Indiana feasted on the Florida women’s basketball team on the eve of Thanksgiving in Bloomington, beating the Gators 83-64 to push UF to a program-worst 0-5 start.
The Florida women’s basketball team seemed like it was going to pick up its first win of the…
The first half was close. Both Florida and Indiana exchanged shots from all over the court. Junior guard Delicia Washington was pinpoint accurate and kept her team in the game with 11 points and seven rebounds in the opening two quarters. She traded baskets with a balanced Hoosier attack that took advantage of the soft zone defense by the Gators.
Guard Funda Nakkasoglu didn’t have as much to be thankful for as Washington. The redshirt senior came into the afternoon as the SEC's leading scorer with 23 points per game but was held to just four points on 2-of-4 shooting in the first half.
“They did a great job of making us uncomfortable and took away a lot of what we wanted to do execution wise,” coach Cam Newbauer said in a release.
The Australian was frustrated all game by IU’s feisty guard, Bendu Yeaney, who was in her face and contested every shot she made. Even without her usual offensive consistency, Florida went into the half trailing by just six points.
But Indiana opened up the scoring in the second half. Washington was forced to sit for most of the third quarter due to early foul trouble, and the Hoosiers took advantage.
IU outscored UF 23-13 in the third period and ended the quarter on a 7-0 run. Forward Brenna Wise, who finished the game with a season-high 18 points on only six shots, did most of the heavy lifting in the frame and scored 11 points.
The Gators continued to fall behind in the fourth quarter as the fast-paced Indiana offense forced them to descend even deeper into foul trouble. The Hoosiers finished with a big advantage at the charity stripe, making 15 free throws to just four by Florida on 12 tries.
Washington still finished the game with 22 points despite missing most of the third quarter. The 5-foot-10 guard picked up where she left off with nine points in the final frame to try and bring her team back. She was helped by fellow guard Kiara Smith, who rotated in for a struggling Nakkasoglu. The SEC’s leading scorer finished the game with just five points and was 0-for-3 from three-point range.
Smith scored 14 points and grabbed four rebounds, but the effort wasn’t enough. Indiana pulled away in the final period with a 9-0 run led by Wise and senior forward Kym Royster.
The foul trouble, as well as the poor shooting at the free-throw line, will be priorities before the Gators come back to Gainesville to face off against Northeastern on Nov. 28.
"We played against a really good Indiana team today and they presented us with a lot of challenges with their defense,” Newbauer said. “We will continue to learn and fight to get and be better.”
Follow Dylan Rudolph on Twitter at @dyrudolph and contact him at [email protected].