that has really been our Achilles heel, just getting sped up at times. There are some things we do at practice every day… We have a lot of young kids playing a lot of minutes. They don’t have a lot of experience against teams like (Tennessee). Part of that is you just have to go through it to experience it and learn it and to grow from it. That’s what we’re going to do.”
On the team’s upcoming matchup with Texas A&M…
“A&M is great. They have had the most prolific scorer in the country for the last three years. Defensively, you have to have all hands on deck and ready at all times because she can make unbelievable shots. They’re also a great defensive rebounding team. They’re going to guard you and they’re going to rebound so you have to be patient and disciplined with your offense. Instead of having 16 turnovers, you have to have 10 and get five or six more shots. Just being smart. Our turnovers can’t lead to points. You have to have dead ball turnovers if you’re going to give it up. We’ll come back in tomorrow, watch film, get together, and figure out the game plan for Sunday.”
No. 22 Brylee Bartram, Freshman Guard
On her success in the second half from three…
“I was keeping my eyes on the rim. My teammates did a good job of finding me, to get into the paint and finding me on the outside and to have some good balls reset for me too. Each time I would do whatever I can to help my team in that moment.”
On what battling through adversity says about the team’s character…
“It says a lot. We’re a team that plays together, and we’re a team that doesn’t give up. Win, loss—that doesn’t really matter, because we’re playing together and getting better every single day.”

  • Of Florida’s seven losses those teams have combined for a 95-24 record (.799 winning percentage).
  • Lavender Briggs (11) and Brylee Bartram (11) were UF’s lone double-figure scorers.
  • Bartram’s 11 points matched her career-high (last vs. Longwood, 11/10/19).
  • Bartram also matched her single-game high of three 3-pointers.
  • 18 of Florida’s 50 points came from the bench.
  • Florida tallied at least seven steals in a contest for the ninth game this season.
  • Florida falls to 4-53 all time against the Lady Vols.
  • The Lady Vols held Florida to 33.3 percent shooting (21-63) from the floor, including just 4-of-16 (25 percent) from behind the arc.

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