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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Gators head to Ole Miss with hopes for second straight conference win

Florida seeks another SEC win as the Gators travel to Oxford Sunday

After securing their first conference win against Auburn, the Gators the Gators hit the road for a Sunday matchup against Ole Miss.

With a 1-4 conference record, Ole Miss enters the matchup a half game above Florida in the SEC standings. The Rebels are on a three-game losing streak after a lone conference win against Auburn. Ole Miss boasts a 6-2 home record, while Florida owns a 1-4 road record.

Although both teams average around 75 points per game, Florida allows 65.6 points per game and Ole Miss gives up about seven points less on average. While average three-point shooting teams, the Rebels make more than 48% of their shot attempts inside the arc. 

The Gators are shooting under 40% from the field during conference play, which doesn’t bode well as the Rebels limit their opponents to shoot just 37% from the field.

Gator Gameplan

Offensively, Florida will rely heavily on star guards Lavender Briggs and Kiara Smith, who combined for 40 points in the win over Auburn. 

Smith recorded her third double-double of the season after netting 22 points and grabbing 13 boards. Through six SEC games, Briggs averages a team-high 23.2 points per game and shoots more than 41% from three.

Despite averaging nine points and a team-high 7 rebounds, sophomore guard Nina Rickards has struggled of late. Since the start of conference play, the five-foot-nine guard has eclipsed 10 points just once and failed to record a rebound against Arkansas.

Sophomore forward Faith Dut hasn’t contributed a whole lot through the first six SEC games. The Vancouver native has scored fewer than three points in half of Florida’s conference games. Dut averaged over seven points in non-conference action.

Hungry Rebels

The Rebels leading scorer and rebounder Shakira Austin averages nearly 18 points and eight rebounds per game. The junior forward shoots more than half from the field, but Georgia held Austin to just 13 points last week. 

Ole Miss guard Donnetta Johnson recently caught fire and averaged 14.4 points through five conference games. Redshirt junior guard Mimi Reid ranks second in the SEC in assists, averaging 5.4 dimes per game. Freshman forward Snudda Collins ranks fifth in the SEC in three-point shooting, firing nearly 45% from deep.

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The key for Ole Miss will be its ability to win the turnover battle. The Rebels cause opponents to turn the ball over nearly 21 times each game and they average over 20 points per game off turnovers. However, it may be difficult for Ole Miss to generate turnovers against a Florida team that averages under 14 turnovers per game.

Look to history

Florida’s matchup with Ole Miss is 23-19, tipping in favor of the Gators. Under coach Cam Newbauer, the Gators have a 3-3 record with the Rebels. 

The previous seven meetings were won by single digits. Florida faced Ole Miss last season at home. Briggs, who was a freshman at the time, led the Gators to a narrow 74-72 victory through 23 points and eight rebounds.

How to catch the game

The Gators and Rebels are set to tip off at the Pavilion at 3 p.m. Sunday. The action will stream on SEC Network+.

Contact Griffin Foll at and follow him on Twitter @GriffinFoll

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Griffin Foll

Griffin Foll is a sophomore at UF studying journalism sports and media. He is one of The Alligator's women’s basketball beat writers. Griffin is also a UF softball beat reporter for and contributes weekly articles for ESPN Gainesville.

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