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Saturday, April 13, 2024

No. 5 North Carolina State cruises past Florida, 85-52

The Wolfpack hands Florida its second loss of the season

Florida's Nina Rickards scored 12 points during the Gators' Sunday loss to North Carolina State.
Florida's Nina Rickards scored 12 points during the Gators' Sunday loss to North Carolina State.

North Carolina State’s Elissa Cunane and Kai Crutchfield combined for 35 points and helped NC State sign, seal and deliver Florida another loss in this young 2021-22 season. 

The Gators (1-2) fell 85-52 to the No. 5 Wolfpack (2-1) in Raleigh, North Carolina to fall to 0-2 in the Preseason WNIT Classic.

Florida opened up the game toe-to-toe with their ranked competition, leading 12-10 with a little over four minutes left in the first quarter. That was until NC State went on a tear, holding the Gators to just 3 points for the rest of the first quarter against 19 of their own.

The Gators stopped some of the bleeding in the second quarter off a quick five points from graduate student Kiara Smith, cutting the lead to 13. A three-pointer from Crutchfield with a little over two minutes to go and a solid layup from Cunane silenced any sign of a Gators comeback. NC State entered halftime with their biggest lead of the game up to that point up 21.

In the third quarter, an impressive eight points from junior Nina Rickards highlighted the Gators’ scoring. Florida held NC State to 10 points in the third, but the deficit still lingered as Florida trailed, 58- 41.

The final quarter saw the Wolfpack leave Florida in their rearview mirror, distancing themselves to lead by as many as 33. NC State outscored Florida 27-11 for the final frame and ended the game with 18 total assists to Florida’s eight.

Smith and Rickards served as the lone bright spots for the Gators on Sunday. They were the only Gators to finish with double-digit points, as Smith dropped 16 to lead the team and Rickards followed close behind with 12.

The Gators have one final chance to return home from Raleigh with a win, as they are set to face Wofford College Monday.

Wofford has struggled in the WNIT preseason classic, suffering a blowout 90-57 loss to NC State on Nov. 12 to open up their tournament play. Before facing the Gators, Wofford battled Towson on Sunday and collected their second loss in North Carolina, 64-48.

Wofford College and Florida tipoff at 4:30 p.m. Monday, and the game can be streamed live on YouTube.

Contact Brenda Bogle at bbogle@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @bogle_brenda.

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Brenda Bogle

Brenda Bogle is a UF journalism senior with a specialization in sports and media. She joined The Alligator in the Fall of 2021.


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