Gators Women’s Basketball Falls Short to Gamecocks in SEC Debut

The Gators women’s basketball team (7-2) couldn’t keep up with the South Carolina Gamecocks’ (6-1) high-octane attack on Thursday, losing 75-59. The game was the first SEC match up of the season for both teams.

The Gamecocks had two players score at least 20 points in the contest, while the Gators had only one player put up double figures.

The Aliyah Boston Show

Entering Thursday’s match up, sophomore center Aliyah Boston ranked second on the team with 11.5 points per game and dominated inside the paint with 9.7 rebounds per game. Her numbers against the Gators merely padded those numbers.

In the first half alone, Boston secured a double-double with 19 points on 8-0f-12 shooting while adding 11 rebounds. By end of the game, the preseason All-SEC first-team selection had scored 28 points, collected 16 rebounds and blocked four shots.

Boston didn’t have a problem finding separation inside the paint and draining the mid-range jumper. But, she also showcased her range from the 3-point line, making 3 of 5 from beyond the arc.

Her performance marks her third double-double of the season. She now averages a double-double for the season on 13.9 points and 10.6 rebounds per game.

A Balanced Attack?

The Gators’ offense was virtually a one-man wrecking crew against the Gamecocks. The Gator leading scorer, redshirt senior Kiki Smith, only put up seven points on 3-of-11 shooting with six turnovers, so sophomore guard Lavender Briggs had to step up, and she did.

Briggs was the only Gator to score in the double digits, and she cruised to 23 points, six rebounds and three assists. Guards Nina Rickards and Danielle Rainey also found some offensive rhythm in the second half, scoring eight and six points, respectively.

Once the Gators started to shoot the ball efficiently, they tightened their deficit. Florida trailed by as little as 10 points in the third quarter and eventually outscored South Carolina 29-18 in the period.

Too Much to Handle

Although the Gators led an offensive run in the third quarter, the Gamecocks attack was too much to handle in the end.  On top of Aliyah Boston’s career-high 28 points, South Carolina’s leading scorer Zia Cooke turned in 26 points, with 18 of those points coming in the second half.

The Gamecocks played with the lead the whole game, and even after faltering to start the second half, the lead they had built up was never truly in doubt.

A Team Analysis

Both teams shot at a similar rate, with the Gators making 24 of 65 field goals (36.9%) and the Gamecocks scoring on 31 of 79 (39.2%).

However, the real difference came in the rebounding. Although Staley’s team didn’t outrebound the Gators by their average margin of 18.2, they still grabbed 12 more boards than Florida.

The Gamecocks move to 6-1 on the season and secure their first SEC win, while the Gators drop to 7-2 and 0-1 in conference play. On top of that, the Gators still have a gauntlet of SEC foes to face, including ninth ranked Texas A&M next on the schedule.

Even still, the 2020-2021 season for Newbauer’s Florida Gators has been statistically one of his best since taking over this team.

About Parker Fluke

I'm a third-year student at the University of Florida passionate about storytelling and sportswriting. My goal is to work in communications for a professional sports team after I graduate.

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