Florida Falls to No. 18 Indiana

Box Score  | Highlights | Postgame Press Conference 

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida women’s basketball team saw its season-opening four-game winning streak come to a close Friday evening as it fell 73-49 to No. 18 Indiana at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
 
Redshirt-junior guard Kiki Smith, finishing in double figures for the fourth time in five contests, led the Gators with 18 points as she tied her career high. Backcourt mate Ariel Johnson added 10 of her own, scoring 10 or more points for the third-straight game.
 
Taking on a veteran Indiana team that boasts its highest-ever ranking in the AP Top 25, the Gators hung tough in their fourth game of a season-long six-game homestand.
 
The Hoosiers, who entered the game averaging 92.3 points per game – the sixth-best mark in nation, were held to 73 points, a season low. UF held the rebounding edge for the fifth-straight game, winning the battle on the boards 37-33.

IU sophomore Grace Berger posted a game-high 23 points while Brenna Wise added 16.

The Gators were shorthanded as freshman guard Lavender Briggs missed the game due to injury. 
 
The teams played an even first quarter at 15 all. The Hoosiers jumped out to an early lead but Florida fought back to grab a 15-12 edge late in the frame. IU’s Chanel Wilson drained a three-pointer as the horn sounded to tie the score.
 
Indiana opened the second stanza with a 7-0 run before a Kristina Moore triple snapped the rally. The visiting Hoosiers built an advantage as large as 13 in the second quarter, but runs by the Gators kept them at bay. Indiana won the second quarter 24-13 and carried a 39-28 lead into the Lockerroom.
 
Johnson put together a really strong first half, leading UF with 10 points. She connected on four of her six attempts, including two from beyond the arc. Florida was bitten a bit by the turnover bug in the first half as it registered 12 miscues, but owned the edge in rebounding, 22-14.
 
The Hoosiers extended their lead in the third, outscoring UF 19-12 for the quarter. UF hung around as it trailed by only nine with just over seven minutes to play in the period, but Indiana then utilized a 9-2 run to seize the game’s momentum. 

IU posted a 15-9 advantage in the fourth to nab their fourth win all-time over UF.

Florida entered the game having limited their previous three opponents to under 30 percent shooting, but the high-powered Hoosier offense shot an even 50 percent from floor (30-of-60).

Moore registered eight points on 3-of-6 shooting for the Gators.

Taking on back-to-back AP Top 25 opponents for the first time since the 2017-18 season, Florida is set to battle No. 12 FSU Tuesday in the Sunshine Showdown.
 
UP NEXT
Tuesday, Nov. 26 | 6 p.m. ET
Florida (4-1) vs. No. 12 Florida State (4-0)
Sunshine Showdown
Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center 

QUOTABLES
Head Coach Cam Newbauer
Opening Statement…
“Indiana is a tough bunch. They’ve got some players that have really continued to improve their individual games. I’ve known a lot of them for a while. They played really hard and solid tonight. We were down, obviously, with Lav [Briggs] not being able to play, but I liked the aggressiveness we played with and having some people step up. I liked the effort they put forth. We battled the whole game and tried to compete and make things happen. The great thing is that it’s a long season and this is only game five. The loss stings and it wasn’t the result we wanted, but it’s part of this. We have to keep our heads up and work to get better and improve through the duration of our season. I know that’s what these young ladies will do. We’re excited to get back and regroup tomorrow. We’ll talk about what went well and what we need to work on.”

Takeaways from the game…
“I thought we had some really good moments where we competed and executed well on both ends of the floor. We need more of those moments. Part of that is just [Indiana’s] physicality. I do like how we competed and fought back. We gave our best and had some really good things happen for different people. It wasn’t the result we wanted, but I do think we got better today because of this game.”

On playing without Lavender Briggs
“She does a lot for us on both ends of the floor. She’s a big guard that can score anywhere, defend, and rebound. She adds a lot of depth to the team. When you have a young bunch, there’s a lot of different implications that could affect your team. It’s part of the game and you just have to go play. It’s easy for me to sit there and say that because now people have to play extended minutes and there’s not as many substitutions. You have different people playing different roles, but that’s the game. It’s a great opportunity for us to learn how to do that this early in the season because it could happen later. You never know what’s in the deck.”

On Ariel Johnson’s strong to play open the seasons…
“She’s a player who wants to be great for our team. When Danielle Rainey went down, she really took it upon herself to feel like, ‘I have to do a lot more for our team,’ and I think she was just pressed a little bit early with that. That’s a natural tendency for what you do to pick up your team and pick up a teammate that’s done for the year. I wouldn’t say it was a slow start, she was trying to figure out the mindset of how to perform knowing that she may have to do a little more here and there. As a sophomore and never being in that role, for her to figure that out after two games and having the last three being what they are, it’s just a huge sign of maturity for such a young person that kind of got thrown into that because of an injury. I think she’s done a great job.”

Redshirt-junior Guard Kiki Smith
On what went well in the first half…
“We just came out with the mindset to be aggressive. Coming out, everybody just knew that we wanted to be aggressive, we just wanted to get into the paint, we just wanted to score baskets.”
 
Sophomore Guard Ariel Johnson
On being the aggressor…
“It definitely was a big difference from our previous games, definitely a really tough team. Really good team, really aggressive. When you play a more aggressive opponent, you’re obviously going to be aggressive too. It just naturally came. We wish the outcome would’ve been different.”

On her offensive development…
“I’ve developed pretty fine. Obviously, I’m going to miss shots. I’m not going to make every single one of them. As long as I keep shooting, I’m going to knock them down eventually.”

Notables

  • The Gators were without the services of freshman guard Lavender Briggs who missed the game due to injury.
  • Redshirt-sophomore Emer Nichols made her first career start on her birthday.
  • UF outrebounded its opponent for the fifth-straight game to open the season. The most consecutive games winning the rebounding battle last season was four.
  • Ariel Johnson made at least two 3-pointers for the second consecutive game (2-4 3FG)
    • Johnson set a new career-high in steals (4) for the second-consecutive contest.
  • Johnson logged a career-high 36 minutes.
  • Florida held Indiana to its lowest scoring output of the season.
  • Kiki Smith has scored 16 or more points in three games already this season.
  • All nine Florida players to appear in the game secured a rebound.

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