With less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Florida guard Dyandria Anderson stopped her dribble and launched a cross court pass to teammate Funda Nakkasoglu. Nakkasoglu caught the ball, launched a three from the corner of the court and watched it fall through the bottom of the net.
The shot pushed the Gators lead to 10 late in the fourth quarter, helping UF earn its sixth victory of the season against Marshall, 74-69, at the O’Connell Center on Sunday.
After the game, coach Cameron Newbauer credited his players for holding off the Fighting Herd despite it making a late comeback attempt in the fourth quarter.
“We hung on and showed some resolve and some resilience and took care of business,” Newbauer said. “It wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take it.”
Nakkasoglu’s shot late in the game was Florida’s 13th made basket from behind the three-point line. The junior finished the contest with 17 points on 5-of-14 shooting.
Anderson was also successful from downtown, nailing 5-of-10 attempts from behind the arc and scoring a team-high 18 points. She also had four assists and went 3-for-4 from the free-throw line.
Despite holding a 16-point advantage at the end of three quarters, Florida (6-4) squandered its lead, allowing Marshall (3-6) to cut its deficit to two with 12 seconds left in the game.
When asked if the team got too complacent to begin the fourth quarter, Anderson said the defense failed to do its job.
“We weren’t talking, we weren’t getting our hands up on shooters and we were letting them drive past us,” Anderson said. “Our defense was not where it should’ve been when we came out at halftime.”
After cutting the lead to two, Marshall sent Nakkasoglu to the free-throw line where she made 1-of-2 attempts. The Fighting Herd then missed a tying-three point attempt and fouled guard Delicia Washington, where she made both of her shots from the charity stripe to seal the victory for Florida.
The Gators will now have 10 days off before hosting Chattanooga on Dec. 20 at noon.
Newbauer said the break will give his team time to focus on finals week and heal from “nagging injuries,” a few of which occurred during Sunday’s game.
Guard Sydney Searcy busted her lip midway through the second quarter, while forward Jalaysha Thomas was poked in the eye halfway through the third.
“I think our young ladies need a break,” Newbauer said. “We’ve got a lot of people that work really, really hard. So getting that rest to focus on finals, but also a break from the work they’ve done already, will be good.”Contact Justin Ahlum at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @justinn_case1.