The Florida women’s basketball team defeated Arkansas State 76-72 on Monday night in Gainesville to run its record to 7-1 on the season.
After a couple of miscues from both teams, the Gators found momentum and took an early 4-0 lead. Dominating blocks on defense by Tyshara Fleming seemed to set the tone for the Gators, but the Gators quickly learned that this was not going to be an easy win.
Arkansas State came charging back at Florida’s lead and momentum. The Red Wolves found their hot spot from behind the perimeter and changed the pace of the game. A number of Red Wolves capitalized from the three-point line, which made it difficult for the Gators defensively. Arkansas States’ Khadi Brown-Haywood led the team with 21 points, four steals, and eight rebounds. Florida’s head coach, Amanda Butler, tipped her hat off to the performance and night Khadi had. But Brown-Haywood wasn’t the only intimidating wolf out of the pack, as the Red Wolves had an excellent bench that played well for them all game.
A close first half ended 33-33.
Both teams refreshed and energized came back into the game fighting for the lead. It wasn’t long before Arkansas State capitalized off of Florida’s sloppy passes and offensive fouls. The Gators looked stunned when the Red Wolves drained a couple of three-point shots and gave themselves a ten point lead over the home team. The Gators were stunned, but not defeated.
Florida’s Haley Lorenzen went to battle in the paint and compiled 19 points, two blocks, and six rebounds. But, it took a senior to lead the team to a come-back victory. Cassie Peoples played with aggression and determination to earn 11 tough points. With the help from players like Eleanna Christinaki, Ronni Williams, and Dyandria Anderson, Florida fought back to take the lead with a minute left in the game and Christinaki’s two free-throws gave the Gators some breathing room with 41.3 seconds left in the game.
The Gators escaped an upset defeating the Red Wolves with the final score of 76-72.
With this win, Florida’s head coach, Amanda Butler earned her 200th career win and it gave the Gators a seven-game win streak. Butler recognizes that the Gators beat a very good team. Cue the celebration music.
The Gators will be adding on to their frequent-flyer miles to take on Wisconsin on Thursday at 8:00 p.m. but will be back in the O’Dome on Sunday when they host Robert Morris at 2:30 p.m.