Florida men’s basketball secured an upset over No. 13 LSU with a 82-77 road victory on Wednesday. UF’s women’s basketball team is looking to have that same success when they lace their shoes and take the court in Baton Rouge on Thursday night.
The Gators are just 6-19 in their 2018-2019 campaign, but they are hoping to build some momentum over the next couple of weeks. After the next four regular season games, the team will partake in the SEC Tournament starting on March 6.
Last outing for Florida
Although their previous game resulted in a loss, the Gators put up a fight against South Carolina.
The No. 11 Gamecocks arrived into Sunday’s matchup with an 18-6 record, but Florida came out of the gates fast. Head coach Cameron Newbauer’s group had six players score in the first period en route to a 25-18 opening quarter. In comparison, the Gators were outscored by 15 points in the first quarter the previous time they faced South Carolina.
Unfortunately for UF, South Carolina doubled Florida’s point production over the next ten minutes of game time. After a 30-point explosion in the second frame, the Gamecocks held onto their lead and eventually won 96-77.
A positive takeaway for Florida is that five players finished with ten or more points for the first time this season. Also, Funda Nakkasoglu scored in double figures for the 19th time and Delicia Washington recorded her fourth double-double.
Keys to victory
For Florida, stopping Ayana Mitchell is going to be a necessity when they take on LSU.
The 6-foot-2 junior is putting up 12.8 points per game on 54.3 percent shooting from the field. Along with being the team’s leading scorer, Mitchell collects an impressive 9.9 rebounds per game and gets just under two steals a contest.
Khayla Pointer will be a name to watch out for as she puts up over 12 points per game as well. The sophomore is also easily number one on her team when it comes to assists with 4.5 dimes per games.
Offensively, Florida is going to want to sustain the success that they saw in their game against South Carolina. In the Gators’ second-highest scoring game of the season, Nakkasoglu and Danielle Rainey combined for 34 points. UF’s top four point totals in SEC play have come when the pair scores at least 26 points.
Along with getting Nakkasoglu and Rainey going, Florida will need to be more efficient in their three-point attempts. The team shot just 5 of 31 from behind the arc last time out, which is well below their season percentage of 29.9 percent.
Thursday’s game against the Tigers is scheduled to tip off at 7:30. ESPN 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF will have coverage starting approximately ten minutes before the game begins.
After LSU, Florida will take on Texas A&M and Georgia at home next Monday and Thursday. The Gators will finish the season on March 3 when they travel to Vanderbilt.