Gators Withstand Late Rally for Win

The Gators may have tried to start their 11-day break from games about 15 minutes too early, as Florida was forced to withstand a furious Marshall rally to earn a 74-69 win at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Sunday afternoon.

The Gators (6-4) slowly built a 54-34 lead with 4:48 remaining in the third quarter, before Marshall (3-6) ripped off a 33-14 run that had the Herd within one, 68-67, with 1:06 to go in the game.

Late in that span, Funda Nakkasoglu’s three-pointer with 2:48 remaining put the Gators back up 10, 67-57, however, that would be Florida’s final field goal of the game. The Herd rattled off an ensuring 10-1 run and cut UF’s lead to one.

Haley Lorenzen then made what UF Coach Cameron Newbauer called the play of the game by collecting an offensive rebound and was fouled trying for the putback. She made both tosses and gave UF a 70-67 cushion with 46 seconds remaining.

Both teams missed respective field goal attempts on its next possession, with Anderson’s three-point attempt rimming out. Delicia Washington was able to battle for the loose rebound that went out of bounds in UF’s favor.

Anderson was fouled and went to the line where she made one with 15.7 seconds on the clock for a 71-67 edge.

Marshall’s Asheika Alexander came right back with a layup and she then fouled Nakkasoglu quickly. With the Gators now in the bonus, Nakkasoglu made one of two from the line and the Gator lead was back to three with 11.9 ticks left.

Shayna Gore, who averaged 17.8 points entering the game and was held to nine points on Sunday, missed her three attempt with four seconds remaining and the Herd fouled Washington, whom sealed the Gator win with two more makes with one second to go for the final margin.

What’s Next for the Gators

Florida now takes an 11-day break for final exams before playing host to its own Gator Holiday Classic, Dec. 20-21.

Game Schedule:

  • Dec. 20, Noon: Florida vs. Chattanooga
  • Dec. 20, 2:30 p.m.: Saint Joseph’s vs. Princeton
  • Dec. 21, Noon: Florida vs. Saint Joseph’s
  • Dec. 21, 2:30 p.m. Chattanooga vs. Princeton

Individual Numbers of Note

  • Dyandria Anderson led the Gators with 18 points, hitting 5-of-10 three-pointer attempts.
  • Funda Nakkasoglu added 17 points, while Paulina Hersler chipped in 12 and Washington 10 points and five assists.
  • Lorenzen collected a game-high nine rebounds, with two on the offensive end that included Coach Newbauer’s play of the game.

Numbers of Note

  • Florida’s final field goal of the game came with 2:48 remaining
  • Marshall finished by hitting six of its final eight field goal attempts
  • The Herd outscored UF 25-14 in the fourth quarter, when the Gators shot 18.2 percent (2-11) and Marshall 55.6 percent (10-18) from the floor.
  • Florida had 18 assists on 22 field goals.
  • The Gators connected on 13-of-35 three-pointers. It’s the fifth game with double-digit threes this year.
  • UF was 17-of-25 (68 percent) from the free throw line, while Marshall was just 1-of-3.

Postgame Quotes:

UF Head Coach Cameron Newbauer

Opening Statement…

“First off, congratulations to Mary Wise and the entire volleyball team on an amazing year. Best of luck to them at the Final Four. The way they represent Florida is incredible and their performance last night in the O’Dome was great. Best of luck to them on Thursday.

 

In terms of the game, in the first half we were okay, but not great. We played off some kids that hit some shots. There were some kids that hadn’t shown any range in their career, but they did a good job of taking what we gave them and hitting shots. We did a great job getting up 20, but then we let our offense dictate our defense. We gave up 12 second half offensive rebounds – any time you do that, it is going to be tough to secure a W. They got 15 extra shots because of that, but overall we held on. Showed some resolve and resilience and took care of business. 13 threes, 18 assists on 22 field goals, more assists than turnovers and +2 on the glass, so we will take it. It wasn’t pretty but we will take it, any way you slice it, we will take that win.”

 

On making late free throws…

“Free throws seal games, that is just what they do. Talking about the free throw discrepancy there, we didn’t foul. We do a good job of keeping our hands out of the cookie jar and not fouling. That is a good thing we did, especially late. There were a couple positions late that if we fouled, it could have been an and-one situation, which is a huge energy booster. Knocking down the free throws at the end was huge, it sealed the game.”

 

On thoughts of game…
“14 turnovers compared to the 20s is great. It is still a bit frustrating though because they were not pressing us, so 14 is a bit high for the type of game it was, but we are getting better. We need to be a little bit more patient. 18 assists on 22 field goals is a great thing.

 

On injuries to Sydney Searcy and Jalaysha Thomas…

“Not sure with the two of them, I know they were a little banged up. Sydney’s lip was cut open and we are going to check concussion protocol with her because her head hit the ground pretty good there. Jalaysha got nicked in the eye – a finger actually went under the eye – not sure how her vision was, but we were not comfortable putting her back in after her eye had swelled a bit. We will check on them, but that’s the good thing about the break right now, our young ladies need the break, mentally from an academic standpoint. We have a lot of people who work really hard academically, so getting that rest to focus on finals is good. It will also be good for those nagging injuries. These two [Anderson and Nakkasoglu] have had some nagging injuries, but have done a great job persevering through. We have limited them in practice it will be a good time to get them healthy for the next two games before Christmas break.”

 

On team’s performance from beyond the arc today…
“We were 13-of-35, 37% percent which is great. Just think of the ones that went in-and-out. We had some great looks and shot the right ones. Some people do not want to shoot 35 threes, but if they are the right threes we will take them any day of the week. This could have been a game where we could have easily hit 20 and it has worked for us. We do have to get better at getting the ball inside more. We have missed some opportunities in there. Haley Lorenzen probably had the biggest play of the game for us with that offensive rebound put-back with free throws. That was a big, big play for us today. Hats off to her because she did not get many touches and was not heavily involved, but she stayed the course the entire game and came up with probably the biggest play of the game.

 

“It was a good week for us mentally, with being fatigued from finals the season. I go back to this a lot, but a lot of these players are in position that are new to them, but to hang on and win this is good for us. Just because we let a lead go, it doesn’t mean we go hang our heads. We learned another fashion with the pressure that a close game brings. Overall, we welcome this break and we are glad to have some rest and relaxation.”

 

Gator Player Q & A – Funda Nakkasoglu and Dyandria Anderson:

Funda, can you talk about how the ball was more distributed tonight than it was the last time you played against Ohio State?

Nakkasoglu: “Yeah, I think that was the main focus of our practices as well. We want to move the ball- our offense is successful when we move the ball. We focused on that and stressed that a lot before the game so I think it was good seeing that actually resolve into the game.”

 

Funda how is your ankle feeling?

Nakkasoglu: “It’s good, it’s good. It’s getting better day by day so that’s all I can want and ask for. I’m getting good rehab from my trainers so credit to them.”

 

Dyandria, Funda, question for both of you. Dyandria you personally went on a 5-10 from 3, what was the main drive behind having some success from behind the 3-pt line today?

Anderson: “Coach Cam always tells us to keep shooting, that’s one of the things were best at, so just having our coach behind our back and just saying, “No, keeping shooting the ball, I know how great of a shooter you are.” That just motivates us to keep shooting the ball.”

Nakkasoglu: “In going off that, it instills confidence that we probably should have after we miss a shot instead of putting our heads down but yeah it’s great having an encouraging staff that’s always positive about that.”

 

I want to go back to that 26 point lead you guys had heading into the third quarter. Do you feel like you guys got a little too complacent? It got really close there at one point. Would you say that’s what happened? Or was it just Marshall attacking you and converting their opportunities?

AndersonOur defense wasn’t good. We weren’t talking, we weren’t getting our hands up on shooters, we were letting them drive past us. Our defense was just not where it should’ve been when we came out of halftime.

Nakkasoglu: “I think our focus just went away, and we can’t do that until the final clock sounds.”

 

How did you guys get back to? When did you realize that this is getting real and they could easily take this game from us?

Nakkasoglu: “Probably way too late.”

Anderson: “Very late.”

Nakkasoglu: Maybe with like, seconds?

Anderson: “We just know we can’t take anybody for granted. If we’re up 20, if we’re up 30. We can come out lax and go, “Oh, well, six minutes left.” Somebody can do a lot in six minutes. So for us, it hit us kind of late but we know that won’t happen again.”

What would you guys do differently next time if you’re up big on an opponent to prevent them from getting close towards the end?

Anderson: “Keep up our defensive intensity the whole game. We can’t drop any points coming out of halftime, that’s exactly what happened. We got lax, we’re up 20, no reason for us to really play good defense and after a while we realized that maybe we should play with good defense once we’re there. So that was the biggest thing just keeping our defensive intensity up the whole game.”

 

Gator Pronunciations for this Release:

  • DYANDRIA Anderson: dee-ANN-dree-uh
  • FUNDA NAKKASOGLU: FOON-da knock-a-SO-glue
  • DELICIA Washington: duh-LEE-shuh

Links of Note:

 

FOLLOW THE GATORS
SOCIAL: Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram
JOIN THE CONVERSATION: #WeChomp