Florida women’s basketball suffered defeat Thursday night when the Mississippi State Bulldogs won 68-56. The No. 14 Bulldogs visited the O’Dome as Florida’s third straight top 15 opponent this season. Florida sits at 7-4 overall this season. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs were able to improve their record to 7-2.
In the final quarter, the Gators hung in the game at just seven points behind the Bulldogs with four minutes left in gameplay. Ultimately, the Gators were unable to pull ahead.
Despite the tough loss, the sophomores continue to lead the team with great numbers. Guard Lavender Briggs put up 22 points in the game and 12 in just the first quarter. This season, Briggs has been able to put 20 or more points on the board in six different games. In addition, both Nina Rickards and Faith Dut finished the game in double digits at 10 points. According to Dut, she credits her teammates for motivating her to be the best version of herself.
“They’ve been pushing me to be my best every single day at practice,” said Dut. “I’ve been proud of myself for putting in the work that I need to, to compete with them and be my best for the team.”
A team needs to win together and lose together. Regardless of the loss, Dut is proud of her team for persevering as they work out their challenges.
What Went Wrong
Florida was able to start the game off strong and lead 7-2. Although, a scoreless three minutes later in the quarter allowed the Bulldogs to pull ahead and the Gators could never fully recover. According to Head Coach Cam Newbauer, the team could not maintain a consistent focus and aggression which created holes in their game.
Defensively, the Gators held the Bulldogs to only 68 points. Although the scoreboard read Mississippi’s second-fewest points scored this season, it wasn’t quite enough to get the job done. According to Dut, the team was able to make stops when needed.
Coach Newbauer has growing confidence in Dut’s ability to hit shots and maintain aggression on the court.
“Faith was ultra aggressive tonight. She’s still coming into her own. Figuring out moments where she can shoot the 3,” said Newbauer. “That’s something she’s really worked on so I am confident she can hit those shots.”
Overall, Coach Newbauer believes the team has some really great moments, but not quite enough. Florida will continue SEC play on Sunday, Jan 10. The team will travel to Athens to take on the Georgia Bulldogs at noon.