Gators Roll Past Rattlers, 84-40

Box Score  | Highlights Postgame Press Conference  | SEC Network Recap

Paced by a career day from redshirt-senior Zada Williams, the University of Florida women’s basketball team (5-2) completed its season-long six-game homestand with a victory Sunday afternoon as it cruised to an 84-40 win over Florida A&M at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
 
Finishing with her second-straight double-double, Williams posted new career highs in points (22) and rebounds (19) as she put together the best game of her Florida career.
 
Lavender Briggs (17), Ariel Johnson (14) and Kiki Smith (10) joined the fifth-year senior with double-digit point totals as Florida featured four double-figure scorers for the fourth time in seven games to open the season.
 
Briggs also added a double-double with a 17 point, 10 rebound performance, bringing her season double-double total to three. 
 
Holding their opponent below their season scoring average for the fifth-straight contest, the Gators limited FAMU to just 26.9 percent shooting and held the Rattlers to only three points in the fourth quarter.
 
Florida, which led for over 37 minutes in the contest, finished the game shooting 36-of-70 from the floor as it shot north of 50 percent for the second time this season.
 
The Gators tallied exactly nine field goals in each of the four quarters and outrebounded FAMU, 49-36, winning the battle of the boards for the sixth time in seven tries.
 
Williams, who has finished with 10 or more points in five games this season, shot an efficient 11-of-13 from the field, setting a new career high in field goals made. Her 19 rebounds are the third-most by a Florida senior in program history.
 
After some back-and-forth play early, the Gators broke off an 11-0 run to grab a 19-8 lead and force a FAMU timeout late in the first quarter. FAMU tied the score at 8-8 early, but following their scoring run the Gators would lead for the remainder of the game. UF shot 47 percent from the floor in the first as four different players combined for 19 points and a 19-12 advantage.
 
The Rattlers mounted a run to open the second to close the gap to just 27-21, but five-straight points from the freshman Briggs put the Gators back up double digits late in the second. The Gators made five of their last seven field goals in the second and carried a 40-25 lead into the break. Putting together its second best shooting first half of the season, UF knocked down 18 of its 34 attempts for 52.9 percent shooting. Six different players scored in the first half for Florida, paced by the rookie Briggs who tallied 11. Johnson checked in at the break with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting from the floor.
 
The Gators’ strong shooting continued on into the second half as they connected on nine of their 16 shots in third quarter and continued to build their advantage. Williams’ play was key in the quarter as she posted six points and five boards in that 10 minute segment alone.
 
In the fourth, Florida’s defense limited FAMU to just 1-of-17 shooting and three total points. Williams continued her offensive excellence with 10 points and five rebounds in the quarter.
 

The sophomore guard Johnson has finished with 10 or more points in five-straight games for UF, the longest streak of her career.

Classmate Kristina Moore added nine points and six rebounds of her own.
 
Florida knocked down six 3-pointers on the game, but really exerted its will from close range as it poured in a season-best 54 points in the paint. The Gators shot 58 percent on two-point attempts.
 
FAMU was paced by Alaina Rice who added 10 points for the game.
 
The Gators registered a 4-2 record in their season-long home swing and now are set to play four of their next five matchups away from Gainesville beginning with a contest at Prairie View A&M this Thursday, Dec. 5.
 
UP NEXT
Thursday, Dec. 5 | 8 p.m. ET
Florida (5-2) vs. Prairie View A&M (2-5)
The Baby Dome | Prairie View, Texas
 
QUOTABLES
Head Coach Cam Newbauer
Opening Statement…
“Proud of our team for their defensive effort today. We knew that Florida A&M was a tough, scrappy bunch that was going to attack really hard. They’re averaging 22 free throws a game and they only shot eight today. I really like the three-point fourth quarter. I don’t necessarily like the 16 offensive rebounds that they got. We knew that they were going to be feisty and sprinting and scrapping for rebounds, so a couple of those got away from us. Overall, I like the effort we put forward today. Zada [Williams] was tremendous. She played with some really strong hands today and had some great catches and finishes. I thought our team did a really good job of playing aggressive. At times we might have played too fast, but that’s a part of the growth process. We’re trying to play a fast up and down game. Overall, shooting 51 percent from the floor and having a lot of contributions from basically everybody today so I’m really proud of our group for finishing out the homestand.”
 
On Zada Williams
I had no idea what she was doing until somebody on the bench said something. She went 11 for 13 [shooting], which is something she’s been very consistent. Being efficient with her touches. I’ve wanted to see more out of her in rebounding, just pursuing the ball out of her area a little more. So, for her to get 19 tonight was great, especially the offensive rebounds. Just being a presence on the floor in only 24 minutes, but also only having two fouls. That’s one area that she’s still trying to work on her game to just not get silly fouls. She’s deserving of the day she had, and I thought our team did a really good job of making a concerted effort to get her the ball.”
 
On bouncing back from the losses…
“I wasn’t sure how we were going to be today because the last couple days we’ve had a couple players who were dinged up and didn’t really practice. We only had one full day to prepare for this, so I wasn’t sure if that would affect our energy and our endurance. We got after it. Another part of that is when you see the ball going through the basket, it helps you a lot to play with more energy. I liked how hard and aggressive we played today as a team. Just all the contributions. Faith [Dut] and Brylee [Bartram] didn’t score points, but they affected the game and made some really nice plays. For as young as they are, what they’re doing right now as freshmen is just tremendous for us.”
 
On Kristina Moore
“One thing we talk to Kris about is just slowing down at times. Sometimes she plays so fast, like the one charge she had. When she really slows down and stays patient, she can knock down shots. It effects the game in a number of areas because she plays so hard. For her to have nine [points] and six [rebounds] today with two assists and being pretty efficient from the floor was really good. It just comes from how hard she plays. She’s such an energetic and great teammate to have for our team.”
 
 
Redshirt-senior Forward Zada Williams
On her career night…
“It felt really good. My teammates believed in me the entire game and they made me have confidence. Shout out to my teammates. They kept giving me the ball, kept finding me… overall great team basketball.”

On Danielle Rainey’s support after her last rebound…
“It’s amazing. When you’re not on the court you have to find ways to contribute to the team, and Danielle’s been able to do that since day one. I really appreciate her and hearing her. You know, I heard her when I was on the court so just letting her know that I [had her back], it was great.”
 
On how playing top 25 teams aided preparation for this game…
“We go hard every day in practice, so it wasn’t necessarily that they prepared us, but they did teach us finishing out games is very important. The last couple games, [in] the last quarter we gave up more points than we would’ve hoped for. But just to go hard and play as hard as you can, no matter who you’re playing, top ten or another team.”
 
Freshman Lavender Briggs
On how the team is finding chemistry so early in the season…
“We’re executing the plays and finding all of the looks and passing up good shots for great shots.”
 
On the team finishing strong in the fourth quarter…
“We were just trying to work on things we needed to work on to help us prepare for our next games. We wanted to play hard until the end.”
 
On her adjusting to the college game…
“It has slowed down quite a bit, but I’m still working on trying to get a little bit slower. “
 
NOTABLES

  • Sunday marked the final game of UF’s season-long six-game homestand, its longest since the 2005-06 season. That season Florida hosted eight straight.
  • The Gators are outscoring their opponents 134-91 in the second quarter, their best scoring margin in any quarter so far this season.
  • Florida’s 5-2 start to open the season is its best since the 2016-17 campaign when it started 6-1.
  • Florida has held its opponent under its season scoring average in five-straight games.
  • Florida moves to 10-5 all-time against FAMU with an 84-40 win on Sunday.
  • The Gators had four players reach double figures in scoring (Williams – 22, Briggs – 17, Johnson – 14, Smith – 10)
  • Four different Gators made at least one 3-point field goal on the day (Briggs – 2, Smith – 2, Moore – 1, Johnson – 1)
    • Briggs’ two three-pointers marks the fourth consecutive game hitting at least two treys.

 
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