The Florida women’s basketball team once again had a chance to earn its first win of the year. They had a second half lead, and were down by only two points with eight minutes left. Funda Nakkasoglu was writing another chapter in her brilliant season en route to a 23-point performance.
The Gators could not close it out once again.
It was more of the same at the O’Connell Center on Wednesday night, as Northeastern (6-0) defeated Florida (0-6) by a score of 79-66 as the Gators’ worst-ever start to a season continues.
A small and scrappy Huskies team gave Cam Newbauer’s Florida squad fits all night, using the three-point ball and stout defense to end the game on a 19-8 run and tie a program record for its second-best ever start to a season.
“Hats off to Northeastern. Tough, gritty ball club that deserved to win this game today,” Newbauer said. “We gotta keep working. We gotta keep grinding.”
Florida had no answer for Northeastern guard Jess Genco, who proved lethal from beyond the three-point arc, going 8-of-14 en route to a game-high 26 points. Northeastern, which averaged five three-pointers a game coming into the night, drilled 13 on 26 tries against UF.
The Huskies had a much better night than Florida did from the field, shooting at a 51-percent clip for the game. The Gators, meanwhile, shot just 35 percent.
Nakkasoglu was once again UF’s top performer. She went 5-of-9 from three-point range and her 23 points more than doubled the total of Florida’s next highest scorer, guard Kiara Smith, who had 11. Forward Paige Robinson led the team with 10 rebounds despite only playing 25 minutes.
Florida had a scare in the second quarter when Nakkasoglu had to be carried off the court after a fall. Luckily for the Gators, she was able to return just a few minutes later.
“I just lost my balance when the other girl ran into me,” Nakkasoglu said. “Just rolled my ankle, tweaked it then. But it’ll be fine.”
It was a tough night for Florida’s second leading scorer, Delicia Washington. The guard was just 4-of-14 shooting on her way to a 10-point performance.
“This isn’t fun,” Newbauer said of his team’s start to the season. “But we have to stick to the process of fighting and sticking together, and learning what that really means and looks like.”
Follow Sam Campisano on Twitter @samcampisano or contact him at email@example.com.
Guard Funda Nakkasoglu is the SEC's second-leading scorer, and she contributed a team-high 16 points as well as two rebounds and a steal in the Gators 56-53 loss to UNLV.