Gators Fall to Lady Volunteers in Knoxville

Florida women’s basketball dropped a tough battle on the road on Thursday evening, falling to Tennessee 74-56 in Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Gators (12-7, 1-5 SEC) were led offensively by KK Deans with 13 points to go along with four rebounds, while Alberte Rimdal added 10 points of her own and Ra Shaya Kyle secured a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. As a team, Florida shot 20-of-61 (32.8%) from the floor and 3-of-13 (23.1%) from deep. The Lady Volunteers (15-6, 7-0 SEC) ended their evening 29-of-75 (38.7%) and were held to just 4-of-21 (19%) from three-point range.
It was a close battle on the boards, with Tennessee ending at a 46-40 edge on the glass. Kyle’s 10 rebounds led Florida’s effort, while Deans, Leilani Correa and Nina Rickards each pulled-down four of their own.
Tennessee was led by Jordan Horston with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Rickea Jackson added 16 points and seven rebounds off the bench for the Lady Volunteers.
The Gators were aggressive early on, attacking the paint to take a 6-4 advantage thanks to a pair of line-drive layups from Rimdal. Their focus on getting into the paint led to a 12-10 lead at the first media timeout, helped by 6-of-10 shooting to start the game. A triple from Correa with 2:44 on the clock would help the Gators take a 15-12 lead into the second quarter.
Florida’s defensive intensity made the Lady Volunteers uncomfortable in the first quarter, holding their SEC foe to just 4-of-23 (17.4%) shooting and 1-of-8 (12.5%) from three-point range.
A quick 4-0 spurt from Tennessee to start the second period saw the home squad reclaim the lead, but Faith Dut, off of a pass from Myka Perry, gave the Gators the lead once again with a driving layup at the 7:18 mark. The Lady Vols again had an answer, utilizing a 9-0 run to gain an eight-point lead, 25-17, with 2:32 remaining in the half.
Following the run from Tennessee, Deans took over for the Gators to keep the Orange & Blue within striking distance. The senior scored the final eight points of the half for Florida, but the Lady Vols took the 31-25 edge into the break after holding UF to 4-of-13 (30.8%) shooting in the second frame.
It was a back-and-forth affair to begin the third quarter with Deans cutting the lead to three points following an and-one attempt on the offensive end. The Lady Volunteers dialed up their intensity after the made free throw, jumping out to a 12-point lead, 42-30, by way of a 9-0 run. Their run kickstarted a strong offensive quarter, helping UT to a 57-41 lead with 10 minutes remaining before taking the game, 74-56.
Up Next
The Gators return home for a Sunday afternoon matchup with Vanderbilt at 2 p.m. ET. The game will air live on SEC Network+.
Head Coach Kelly Rae Finley
On Thursday’s game with Tennessee…
“What a special night for the ‘We Back Pat’ night, I thought there was a great turnout. I thought we competed and that’s what we do every night. We compete hard. Our third quarter defense just wasn’t good enough, and kind of our m.o. right now is playing three really hard, solid quarters. Today it wasn’t necessarily the fourth quarter, you know, Tennessee’s scoring, but they’re a very talented team. They work hard and are playing better and better together, but it was definitely a great atmosphere thanks to all the fans.”