Senior center Tyshara Fleming has accrued a lot of nicknames during her career at Florida.
Most teammates and coaches call her “Ty,” a simple abbreviation for her first name. Others were more creative and dubbed her “The Silent Assassin” for her quiet and unassuming nature.
Fellow senior Ronni Williams even refers to Fleming as her “twin,” as both players are always “on the same page.”
But if there was one nickname that rang true for her on Wednesday afternoon, it was “Ty Swatter.”
With UF looking to keep its season alive against Arkansas in the first round of the SEC Tournament, Fleming tied a career high with five blocked shots as well as nine rebounds and two steals.
The 6-foot-4 post player’s disruptive interior presence helped limit the Razorbacks to 34.7 percent shooting from the field and led the Gators to a plus-18 rebounding differential, ultimately making the difference in a 71-61 victory for Florida.
Along with Fleming’s tone-setting defensive performance, UF also received impressive outings from Williams and junior guard Dyandria Anderson.
Williams led the Gators in scoring with 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the floor to go along with 12 rebounds, two assists and two steals. Anderson stuffed the stat sheet as well, notching 19 points, nine rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks.
After an evenly contested opening half that saw Florida and Arkansas enter the intermission tied 29-29, UF’s stout defensive play took over in the third quarter.
The Gators held the Razorbacks to 33 percent shooting, forced eight turnovers and blocked four shots in the period.
Multiple jumpers from Williams and Anderson as well as trips to the free-throw line for Fleming and guard Delicia Washington propelled UF on a 19-2 run near the end of the frame, giving it a 52-37 lead.
UF’s third quarter outburst was ultimately too much for Arkansas to overcome in the final 10 minutes of action.
The Gators blocked three more shots and corralled four offensive rebounds in the game’s final period, sealing the victory and advancing to the next stage of the bracket.
Wednesday’s first round matchup against Arkansas at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina, ends a two-game losing streak for Florida at the SEC Tournament.
Entering the season, UF hadn’t won in the conference postseason since March 6, 2014, when it defeated Mississippi State 71-67 in the second round.
Now, the Gators have an opportunity to win two games in the SEC Tournament for the first time in over two decades. Florida’s next matchup comes tonight at 8:30 p.m. against Texas A&M in the second round.
UF is 0-2 this season against the Aggies, losing 67-59 on Jan. 15 in Gainesville and 84-76 on Feb. 2 in College Station.
UF center Tyshara Fleming attempts a lay-up during Florida's 57-53 win against Arkansas on Feb. 9, 2017, in the O'Connell Center.