The Florida women’s basketball team is now 1-0 in the post-Eleanna Christinaki era.
After news broke an hour before tip-off that their leading scorer had left the program, the depleted No. 23 Gators blew out the unranked North Carolina A&T Aggies 67-38 on Sunday afternoon at the Billy Harrison Field House in Panama City, Florida.
Playing with only eight active players, UF outscored NCA&T 40-11 in the final 13:58 of the contest behind 10 second-half points from freshman guard Delicia Washington, her fourth double-digit performance of 2016.
Washington, who was suspended for the first two quarters of play, shot 4-for-6 from the field and pulled down four rebounds to help lead Florida’s late-game surge.
Junior forward Brooke Copeland also nailed three 3-pointers and netted a season-high 13 points in her first start of the year, while senior forward Ronni Williams scored nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Every player in uniform for UF scored at least one basket, with seven of the eight tallying eight points or more, using a total team effort from the Gators to end their two-game losing streak.
Defensively, Florida (7-3) held the Aggies (1-7) to a meager 22.7 percent field goal percentage and allowed only two points in the fourth quarter.
Redshirt senior guard Dana Brown led all players in scoring with 16 for NCA&T, but also missed 17 field-goal attempts behind suffocating defense from UF’s guards.
The Aggies’ 38 points is the lowest total the Gators have allowed in a game since their 85-33 opening-night win over South Alabama on Nov. 11.
Moving forward for Florida, Washington, Copeland and Williams will all need to continue to play well offensively with the permanent loss of sophomore guard Christinaki.
The native of Athens, Greece, quit the team on Saturday after also receiving a first-half suspension against NCA&T for “a violation of team culture,” according to the program’s communications director Kathy Cafazzo.
Christinaki led UF with 17.6 points per game and held team highs in 3-point field goals made, free throws made and minutes played while starting the first nine games of the season.
Next up for the Gators, they will face Indiana on Dec. 20 and Florida A&M on Dec. 21 in the Florida Sunshine Classic in Winter Park, Florida, to conclude their 12-game road trip to start the year.
UF will then host its first home game in the newly renovated Exactech Arena on Dec. 28 against Southeastern Louisiana.
UF guard Brooke Copeland drives into the paint during Florida's win against Savannah State on Nov. 24, 2015.