The number 17 Florida women’s basketball team has achieved 20 wins for the first time since 2015-2016 after cruising past Arkansas on Thursday. The Gators throttled the Razorbacks to come out with a 76-67 win to post a 20-6 overall record and advance to 10-3 in conference play.
Florida Women’s Basketball dominates Arkansas
After a three-game stint on the road, the Gators were finally back in action at the O’Dome and made their presence known.
Entering the matchup, Arkansas had the second-best turnover rate in the SEC with just 10.8 per game. Nonetheless, Florida forced the Razorbacks into 20 turnovers as Faith Dut took four of them to help the Gator cause on the defensive end.
The Gators’ triumph came as a result of free throw shooting late in the second half. Although Florida led for the majority of the game with a total time of 36:58 controlling the lead, Arkansas cut the deficit down to nine points with less than three minutes remaining.
Key players of the night
Despite a slow offensive start, a total of four Gators reached double figure scoring against the Razorbacks. Veteran guard Kiara “Kiki” Smith led the way for the Gators, scoring 19 points, with seven rebounds and five assists. Smith’s 19 points elevate her to 14th in UF history with 1,455 career points.
Takeaways from the win over Arkansas
Gator coach Kelly Rae Finley discusses what she thought about the team’s impressive effort throughout the game.
Finley further expanded on what makes this Florida team so unique in reaching the 20-win threshold.
As for one instrumental player who was missing in sophomore forward Jordyn Merritt, Finley explained how the team has been working through changes.
After being named interim head coach in 2021, Finley has led the Gators to a successful season. She was recently added to the Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year 2022 Watchlist.
Meanwhile, questions as to Finley’s future with the team loom. As to whether conversations have been had to remove the interim tag from her title, Finley says that is not what she is focusing on.
Finley says the focus of her an the team remains on each other. Moreover, she wants to celebrate the team.
Looking ahead for Florida women’s basketball
Florida will return to the road as the team will travel to Baton Rouge for their next game against number 11 LSU on Sunday at 4pm. The Tigers are coming off of a dominant 71-59 victory over Mississippi State. The teams last met in January when an unranked Florida team knocked down the then 12th ranked Tigers in a narrow 73-72 upset.