With slightly over seven minutes remaining in Monday night’s game, Florida held a one-point lead over No. 15 Missouri. However, when the last shot missed the rim and the contest went final, the Gators dropped their eighth SEC game of the season and their third straight conference game against a ranked opponent.
UF’s 66-64 road loss to the Tigers on Monday was the team’s closest loss in terms of final score during its current three-game losing streak. It was also UF’s sixth conference loss by single digits.
Down by two with 10 seconds remaining, Florida guard Funda Nakkasoglu circled to the right-side corner. She picked up her dribble after her de…
Despite another losing effort, coach Cameron Newbauer said he was impressed with his team's energy.
“We made big plays when we had to and made stops,” Newbauer said in a release.
Throughout Monday’s game, the Gators went basket for basket with another ranked program out of the SEC.
The lead changed 10 times against the Tigers, and the Gators’ deficit never ballooned larger than six points.
“I could not be more proud of this group and their fight tonight on the road against a top-15 team,” Newbauer said.
The loss to Missouri closely mirrored Florida’s mid-season matchup with Kentucky. Both teams went back and forth in the fourth quarter until Florida guard Funda Nakkasoglu missed a three-pointer in the final seconds to end the contest.
At the time, both UF and the Wildcats were fighting for their first conference win of the season. Now, just a month and a half later, Florida is playing neck and neck with teams cemented at the top of the SEC — a conference many would argue is the best league in women’s college basketball.
The Gators held their own for much of the first half against No. 2 Mississippi State on Jan. 25 before the Bulldogs pulled away in the latter part of the contest.
Just a few nights later, Florida held a seven-point lead over No. 20 Georgia midway through the second half. The Bulldogs needed a 31-point surge from their offense in the final quarter to avoid the upset.
Despite the tough losses to high-caliber teams this season, the Gators are taking these losses with a grain of salt.
“I’m tremendously proud of our fight and team effort,” Newbauer said. “They played their guts out.”
A story from floridagators.com contributed to this report.