Scenes from the Gators' game against the Bulldogs. Photo by Hannah White

Florida Women’s Basketball Loses In Near Miss To No. 17 Arkansas

Florida women’s basketball fell to Arkansas Razorbacks last night 84-80. Although the Gators outscored Arkansas through three of the quarters and shooting 45.7 percent, their efforts were not enough. The Florida Gators have faced a tough start in the 2021 season as they have already faced four AP Top 25 teams in their first five SEC matchups.

Positive Outlooks

Despite the loss, the Gators can be proud of their incredible shoot performance. Sophomore Lavender Briggs emerged as the game leader when she scored a career-high of 41 points, over half of the total score. This is the closest anyone has been able to get since 2017 when Ronni Williams scored a career-high of 43. In addition, Briggs’ 41 points goes down at the 4th most points scored in program history and the most scored by any SEC player this season.

Prior to the Arkansas matchup, Briggs averaged 20 points per game which she managed to more than double by the end of last night. In addition, Briggs grabbed 17 field goals. According to Head Coach Newbauer, Briggs started the game off with precision right away.

“Her pace was really good from the get-go when she hit that three. She just had a lot of good rhythm,” said Coach Newbauer. “I thought the players were getting her the ball and great opportunities to scores. She’s a competitor.”

Additional game leaders include Kiara Smith who shot for 21 points at 54.1 percent off the floor.

What Went Wrong

The Arkansas Razorbacks went on an 11 point run early in the first quarter which Florida was never able to fully recover from. In the second quarter, Kiara Smith grabbed 12 points and ended the half at 52-44.

The teams continued to swap back and forth with point runs through the next half making for an intense shoot-out of a game. The Gators headed into the fourth at 69-62 with an opportunity to close a smaller gap. Although, the Gators experienced a scoreless three minutes right off the bat.

Overall, Coach Newbauer felt the team’s fight was great but that they needed to be better on the free-throw line and create breaks in their favor.

Up Next

The Florida Gators return home this Sunday, January 17 to host the Auburn Tigers for a 1 p.m. tip-off at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

About Parker Welch

Parker Welch is a Senior at the University of Florida majoring in Sports Media at the College of Journalism & Communications.

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