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

Florida Women’s Basketball without Lavender Briggs for remainder of season

Florida women’s basketball will be without their leading scorer, Lavender Briggs, for the remainder of the season. Head coach Cameron Newbauer announced the sophomore guard will miss the rest of the season due to a foot injury on Monday.

Briggs has been battling with a foot injury over the course of the season. However, the Gators will now continue the rest of the season without one of their most dynamic scorers.

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Briggs Impact

One of the top scorers in the SEC was having a high-profile season before her injury sidelined her. The guard led the Gators with an average of 19.5 points per game. On top of that, Briggs leads all Florida scorers in field goals (7.6) and three-pointers (1.8) made per game. In addition, the sophomore came in just behind Kiki Smith in assists per game (2.6) with a total of 46 on the season.

The impact extends to the defensive side of the ball as well. Briggs is the Gators’ third-leading rebounder with a total 117 this season.

One notable from the season came in January when Briggs earned SEC Player of the Week Honors after dropping a career-high 41 points against the then-No. 17 Arkansas Razorbacks.

According to floridagators.com, Briggs’ scoring average against SEC opponents is the highest by a Gator since Tammy Jackson averaged 22.o points in the 1982-1983 season.

Filling the Gap

The loss of Briggs leaves coach Newbauer and the Florida offense with one question: who will fill the void?

In a press conference on Tuesday, coach Newbauer addressed how the Gators are looking to fill the gap left by Briggs.

In the Gators’ first game without Briggs, they saw a glimpse of who could be the next woman to step for this Florida team. In Monday night’s game against the No. 17 Kentucky Wildcats, the Gators fell just short against a top 25 opponent, 88-80.

Kiki Smith

The dynamic duo of Smith and Briggs may not be seen on the court again this season, but the Gators will still have the leadership of both. On the court, the duo was one of the most dominant in the NCAA. The guards combined for seven games for 40 or more points throughout this season.

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Smith is the Gators’ second-leading scorer averaging 17.2 points per game. She holds the top spot for free throws, with 3.7 made per game, and leads the Gators in assists (3.9 per game).

Defensively, Smith’s numbers are just as good. She leads the team in steals and is tied for first when it comes to rebounds per game.

Despite the absence left by Briggs, Smith is able to bring experience and spark to this Florida offense.

Rickards and Rainey on the Rise

Monday night’s game against Kentucky also showcased two talents on the rise in sophomore Nina Rickards and redshirt senior Danielle Rainey.

Against the Wildcats, Rickards dropped 19 points and 10 rebounds. Rainey added another 20 points and shooting six of 11 from the three-point line.

Up Next for Florida

The Gators return to Exactech Arena on Thursday night against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.

About Mady Benton

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