The Gator women’s basketball team moved to 10-10 on the season and snapped a four game losing streak after beating Arkansas 72-58 at the O’Connell Center on Sunday.
Florida played one of its more impressive games of the season, showing a consistency lacking for most of the season on both sides of the ball. Forward Haley Lorenzen helped the Gators get off to a fast start by scoring all of her 12 points in the first half.
“Coach Butler had put a lot of confidence in me because we talked about, you know, the post taking more shots and things like that,” said Lorenzen. “And I was just feeling confident. I was like, this is gonna be my game.”
Guard Carlie Needles shot 40 percent from beyond the arc as the Gators’ success in the paint began to open things up for them on the perimeter. Needles says everything they did in the game was a product of the hard work they’ve put into their practices.
“It feels awesome to finally carry over what we’ve been doing in practice and get a win out of it. You know, following our game plan and knowing that it’s gonna work and really we do the best when we’re the most energized. We talk about that every day when we start practice and every day when we’re in shoot around and every day before we start a game. And so, just carrying that over from practice to the game was key for us because we play the best when we’re celebrating the little things and the big things as well.”
UF’s bench was also a major factor in this game as it outscored Arkansas’ bench 27-11. More than half of the Gators’ bench production is credited to guard January Miller as she went on to score 16 points, nine of which game in the second half.
“I was attacking way more than I have in the past. My coaches just kept telling me you need to drive and I was like, ‘ok.’ So once I actually relaxed and played like I knew how to, it started to flow, so attacking was the biggest thing.”
The Gators eventually put the game away by making 12 consecutive free throws, eight of them coming from Needles. UF Head coach Amanda Butler says she’s happy that the team was finally able to reap the benefits of what they sowed in practices.
“I’m just, you know, so glad for them to feel that satisfaction that Carlie described of working really really super hard and then to be able to see the fruits of your labor. You know, not just working hard and then when we come in the O’Dome door for game time, it seems to change. They did a great job, I think, of making practice matter.”
The Gators will try to build on this win when they face Missouri in the O’Connell Center this Thursday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm but you can catch live coverage of the game on ESPN 850 WRUF starting at 6:45.
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