With less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Funda Nakkasoglu ran down the floor before taking the ball across the halfcourt line. She fell and remained down on the sideline for several moments. With coach Cameron Newbauer to her left, the junior transfer walked off the court gingerly and was replaced by freshman Tameria Johnson.
Before she suffered the injury, Nakkasoglu led the Gators to their second win of the season against the Richmond Spiders, 87-80, in their opening game of the Savannah Invitational.
Nakkasoglu scored a season-high 25 points on 8-of-11 shooting and converted on 78 percent of her attempts from beyond the arc.
As a team, Florida nailed 15 of-30 from three-point range, with six players connecting from downtown.
“We’ll take it,” Newbauer said. “We love to chuck it from the cheap seats. I didn’t even realize we hit that many threes.”
Delicia Washington and Haley Lorenzen each had bounce-back games after struggling in a loss to Florida State last Friday. After combining for only one field goal against the Seminoles, Washington and Lorenzen scored a total of 30 points on 9-of-21 shooting and only two turnovers against the Spiders on Tuesday, with Lorenzen recording her second double-double during the win.
The Gators took care of their problems on the glass as well. UF allowed only nine offensive rebounds against Richmond after giving up double-digit efforts in each of their three games to open the season.
Despite the victory, Nakkasoglu’s injury dampened the moment, as the Gators could be without their best player when they take the court tomorrow Wednesday against Stetson. Nakkasoglu has been Florida’s best scorer this season as well as its primary ball handler. Losing her for any amount of time could force Newbauer to turn to either Washington or senior Dyandria Anderson to run the offense.
For Richmond (3-2), struggles from the field cost it the game, shooting only 44 percent. Although though the score was close heading into the fourth, Florida took the contest into its hands and never relinquished the lead in the final frame, going on a 15-2 run to start the quarter and seal the victory.
Newbauer said the team wasn’t surprised by the toughness of the Spiders and called the outing a “great opportunity” for the Gators.
“We knew they were going to attack, we knew they were going to get up and down the floor fast,” he said. “But games like this early in the season are good for you.”
You can follow Justin Ahlum on Twitter @justinn_case1, and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.