The Florida women’s basketball team seemed like it was going to pick up its first win of the season with three minutes left in regulation.
The Gators (0-4) were up 70-59 at home over Northwestern (4-0). They led for the majority of the afternoon and were in control.
It all fell apart. UF forwards Zada Williams and Paige Robinson fouled out within seconds of each other. There were turnovers. Missed shots. Mistakes.
The Wildcats capped off their comeback when Jordan Hamilton hit an off-balance layup with less than a second left to tie the game at 72.
It was all Northwestern in overtime, and the Wildcats came away with an 83-74 victory.
“You gotta close out a game. You have to play 40 minutes,” UF coach Cam Newbauer said. “We did not complete the game. They deserved to win.”
Northwestern scored 11 unanswered points to tie the game at 70 with under a minute left. Florida freshman Kristina Moore converted on the biggest layup of her life to put UF back ahead with 15 seconds left. The Gators had a chance to win it after Hamilton leveled the score for Northwestern, but Delicia Washington’s game-winning layup didn’t leave her hands before time expired.
Once again, Florida’s dynamic guard duo of Washington and Funda Nakkasoglu did the bulk of the scoring for the Gators, combining for over half of UF’s points for the fourth time this season. Nakkasoglu led the way on Sunday, going 3-5 from three-point range en route to a 26-point performance. It was Nakkasoglu’s 27th straight game with a three-pointer, the second-longest streak in program history.
Washington added 14 points and nine rebounds of her own, but she wasn’t as successful when it came to shooting. She hit five of 20 shots, and went just 1-12 from beyond the arc. The Gators struggled from three-point range as a team, going 5-for-31 on the afternoon.
“A lot of these shots we’re missing we make every day in practice,” Newbauer said. “We’re gonna keep shooting these shots and we’re gonna stay the course.”
Williams had a solid game despite fouling out. In 21 minutes, she scored 14 points on 7-9 shooting. Guard Kiara Smith also had a good performance, snagging nine rebounds to go along with four points.
In the end, it wasn’t enough to overcome the Wildcats. Four Northwestern players put up double-digit points, including 22 from guard Lindsey Pulliam. Forwards Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah and Abi Scheid each scored 18.
“When you get punched, you can’t wobble. And we wobbled a little too much,” Newbauer said. “We’ll all learn from this.”
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Guard Delicia Washington released her potential game-winning layup too late as time expired in regulation. Florida went to overtime with Northwestern and lost, 83-74.