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

Gators Women’s Hoops Set to Begin SEC Tourney

The No. 23 Gators women’s basketball team is set to begin SEC tournament Thursday. The team will face the Vanderbilt Commodores in the second round of play. The Commodores defeated Texas A&M 85-69 Wednesday, setting up a rematch with the Gators. Despite the Gators success in the SEC during the season, the Commodores were one of six teams to hand the Gators a SEC loss. Vanderbilt outlasted the team 63-59 back on Feb. 24.

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Feb. 24

Florida suffered a surprising loss to Commodores a week before its next matchup. It was the first time the team had been defeated by Vanderbilt since 2015. The team struggled in the fourth quarter, shooting 5-21 from the field and shooting a poor 23.81% in the quarter. The Commodores were only able to put up six shots in the fourth quarter alone, making five of them.

Additionally, the Commodores were able to get to the free throw line, going 5-6 from the free-throw-line in the quarter. For the orange and blue, the team struggled to get to the free-throw-line throughout the game, shooting only seven total free throws.

Both teams battled throughout the game, but a difference-maker came in the first quarter, where Florida struggled to put the ball in the hoop. The team only scored nine points in the first quarter compared with the Commodores’ 16. The Gators were unable to dominate any the four quarters, causing the team’s comeback efforts to come up short.

Gators Excited for the Tournament

With the situation the Gators program was in before the season started, no one thought they would be a ranked team heading into March. Yet, the Gators have a chance to make some serious noise not only in the SEC tournament, but the NCAA tournament, as well.

The Gators knocked off five ranked SEC opponents this season, including LSU, Tennessee and Georgia. Although the team struggled down the stretch, losing their last three regular season games, head coach Kelly Rae Finley said the Gators are confident heading into postseason play.

The team established itself as one of the teams to beat in the SEC. They have been through a great deal of adversity throughout the season, winning in multiple hostile road environments. Now, opposing teams are viewing the Gators as a threat to make a run in March, and Finley said she couldn’t be more excited about it.

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