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Monday, June 24, 2024

Three days after one of its biggest wins of the season, the UF women's basketball team took a giant step backward.

The Gators (15-9, 4-5 Southeastern Conference) reverted to their old ways on the road, allowing Mississippi State (15-9, 3-6 SEC) to score the first 20 points of the ballgame on the way to an 83-71 Bulldogs victory Sunday.

UF coach Amanda Butler took all the blame in her post-game radio show.

"I don't know if it was a funk or what," Butler said. "Clearly we weren't ready from the beginning, which is my fault. … There's not anybody in this league that's supposed to have us down 20 to nothing."

It was definitely not the start the Gators wanted, as Butler burned two timeouts during the Bulldogs' game-opening run, but to no avail.

UF did not score until Marshae Dotson made a turnaround hook at the 14:44 mark. The Gators committed 26 turnovers, including 16 in the first half. In their first eight possessions, they missed four shots and committed four turnovers.

The lone bright spot was sophomore guard Jennifer Mossor. She made her second start of the season in place of injured point guard Lonnika Thompson, who is day-to-day with a separated left shoulder. Mossor had a career-high 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting, including 4 of 8 from behind the arc. Senior guard Depree Bowden scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds while Dotson and Sha Brooks each contributed 10.

While it was far from her best day, Dotson did finally break the 1,000 career points mark on a free-throw with 6:25 left in the game.

For a team fighting for an NCAA Tournament bid and coming off a big home victory against Auburn on Thursday, the showing was much less than desired.

"Quite frankly, I was just embarrassed at how soft we had played in the first half," Butler said. "It's just an awful time to have our worst performance of the year."

Radio and television broadcasts contributed to this report.

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