Entering the fourth quarter down by 13, the Florida women’s basketball team was on the brink of another SEC loss on its home floor. But forward Haley Lorenzen had other ideas.
The senior forward led the Gators to a thrilling comeback in the final frame of Sunday’s contest against Ole Miss, making a shot-clock beating three toward the end of the game and a block in the final seconds to seal the 61-60 victory.
“I’ve been challenged by my teammates and also by coach Cam (Newbauer),” Lorenzen said. “At first, I kind of looked at that as a lot to handle, but then I looked at it as ‘this is what I’m meant to do and this is what I need to do for my team.’”
Lorenzen is nearly averaging a double-double this season (12.9 points, 9.6 rebounds) and has grabbed double-digit boards in each of the last five games.
Her vocal leadership is also noticeable on the court. The Gators have benefitted from her ability to make plays in the paint, scoring a majority of her field goals near the basket this season.
But Lorenzen isn’t the only player to take the reins for Florida. Sophomore Delicia Washington has stepped into a bigger role in the Gators’ offense as well, recently limiting her turnovers to just 10 total over the team’s past four games.
“Delicia’s pace continues to improve,” Newbauer said on Sunday. “She had some great decisions tonight with her shot selection and made some really big shots.”
Newbauer isn’t the only one taking notice, either. Her teammates have noticed the upward trend in Washington’s play over the past couple games as well.
“She has grown so much from the start of the season,” Lorenzen said. “To see this kind of growth from her gets me excited as her Gator sister. Just seeing her grow like this is truly amazing.”
The better play from Lorenzen, Washington and the rest of the Gators has led to two straight victories, Florida’s first winning streak of 2018.
“You’ve got moments in seasons where things happen and you can kind of know that maybe something’s turned,” Newbauer said. “To come back from being down 13 and to put us in a position right there, that’s one of those moments that you want everybody to see it.”
Follow Justin Ahlum on Twitter @justinn_case1 and contact him at email@example.com.
Haley Lorenzen had 7 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks in the fourth quarter of a 61-60 win against Ole Miss at the O'Connell Center on Sunday.