Cold Shooting too Much for Gators to Overcome Against Bulldogs

Florida women’s basketball was unable to overcome a cold shooting night, falling to Mississippi State on Thursday evening, 73-56, inside Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
KK Deans led the Gators (14-10, 3-8 SEC) with 17 points and was the lone Florida athlete to cross the double-figures threshold. As a team, Florida shot 19-of-59 (32.2%) from the floor and 6-of-24 (25.0%) from three-point range.
Mississippi State (17-7, 6-5 SEC) ended their evening shooting 30-of-64 (46.9%) from the field and 9-of-18 (50%) from deep. The Bulldogs were led by Jerkaila Jordan with 20 points and nine rebounds.
Defensively, the Gators recorded nine steals and five blocks, led by Deans’ three steals and a pair of rejections from Faith Dut. Mississippi State tallied 13 turnovers on the night, resulting in eight points on the offensive end for the Orange & Blue.
On the glass, the Bulldogs held control with a 46-31 advantage, including a 14-10 offensive rebounding edge. Ra Shaya Kyle pulled-down a team-best seven rebounds for UF, while Leilani Correa and Nina Rickards each grabbed six of their own.  
Despite a 3-for-10 offensive start to the night, the Gators were able to hold an 8-6 advantage at the opening media timeout behind five forced turnovers and a triple from Correa at the 5:47 mark. The squads fought to a near stalemate, 13-12, in favor of the Bulldogs with under three minutes on the clock before a 7-0 run extended Mississippi State’s lead to 20-12 with 13 second remaining. Alberte Rimdal drained a triple as time expired to bring the Gators within five at the end of one.
Defense reigned to start the second frame, with neither team finding the basket until an MSU bucket at the 6:59 mark. The Bulldogs held a 31-17 lead late into the quarter before Rickards converted a corner three to make it 31-20, where the score would remain heading into halftime.
Trailing by 15 with 4:40 remaining in the third, Florida got a much-needed spark from Jordyn Merritt who stepped-up and drilled a triple from the left wing to pull within 12. The next time down the floor, freshman Myka Perry connected on a step-back jumper to close the gap to 10, 42-32, with 3:36 left. A 6-0 run from the opposition to end the quarter gave Mississippi State a 48-32 lead with 10 minutes left to play before taking the 73-56 victory.
Up Next
The Gators now head to Athens, Ga., for their second matchup of the season with the Georgia Bulldogs. Tip is slated for 1 p.m. ET and the game will air live on SEC Network.
Head Coach Kelly Rae Finley
On Thursday’s game…
“Obviously I think it’s kind of becoming the same story, and what I just told our staff is it’s our responsibility to set our team up for success. As leaders and people who are in charge of putting us in a positive position, it’s really important that we reflect and look at what we’re doing, especially in the second quarter. I’d say that’s probably about four or five second quarters in a row where we haven’t shot the ball as well as we had wanted to and we’re really at a place where our student athletes are working tremendously hard and I’m really proud of how they’ve come together when they aren’t getting the results that they want. I think everybody’s been around teams where that’s not the case, and so the feel is very, very different. We talk about that, that we have choices as individuals and we have choices as a team as to how we speak, how we treat each other, and what we listen to because our long-term vision is very clear. We’re really bought into that, though were not getting the results that we want right now. It can be really disheartening. They’re putting in a lot of effort and a lot of intention in working one on one with coaches in terms of the skill work, and then in practice we stat all our practices just like most teams do, and we’re shooting a very high percentage. So just really examining why that’s not translating to the game and what we can do to ensure that we can make that change before the end of the season comes.” 
On what she said to the team after the game…
“I just told them that I know they’re disappointed, I know we all are. Like I said, we aren’t getting the results that we want. But that we have the choice to stick together and that’s what we’re doing, that’s what we’ve done all season. They need to show up tomorrow, but tonight, first, they need to get treatment, they need to rest, they need to clear their minds, they need to work on their school work. Then tomorrow when we get together we’re going to watch some film, we’re going to learn. Tonight, in the game, we were really trying to learn from what we saw and make adjustments when we made substitutions and not go in and mimic mistakes. I know it sounds remedial, I know it sounds very basic, but we just talked about tomorrow. We’ll come back, we’ll watch film, and we’re going to improve.”