The University of Florida women’s basketball team (19-5, 7-4 SEC) had its three game winning streak snapped on Thursday night after losing to South Carolina (23-1, 11-0 SEC), 86-71 in Columbia.
Florida started the game strong in the first quarter by pressuring the Gamecocks on defense and holding them to just 19 points. The Gators scored 16 points by the end of the period to stay within striking distance.
However, in the second quarter, South Carolina overcame their slow start by outscoring Florida 24-15. By the time halftime arrived, the Gamecocks had extended their lead to 12 points on 48 percent shooting. The Carolina starting five were responsible for 26 of the 43 points the team amassed before the break.
On the other hand, Florida shot just 37 percent from the field going into halftime, with guard Cassie Peoples being their lone bright spot on offense with 13 points.
Despite their disappointing first half, the Gators stormed back in the third period and chipped away at South Carolina’s lead until they were down by just 10 points. Gator guard Carla Batchelor scored eight of her 19 points to help Florida establish some momentum on offense leading into the fourth quarter.
Gator head coach Amanda Butler says she proud of the way Batchelor played.
Though they continued to battle back, the Gators ultimately could not overcome the great play of senior guard Tiffany Mitchell. Mitchell had 22 points, three rebounds, and four assists. She also shot 50 percent from three point land.
Butler says South Carolina, as a team, shot the ball very well from beyond the arc.
Gamecock center Alaina Coates also helped her team earn their 24th consecutive SEC home win by grabbing 11 rebounds as South Carolina outrebounded the Gators by 14 overall (44-30).
In addition to the Gamecocks’ potent offensive attack, Florida also had difficulty overcoming their own deficiencies. Their top two scorers, forward Ronni Williams and guard Eleanna Christinaki scored a combined 11 points on 22 percent shooting.
Butler says she believes they can use this game to improve in different areas.
Florida will look to bounce back when it plays Auburn this Sunday on the road.