Gators Win 22nd-Consecutive Home Nonconference Game

Florida women’s basketball secured it’s 22nd-consecutive home nonconference win on Sunday with a 79-55 defeat of UNC Greensboro, marking the longest home nonconference winning streak in school history.
The Gators (11-1, 0-0 SEC), who haven’t lost a home nonconference matchup since Nov. 26, 2019, were led by Ra Shaya Kyle who recorded her fourth-career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Nina Rickards also ended with her fourth-career double-double, tallying 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Alberte Rimdal led all scorers with a career-best 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting. KK Deans also added 10 points to cross the double-figures threshold.
The Gators shot an impressive 33-of-62 (53.2%) from the field, which was greatly helped by a 52-34 advantage on points in the paint, while holding UNC Greensboro (5-7, 0-0 SoCon) to 19-of-57 (33.3) shooting from the floor and 2-of-13 (15.4%) from deep. Seventeen of Florida’s 33 makes were assisted on, led by Deans’ seven.
It was a dominant effort from the Orange & Blue on the glass, as UF held a 44-32 advantage, including 14 offensive boards. Kyle’s and Rickards’ 11 and 10 rebounds, respectively, led the way.
Defensively, Florida forced 14 turnovers that resulted in seven steals with Faith Dut swiping a season-best three. Kyle also made her presence known in the lane, rejecting a career-best three shots. The Spartans were led by Khalis Cain with 12 points and eight rebounds.  
Right from the tip, Florida’s size bothered the Spartans as Kyle established herself inside with a rejection of Cain. Her defense sparked the beginning of a 12-0 run to begin the quarter, with four of those coming from Taliyah Wyche in the paint.
Sunday’s first quarter marked the second-best defensive quarter in school history, only allowing one point in a dominant 16-1 effort. Six different Gators found the bottom of the net in the opening period, while Greensboro ended the first period 0-of-17 from the field.
The Spartans’ first field goal came at the 9:34 mark of the second quarter, and the opposition even managed to pull back within 11 at 20-9 with 6:31 left in the quarter. Three-straight layups from Rickards, Kyle and Rimdal quickly extended Florida’s lead back to 15 at 26-11, however. The Spartans wouldn’t go away, once again closing the gap to eight with 1:12 on the clock before the Orange & Blue took a 30-20 lead into the second half.
The Gators came out in the second half with a fire lit, opening on a 9-0 run to force a UNCG timeout. The outburst was capped-off by a fast break layup by Kyle by way of a full-court pass from Deans with 7:38 showing on the scoreboard, giving UF a 39-20 advantage.
Florida’s second half-opening run proved too much for the Spartans to overcome, as the opposition wouldn’t get back within 11 points en route to a 79-55 victory for the Gators.
Up Next
The Gators head to Charlotte, N.C., for the Jumpman Invitational on Wednesday, Dec. 21, where they’ll meet No. 24/20 Oklahoma at 9:30 p.m. ET. The game will air live on ESPN2 from the Spectrum Center.
Head Coach Kelly Rae Finley
On the quick start in the first quarter…
“Our team did that. That’s not something that you prepare for as a coach. They prepared hard all week, it was nice to see. We actually had a couple days off. Our nonconference schedule has been difficult and I think that you could see the freshness in their legs. As a coach, sometimes you get a little worried or concerned coming off of finals week, that we might not be in playing shape or might be a little off in our movement and how we move together offensively and defensively. I don’t think that was the case for us and that’s a testament to our student-athletes. Our team is really locked-in, they’re focused, they’re bought into each other, they’re bought into the coaching staff and it makes it really fun to play that way. I wasn’t surprised by the start, I thought they had tremendous energy before the game and were really focused and knew the importance of winning this game.”
On the inside-out approach on Sunday…
“I think we’ve been shooting the three fairly well this season and every game we have to look at where our advantages are. It’s something Shay (Kyle) and I have talked about a lot. Not every game is going to be the same exact game plan. We’re going to be who we are regardless, but we’re going to search, as a staff, where our advantage is and how we can capitalize on that.”
Junior Center Ra Shaya Kyle
On her second double-double of the season…
“I think I had that confidence coming in, but my teammates also did a really good job with helping me at that because, for a couple games back, I haven’t been playing to my full potential, but Kelly and my team have done a great job at helping prepare me for that.”
On four Gators scoring in double-figures…
“We do a great job of sharing the ball and we want to get everybody involved. We’re always looking for everybody, we don’t have a selfish team.”
– Florida now leads the all-time series with UNC Greensboro, 1-0.
– Kyle and Rickards each recorded their fourth-career double-doubles.
– Rimdal matched a career-high with 19 points.
– Kyle also matched a career-best effort with three blocks.
– Seven assists from Deans was a career-high for the senior.
– The first quarter marked the second-best defensive quarter in Florida history, holding UNC Greensboro to just one point. It also marked the second time in school history UF didn’t allow a field goal in a quarter. The best quarter came on Nov. 25, 2015, when Savannah State didn’t score in the second quarter and ended 0-of-14 from the field.
– With the victory, Florida has earned a school-record 22-consecutive nonconference home victories with their last home non-con loss coming on Nov. 26, 2019.
– The Gators improve to 11-1, the best start since the 2015-16 campaign when they started 12-1.
– Florida has also won nine in-a-row for the first time since the 2015-16 when UF won 12 straight from Nov. 16-Dec. 30, 2015.
– The Gators now boast 799 wins as a program, just one away from becoming the 13th SEC school to boast 800.
– After holding the Spartans to 55 points, the Orange & Blue improves to 20-0 under Kelly Rae Finley when holding opponents to 60 points or less.
– With 10 points, KK Deans continues to shrink the gap on claiming her 1,000th point, currently sitting at 948.