Gators Women's Basketball celebrates senior night, but loses 78-73 to Missouri Sunday Feb. 27, 2022. (Photo by Courtney Culbreath, Floridagators.com)

Gator Women’s Basketball Falls Short In Final Game Of Regular Season

The college women’s basketball regular season has come to a close and the Gators fall just short of winning their last game. Florida lost to Missouri 78-73 Sunday.

Gators fall in last game for the seniors

Not only was it the last game of the regular season, but it was also Senior Night for the Gators. Gator fans got to say thank you to the four seniors on the roster: Kiara Smith, Zippy Brouhgton, Emanuely de Oliveira, and Kristina Moore. Smith talked about her focus on winning before and during the game. She barely had the chance to think about it being her last.

The Gators went into the second quarter up 12-10, but let the lead slip going into halftime. Missouri led 29-22 at the half. Junior forward Hayley Frank contributed heavily to the Tigers’ lead, scoring 10 of her team’s 29 points  in the first half. Frank scored a total of 26 points in the game.

The Gators pushed hard for a comeback in the second half. Florida scored 51 points in the second half compared to just 22 in the first. Sophomore forward Jordyn Merritt did everything she could to help her team. She scored all of her 23 points off of the bench in the second half. The Gators worked hard but fell five points short. They finish the regular season losing three straight games

Gator coach Kelly Rae Finley talked after the game about Missouri being a good quality loss.

Finley chose to start all four seniors for their last game. She said each of them deserved it too.

Kiki Smith led the Gators in many ways this season in addition to the rest of her time in Gainesville. This season she was number one on the team in points, field goals made, free throws made, rebounds, assists, steals, turnovers, and minutes. She has also worked her way up the Gators’ all-time leaderboards in many of these categories. Most notably, she is second all-time in minutes played for the Gators Women’s basketball team.

Tournament-bound Gators

The regular season might be done, but postseason play is in sight for the Gators. Despite losing their last three games of the season, Florida secured the five seed in the SEC Tournament. They will start their tournament on Thursday, March 3 against the winner of the 12-13 matchup. The Gators are also likely to be playing in the NCAA Tournament later in March.

About Jensen Young

Jensen Young is a journalism student at the University of Florida. He works as a sports writer for WRUF.com and is the voice of trendings on Wednesday mornings on the WRUF radio station.

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