Clemson Awaits Gators in Super 16 of WNIT

Clemson (19-15, 7-11 ACC) vs. Florida (18-14, 5-11 SEC)
Game Information: 
March 23 | 7 p.m. ET
Live Stream: ACC Network Extra
Radio: 98.1FM/850AM WRUF
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
WNIT Info: Tournament Central
Game Notes: Media Center
CLEMSON, S.C. – Florida women’s basketball will continue their journey in the Women’s NIT on Thursday evening when they travel to Clemson, S.C., for a Super 16 matchup with the Tigers.
Thursday’s game will air live on ACC Network Extra at 7 p.m. ET, but Gators fans can listen on 98.1FM/850AM WRUF with Kyle Crooks and Brittany Davis on the call.
Florida and Clemson will meet for the fifth time in program history on Thursday, with Clemson leading the series, 3-1. The Tigers won the last meeting on Dec. 22, 1996, 52-50.
The Gators, led by a career-best 25 points from Nina Rickards, were dominant in the WNIT second round at Wake Forest, winning 80-63. Jordyn Merritt recorded 15 points with eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks. KK Deans ended with her second career double-double, tallying 13 points and 10 assists. UF forced Wake into 15 turnovers resulting in 10 steals.
KK Deans recorded her second-career double-double on Monday evening at Wake Forest, ending with 13 points while dishing out 10 assists. The 10 assists by Deans marked the most since Delicia Washington recorded 10 assists against Savannah State on Nov. 23, 2017.
After posting 21 wins last season and 18 wins (and counting) this season, Florida boasts the most victories over a two-season span since winning 42 games between the 2012-13 (22) season and 2013-14 (20) season.
Florida is making their ninth appearance in the WNIT, most recently advancing to the second round of the 2021 WNIT after defeating Charlotte, 66-55. The Gators would fall to Villanova in the second round, 77-57. Florida holds a 17-8 all-time mark, including a 7-1 mark in the opening round of the tournament, a 5-2 clip in the second round and 1-2 record in the Super Sixteen. Florida has twice appeared in the WNIT finals in 1985 (when it was known as the NWIT) and in 2000.
Nina Rickards became the 27th member of the Florida 1,000-point club after a layup with 6:56 remaining in the fourth quarter against Wofford. The senior helped the Gators to a 66-63 victory over Wofford with an 18-point performance on 9-of-15 shooting night.
With their selection to the WNIT, Florida has secured their third-consecutive postseason appearance after appearing in the 2021 Postseason WNIT and 2022 NCAA Tournament. Their selection marks the first time of qualifying for three-consecutive postseason tournaments since seven-straight postseason appearances from 2008-2014.
If the season were to end today, KK Deans’ season would go down as one of the best shooting performances in Florida history. The senior has connected on 37.2% of her attempts from three-point range, the fifth-best mark for an individual season in program history. It would also go down as the best individual season from long range by a senior in the Florida record book.
KK Deans is alone in 11th in Florida history for triples made in a single season at UF, as she currently has made 70 on the year, which is also the fifth-best by a senior. Alberte Rimdal is also looking at one of the best seasons for a sophomore, needing 49 total threes to mark the fifth-best output by a sophomore and she has currently knocked-down 46.
Florida women’s basketball is elite when it comes to getting to the free throw line, knocking down 14.78 per game which is fourth in the SEC and 28th in the nation. They average 20.50 attempts per game, sitting at fourth in the conference and 35th nationally.
Under the leadership of Kelly Rae Finley, Florida’s defense will always be a point of emphasis. Helping to prove that point, the Gators own a perfect 24-0 mark under Finely when holding opponents to 60 points or less.
Florida likes to get up and down the court on offense, currently holding the 46th-fastest pace in the NCAA with an average of 73.7 possessions per 40 minutes. That pace puts them at fourth-fastest in the SEC behind Arkansas (74.4), Auburn (74.5) and Kentucky (75.1).
With Florida’s 61-52 victory over Missouri, the Orange & Blue are guaranteed to end the 2022-23 season with a winning record. The win marked the first time since the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons that the Gators have recorded back-to-back seasons with winning records. Also, with 37 victories over the past two campaigns, Florida has tied their largest two-season win total since the 2016 and 2017 seasons.