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Recap: Florida Women’s Basketball Knocks off Arkansas 57-53

The Florida women’s basketball held on late to knock off Arkansas 57-53, earning the Gators their first home SEC victory of the season. The Gators are now 12-12 on the season and 3-8 in SEC play. Arkansas, meanwhile, drops to 13-11 overall and 2-9 in conference action.

Who Stood Out

Ronni Williams led the way for the Gators, putting up 15 points and 12 rebounds on her way to another double-double. Haley Lorenzen pitched in as a second scoring option just as she’s done for a large part of the season. She added 14 points, including four of Florida’s first six points, and a huge put back in the late stages of the close game. In addition to those two, Sydney Morang tied her career-high with 12 points, going 4-8 from beyond the arc. Dyandria Anderson did a little of everything for Florida, grabbing four steals to go along seven assists, six points, and seven rebounds.

For Arkansas, senior Jessica Jackson led all Razorback scorers with 17 points, but the Gators limited her to just 6-16 shooting. Jailyn Mason and Devin Cosper were the other Razorbacks to reach double digits, scoring 13 points and 10 points respectively.

First Half

It’s safe to say the opening minutes of the game were a defensive struggle. With 2:45 left to go in the first quarter, the Gators led 6-2. They held Arkansas to just two field goals the entire quarter, limiting them to just 13.3% shooting.

Florida went on a 10-3 run to close the quarter, sparked by two Morang three-pointers, including one right before the buzzer. The Gators entered the second quarter with a 16-5 lead.

The strong defensive play continued in the second quarter, but Arkansas was able to come back late. Three steals in the last 65 seconds led directly to six Arkansas points, as they closed out the half on an 8-2 run.

In a sloppy half, the teams combined for 26 turnovers. Florida accounted for 16 of those, and the teams combined to shoot 29.5% from the field. Neither team made more than nine field goals in the opening 20 minutes.

Second Half

After seeing the Gators start off hot in the second, Arkansas decided it was their turn to come out on fire to start a half.

From the moment Williams’s free-throw made it 30-23 Florida with 8:04 left in the third quarter, Arkansas went on a 12-0 run to take its first lead of the game. Jackson propelled Arkansas’ run, scoring eight of her 17 points in the quarter.

Then came Florida’s answer though, with the Gators ending the period on a 9-3 run of their own. During the entire second half, they continued to dominate on the glass, as they out rebounded the visitors 42-31 for the game.

The teams entered the fourth quarter with the game up in the air, and the Gators sealed the deal late, something they’ve struggled with at other points in the season.

Haley Lorenzen had a huge offensive rebound and following layup to make it a four point game with just over a minute to go. Then, in the final minute, Dyandria Anderson went 3-for-4 from the free-throw line for the Gators to ice the game for their first home conference win in over 11 months. Anderson said she was focused on draining the shots considering how important they were to her team’s chances of winning.

Ultimately, the Gators won with their defense, as Florida head coach Amanda Butler said it was huge for the Gators do so. Florida held Arkansas to just 36.7% shooting from the field in the game. This includes limiting the Razorbacks to just four treys on 4-for-19 shooting from downtown.

This kind of performance, and being able to get a home conference win, had Ronni Williams saying that it felt good and the team would be able to sleep comfortably tonight.

Up Next

Florida travels to take on Alabama, Sunday afternoon in Tuscaloosa at 2 p.m.

About Jonathan Acosta

Native New Englander. Follow me on Twitter: @jonacosta_10

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