The Florida women's basketball team hopes to secure its first SEC championship in program history this season. (X/ @GatorsWBK)

Gators Lose Nail-biter Against Marshall

The Florida Gators women’s basketball team was back in action on Saturday, on the road against Marshall. Florida came in favored to win by 16.5 points against a Marshall team that was 2-4 on the year.

Up 88-81 with just 3:28 on the clock, Florida looked like it was going to close this one out. Instead, the Gators went scoreless for the rest of the fourth, losing 91-88.

The Breakdown

The Gators started off strong, taking a 27-21 lead after a high-scoring first quarter. This game was close all afternoon, with Marshall staying in reach of Florida for the majority of the contest. After the Gators took an eight point lead in the second, Marshall came back to cut the lead to just three to end the half. Threes hurt Florida all night, with Marshall hitting 13 compared to the Gators 8.

Florida came out firing on all cylinders to start the second half, scoring 29 points in the quarter. Senior guard Aliyah Matharu led the Gators to their first double-digit lead of the game, scoring 27 points in the contest. Heading into the fourth, Florida was up 72-63, looking to pull away.

The Gators went up 88-81 with just 3:28 remaining off a layup by senior guard Leilani Correa, who had 23 points in the game. However, that was the last time Florida would score, giving up a 10-0 run to end the game. Free-throws won the game for Marshall, as Senior guard Breanna Campbell gave them the lead, 89-88 with 1:06 remaining.

After failing to convert and fouling to keep the game going, Florida had a shot, down 91-88 with 13 seconds remaining. Unfortunately, Correa missed the game-tying three, giving the Gators their second loss of the season. Florida dropped to 6-2 after the 91-88 loss

The Stats

Florida shot 44.9 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from three. Matharu led the way for Florida, scoring 27 points on 9-15 shooting to go along with 5 assists. The Gators out-rebounded Marshall 45-39 with senior center Ra Shaya Kyle bringing down 11 boards in addiiton to 15 points. On the defensive side of the ball, Florida forced 13 turnovers to go with 8 steals and 4 blocks

Marshall shot 42.2 percent from the floor and 39.4 percent from three. Senior guard Abby Beeman led the way for Marshall nearly dropping a triple-double with 24 points, 8 rebounds and 11 assists. Aside from Beeman, junior guard Aislynn Hayes hauled in the second most rebounds on the team with 7. She also scored 18 points in the game. On the defensive end, Marshall forced 15 Gator turnovers to go with 11 steals and 6 blocks.

Florida (6-2) next plays at Tulsa (OK., 5-3) at 3 p.m. Dec. 10.

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