Florida Gators guard Alberte Rimdal (#5) drives the ball to the basked under pressure from FSU Seminoles guard Amaya Bonner (#24) during their game at the Stephen C. OÕConnell Center Friday, Nov. 17, 2023. (Gabriel Velasquez Neira/WRUF)

Gators Women’s Basketball Falls to Tulsa on Road

The Florida women’s basketball team was in its game with Tulsa until the very end.  However, it is hard to win when the basket has a “lid” on it in the fourth quarter.

On Sunday afternoon, that was the case for the Gatos as they lose to Tulsa 72-64. The Orange & Blue now move to 6-3 on the season, with this loss being their second road game loss on the season.

Things were tight until the very end, with the Gators only being up two possessions after the third quarter. But in the fourth, it was all Tulsa, giving them their first win against Florida in program history.

Strange Beginnings

After losing a heartbreaker to Marshall University last week, it would be wise to assume that the Gators would throw everything and the kitchen sink at Tulsa, right? Well, it did not appear that way.

To start the game, Florida coach Kelly Rae Finley decided to make some major changes to the starting lineup. She took out guard Aliyah Matharu, who happens to lead the team in points, free throws, assists and steals. And she removed Ra Shaya Kyle, who has the most amount of boards for the Gators this season from a starter’s spot.

With the team’s leading scorer out, Laila Reynolds took matters into her own hands and got the scoring going for Florida. She would lead the Gators in points at the end of the night with 14.

https://twitter.com/GatorsWBK/status/1733927185529106695

But despite Reynolds’ efforts, the Orange & Blue struggled early. As a team, they shot 6-21 from the field, which was surprising for a team that was ranked fourth in points per game in the SEC before the game. However, Tulsa also only made six shots.

With a little bit more than two minutes to go in the first, Matharu and Kyle would finally check-in. Immediately, they would both find the basket and score. After one, the Gators would lead 17-15.

Crawford Cooking

Despite being down 34-33 at the half, Tulsa’s Delanie Crawford was in the kitchen cooking a pot of threes.

https://twitter.com/TulsaWBB/status/1733934473421656108

At the end of the game, Crawford led all scorers with 22 points, 12 of which came way in the second quarter. In fact, she scored all four of Tulsa’s three-point attempts in quarter two.

Although she was producing offensively, the Gators were scoring as well behind Reynolds’ six points. The game was constantly close in the first half with the largest lead on either side being five.

Third Quarter Toss Up

Florida and Tulsa continued to go back and forth in the third quarter with more scorers getting involved. For the Golden Hurricane, Crawford continued to light up the basket, but Mady Cartwright also got things going with her six points (2-2 FG).

For the Gators, Faith Dut and Leilani Correa were both able to contribute to Florida’s 56-52 lead at the end of the quarter. Additionally, the Orange & Blue went 8 for 15 from the field in the third, the highest percentage of the game.

https://twitter.com/GatorsWBK/status/1733941568091164986

Fourth Fallout

Even though the Gators would get their largest lead of the game at six points in the fourth, ultimately, it would not be enough.

https://twitter.com/TulsaWBB/status/1733948283125661732

One of Tulsa’s main scorers Temira Poindexter had a quiet night leading into the final period. But then out of nowhere, she ignited for 10 points and three rebounds, all of which would contribute to Tulsa’s 18-4 run to close out the game.

The Gators would only score eight points in the fourth, going 0-9 from three and 3-19 from the field.

The Golden Hurricane would go on to win 72-64. This win marks the first victory for Tulsa against an SEC opponent since Dec.1, 2018 when they played Alabama.

Up Next For Gators

The Florida women’s basketball team will next see the court on Sunday, December 17 when they take on Gardner-Webb. The Runnin’ Bulldogs have yet to win a game (0-8) this season. Tip-off is at 3 p.m.

About Miguel Molina

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