It was Chloe Jackson’s world, and the Florida women’s basketball team was simply living in it on Thursday night.
The redshirt sophomore guard scored a career-high 34 points, including 21 in the first half, and dished out five assists, handing UF a 78-67 defeat against LSU at the Maravich Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The Gators (9-6, 0-2 Southeastern Conference) struggled to generate anything offensively against the Tigers (12-3, 1-1 SEC), shooting a lackluster 38.5 percent from the floor while committing 28 turnovers.
Senior forward Ronni Williams notched 22 points and 10 rebounds while junior forward Haley Lorenzen tallied 18 points and 12 rebounds to both finish with double-doubles, but it wasn’t enough to keep UF from losing its fifth SEC road game over its previous seven contests.
LSU’s defense created problems early on for Florida.
The Tigers forced the Gators into committing 10 turnovers and held them to 31 percent shooting in the first quarter.
“We just turned the ball over too much,” coach Amanda Butler said in a release. “It’s really disappointing because it seems like it’s silly turnovers, just ball reversal when someone’s in the passing lane and we don’t seem to see them.”
A 9-0 run capitalized by a three-pointer from Jackson gave LSU a 15-8 lead with 2:07 left in the frame, and the home team didn’t have to worry much from there.
Jackson did most of her damage in the second quarter, scoring 14 of her team’s 19 points in the frame to lead the Tigers to 53.8 percent shooting from the field. UF, on the other hand, continued to be reckless with the basketball, turning it over another six times to find itself down 36-27 at halftime.
Things continued to get worse for Florida, as it missed its first 14 shots to begin the third quarter and increased its deficit to 15 heading into the final frame.
A brief 15-6 run to begin the fourth pulled the Gators to within six points with 5:00 left in the game, but that’s as close as they got. Multiple fastbreak layups from Jackson and junior guard Raigyne Moncrief late in the contest sealed the victory for the Tigers and kept UF winless in conference play.
“They did exactly what we prepared for them to do,” Butler said. “I thought we made it easy on them. They are great players, though. You have to give them a lot of credit for their effort.”
Next up, UF will host South Carolina on Sunday at noon. The No. 5 Gamecocks (12-1, 2-0 SEC) have won seven consecutive games against the Gators, including an 86-71 victory in Columbia last season.
Florida's Ronni Williams shoots the ball during UF's 92-69 loss to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament on March 4, 2016, in the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.