After a bump on the road at Ole Miss over the weekend, Florida women’s hoops returns home. Mississippi State visits Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center for Florida’s Play4Kay women’s cancer awareness game. On Thursday night, the Gators and Bulldogs will play each other for the 53rd time, with the overall series now tied at 26 victories apiece.
Last Time Out
Last year, UF defeated MSU on the road with a 73-64 upset. With this victory, Florida ended an eight-game losing streak to Mississippi State in Starkville.
Zippy Broughton led the way with 21 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Kiara Smith chipped in with 12 points and nine rebounds. The two helped their team win their first game against MSU since March 6, 2014. The victory was UF’s first on the road since Jan. 10, 2013, when they defeated the Bulldogs, 61-55. The contest on Sunday will be the first since 2014 in which neither team is ranked.
Keys to the Game: Florida’s Rimdal and Deans
KK Deans led the Gators with 10 points and 10 rebounds in the Ole Miss loss, recording her first double-double of the season. The senior’s 10 rebounds were a career-high for her and the first time she had grabbed at least 10 boards in her career.
The other shooter in Kelly Rae Finley’s dual-wield offense, Alberte Rimdal, will prove key to opening up the Mississippi State defense should Florida get the win. Rimdal is currently looking at her best season in a Florida jersey yet. Rimdal is currently 16 threes short of the 49 that would give her the fifth-best output by a sophomore in Florida women’s hoops history.
Gators’ Quick Notes
- The Gators put up 13.8 more points than the Bulldogs give up (56.9).
- Florida is a perfect 23-0 under Finley when holding opponents to 60 points or less.
- The Bulldogs post 5.6 more points per game (72.3) than the Gators allow (66.7).
A win at home against the Bulldogs could put the Gators back on the SEC track. Thursday night’s conference matchup places the 10th-place Gators against seventh-place Mississippi State. Victory could see Florida bounce back after the loss at Ole Miss, which didn’t help their No. 87 NET rank.