Sydney Searcy

Searcy, filling in for Funda Nakkasoglu, turned in a valiant attempt at replacing the Gators’ leading scorer in Florida's 85-71 loss to Stetson. She made 4-of-8 from the floor, including three buckets from beyond the arc in her first start of her career.

Cecilia Lemus / Alligator Staff

With the final minute winding down in the game, Sydney Searcy hoisted a three-point attempt in the right-hand corner directly off an inbound pass, and swished it.

The bucket from Searcy pulled the Gators within 8 and capped off a late 13-2 Gators run, but it would be the closest they would get after halftime to catching the Stetson Hatters Wednesday night. Stetson rode its three-point shooting to an 85-71 win over UF in the second game of the Savannah Invitational.

Searcy, filling in for Funda Nakkasoglu, turned in a valiant attempt at replacing the Gators’ leading scorer. She made 4-of-8 from the floor, including three buckets from beyond the arc in her first start of her career. Nakkasoglu is nursing an ankle she injured in the first game of the Savannah Invitational and is described by coach Cam Newbauer as day-to-day.

“It’s unfortunate for Funda after having such a great night last night,” Newbauer said. “But it’s a great opportunity for the rest of our team to step up and for us to figure out another way to win without her.”

After the first quarter against Stetson, the Gators led by one. However, the Hatters outscored the Gators, 28-19, in the second quarter after a buzzer-beating elbow jumper from Stetson made it an 8-point Hatters lead. Florida did not get back within that margin until Searcy’s late three-pointer with 40 seconds remaining in the game.

Aside from Searcy, the only other Gators to hit a three-ball were Dyandria Anderson (5-of-11) and Delicia Washington (1-of-9). Anderson finished the game with a career-high 21 points while shooting 50 percent from the field.

However, the career day for Anderson wasn’t nearly enough for UF. Just one day after the Gators set a school record for most three-pointers in a game with 15 against Richmond, the Hatters were able to beat Florida at its own game by hitting on 11-of-19 three-point shots. Stetson also got to the foul line 19 times, hitting 16 free throws, compared to the Gators going just 6-for-11 from the stripe.

Florida will finish up its trip with the third and final game of the Savannah Invitational Thanksgiving night at 7 against Savannah State. The Tigers come into that matchup having lost their previous two games in the tournament by a combined 67 points.

Newbauer, speaking after the game, said he was not impressed with his team’s night.

“I mean, we showed up,” Newbauer said. “I wouldn’t say we had our best effort by any stretch of the imagination. It doesn't matter who's not here, who's playing or who's not playing.”

You can follow Morgan McMullen on Twitter @MorganMcMuffin, and contact him at [email protected].

Morgan is a sports writer covering the University of Florida women's soccer team. He's previously covered the Gators women's golf team. Spring of 2016 was his first semester with the Alligator.