With 4.2 seconds to play and Florida trailing by two at Arkansas, the Gators inbounded the ball.

It went to junior guard Simone Westbrook, a transfer player who’s known more for her defense and potency from beyond the arc.

But instead of trying for a long-range game-winner, Westbrook drove into the lane for a jumper and sent the game to overtime.

Florida outlasted the Razorbacks in the extra period, winning 71-66 on Thursday night.

Florida struck first in overtime after an Eleanna Christinaki layup.

That basket wasn’t decisive, but her next one was.

After four lead changes over the five-minute period, Florida had final say when Christinaki laid in another layup to put UF up 67-66. She led the Gators with 16 points.

Following her final points, the Gators (17-4, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) were able to hold on for the remaining 17 seconds, besting the Razorbacks (9-12, 4-4 SEC) on Thursday night in Fayetteville.

"To win an overtime game on someone else’s home floor is very hard to do, and I’m just really proud that we executed with such precision in such critical moments," Florida coach Amanda Butler said after the game.

While the game’s ending was exciting, the rest of it was not.

And it could’ve gotten out of hand early for Florida if not for the unlikely hot hand of post player Carla Batchelor.

Usually used in relief of starter Ronni Williams, Batchelor was forced into the game early when Williams picked up her second foul less than three minutes into the first half.

While she came in shooting 29.2 percent from the three-point line, Batchelor went 3-for-3 from behind the arc in the first half.

"She played like a senior on the road," Butler said.

"When she got good looks, she knocked them down … it was huge minutes for us."

The rest of the team was abysmal in the first half, shooting 7-of-23 with 10 turnovers.

"In the first half we were disappointed," Butler said.

"We were disappointed with the way that we played."

Luckily for Florida, Arkansas also struggled.

While the Razorbacks shot a slightly better 11-of-29, they committed 13 turnovers.

The teams’ combined difficulties resulted in a festival of mediocrity in the first half, an indication as to how the rest of the game would play out.

The Gators have been notorious for their third quarter struggles this season, but on Thursday night, they finished the quarter tied at 44-44.

Despite their shaky third quarter play this season, the Gators are also notorious for turning it on in the fourth.

However, that didn’t happen either, and the score remained tied at the end of regulation.

In all, the lead changed 16 times, a statistic indicative of how close the game was and how poorly the two teams played.

For the Gators, however, getting another SEC win was important.

With their next three games being against opponents ranked in the top 12, a win over Arkansas could potentially serve as motivation moving forward.

The first of those three games will be against the No. 12 Kentucky Wildcats on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the O’Connell Center.

A radio broadcast contributed to this report.

Contact Ethan Bauer [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ebaueri

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