As Alyssa Rice ripped down an offensive board over a swarm of bodies and kicked it out to Makayla Epps on the perimeter, a look of despair spread across the faces of Florida’s bench.
UF – normally one of the top rebounding teams in the SEC – simply had no answer for Kentucky on Sunday. It was too overpowering on the glass.
Playing in front of a crowd of 6,604, the Wildcats defeated the Gators 67-48 at Memorial Coliseum this weekend to hold Florida to its lowest point total in 2017.
UK generated a whopping 25 second-chance points off 13 offensive rebounds, taking advantage of poor box outs from UF in the paint.
Kentucky (19-8, 10-4 SEC) also converted 23 Florida turnovers into an additional 24 points, leading coach Amanda Butler to praise the Wildcats after the contest.
“You’ve got to give Kentucky credit,” she said in a video posted to YouTube. “We’ve just got to play with a lot more fight.”
Senior forward Evelyn Akhator topped all scorers with 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field to go along with nine rebounds and three steals. Sophomore guard Maci Morris tallied 15 points of her own, and Epps contributed as well with 14 points and three assists.
For Florida (13-14, 4-10 SEC), freshman guard Delicia Washington led the way with 14 points and three assists. Senior forward Ronni Williams continued her solid season with 12 points and six rebounds, and freshman guard Sydney Morang knocked down two three-point jumpers on the way to a 10-point outing.
Both teams started out evenly-matched in the first half, with the Gators trailing by only four points after 20 minutes of action.
Florida shot 52 percent from the field in the half and scored 18 points in the paint.
However, Kentucky hit the ground running to start the third quarter, opening the period on a 16-4 run behind baskets from Epps, Akhator and Morris to take a 47-33 lead.
From there, momentum completely shifted in UK’s favor.
The Wildcats outscored UF 17-11 in the final frame of play, sealing the victory and sending the Gators to their 10th conference loss this season.
“We turned the ball over too much,” Butler said. “We forced a lot of things… too many possessions where we flat out threw it out of bounds.”
One player of note missing for Florida on Sunday was junior forward Haley Lorenzen, who was inactive for the first time this year after spraining her ankle earlier in the week against Missouri.
As one of UF’s best post players averaging 6.4 rebounds per game, Lorenzen’s absence played a big role in her team’s discrepancies on the glass against Kentucky.
“We’re one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the league, but one of our best offensive rebounders wasn’t available tonight,” Butler said. “Our guards needed to pick up the slack a little bit more and that didn’t happen.”
UF guard Delicia Washington looks to pass during Florida's 84-75 loss to Ole Miss on Feb. 6, 2017, in the O'Connell Center.