The Florida Gators Women’s Basketball team makes their way to the SEC Quarterfinals after defeating Vanderbilt by one-point, 53-52, in the second round of the tournament. The emotional win will allow the Gators to play Ole Miss in hopes of earning a semifinal spot.
Looking Back at the Second Round
The Commodores started off with a bang taking a 12-point lead and leaving the Gators scoreless. Kiara Smith eventually put the Gators on the board with a jumper with less than five minutes and 30 seconds left in the first quarter. Florida finished the first three quarters trailing their opponent.
Smith suffered an unfortunate injury in the fourth quarter. The Gators star was clenching her knee on the sideline in apparent pain until she was taken off the court. The team felt the immediate emotional effects of the injury and finished off the game in her honor. They played hard and ultimately won the game. This was Kelly Rea Finley’s first career win as the Gators’ official head coach.
The Gators have advanced to the Quarterfinals for a matchup against Ole Miss.
Florida will be missing a key player with Smith out due to injury. She leads the team in points, field goals, free throws, rebounds, assists, steals, turnovers, minutes and assist/turnover ratio.
The Gators will have to rely on their other players like Zippy Broughton and Nina Rickards to lead their team to the semifinals. They are currently No.5 in the SEC. They rank second in the conference for free throw percentage, fourth for steals and fifth in rebounds.
This is Ole Miss’s first match up of the tournament. The last game they played was a regular season loss to No.1 South Carolina, 71-57.
The Rebels are ranked No. 4 in the SEC. Until last year, they had not made it to the quarterfinals since 1993.
Shakira Austin is an important player in the team’s effort to win. She leads the Rebels in points, field goals, free throws, rebounds, blocked shots, turnovers and minutes. Ole Miss is second in the SEC for steals and third for assists.
The two teams will face off at approximately 3:30 p.m. in Nashville, Tennessee.