With two and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter, Florida guard Paulina Hersler received a pass at the top of the key. She stepped back, jumped up and drained the three-pointer, giving the Gators a 24-point advantage, their largest lead of the contest.

The basket was Florida’s seventh connection from behind the arc in the game, as UF beat Saint Joseph’s, 71-51, at the O’Connell Center on Thursday afternoon.

The Gators looked like a much different team against the Hawks than they did on Wednesday against Chattanooga. After notching just two assists in the second half against the Mocs, Florida (7-5) showed improvements passing the ball against Saint Joseph’s (5-7), helping all five of UF’s starters record double-digit outings.

The scoring was also spread across all four quarters. UF scored at least 15 points in every frame on Thursday, showing a sense of consistency the Gators have lacked throughout the season.

Coach Cameron Newbauer was pleased with the result following the win, citing the team’s ability to push the ball up the floor.

“We haven't done that as much as we would like to,” Newbauer said in a release. “But we did a better job of that in the second half."

Florida put together a series of short runs throughout the game to slowly increase its lead. In the fourth quarter, the Gators went on a 10-0 run behind baskets from guard Delicia Washington and forward Mikayla Hayes to increase their lead to 20 points with six minutes remaining.

Hersler led all scorers, posting 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting in 30 minutes of action. She led the Gators with three three-pointers.

Washington had a near-perfect shooting day, converting seven of her eight shots from the field for 14 points. Washington also pulled down seven rebounds during the contest.

Forward Haley Lorenzen added 12 points and 10 rebounds, giving her a double-double for the second straight contest and five total on the season.

“We took some good shots,” Newbauer said. “Other people stepped up and did a good job of taking charge."

After playing on back-to-back days, the Gators won’t see the court again until next Wednesday at 2 p.m. when they face Delaware State at the O’Connell Center. They will then begin SEC play with a trip to Auburn on Dec. 31.

Contact Justin Ahlum at jahlum@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @justinn_case1. 

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