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Friday, March 31, 2023

Florida gets blown out on the road against Arkansas

Razorbacks are first team to score at least 100 against Florida since 2020

<p>Florida guard KK Deans follows through on a jumper in the Gators&#x27; 83-55 win over the Florida A&amp;M Rattlers Monday, Nov. 7, 2022.</p>

Florida guard KK Deans follows through on a jumper in the Gators' 83-55 win over the Florida A&M Rattlers Monday, Nov. 7, 2022.

After earning its first conference win of the season against Texas A&M, Florida once again struggled against the meat grinder of the Southeastern Conference, falling for the second time in three games to open conference play.

The Florida Gators (12-4, 1-2 SEC) fell on the road to the Arkansas Razorbacks (15-3, 2-1 SEC) in a 102-74 blowout loss. Arkansas became the first opponent to score 100 or more points against the Gators since No. 1 South Carolina in 2020.

Florida and Arkansas traded buckets in the opening minutes, with senior guard Nina Rickards and junior center Ra Shaya Kyle scoring early for the Gators. Florida freshman guard Myka Perry led the way with eight points in the first quarter, breaking her season-high of four points

With just seconds left on the shot clock, Arkansas senior guard Makayla Daniels inbounded the ball down low to redshirt senior forward Erynn Barnum. She hit a layup at the buzzer to cap a 7-1 Razorbacks run and take a five-point lead at the end of the quarter.

The Razorbacks kept their hot streak going as the second quarter came underway. Junior guard Rylee Langerman made a layup, drew a foul on Kyle – her second of the game – and converted the three-point play to start the period.

Arkansas continued to give the Gators trouble, taking an 11-point lead before Florida head coach Kelly Rae Finley was forced to call a timeout early in the second quarter. Immediately after the timeout, Perry continued her hot start with a 3-pointer to slow the Arkansas run.

The Gators struggled to string together defensive stops throughout the second quarter, and their offense dried up on the other end. The Razorbacks’ lead reached as much as 18 points, but a Kyle layup briefly stopped the bleeding.

Arkansas relentlessly attacked the paint through the end of the second quarter. By the halftime whistle, Florida had surrendered 48 points — the total amount of points it allowed against Texas A&M — and trailed by 21.

Kyle opened the scoring for the Gators to start the second half, and Florida’s defense forced a handful of stops to allow UF to slowly cut into the deficit. The Gators scored more points in the third period than the entire first half, but the Razorbacks continued their scoring ways.

Senior guard KK Deans scored 10 points in the third quarter for Florida. However, Arkansas took a 17-point lead going into the game’s final period. Deans’ third-quarter run pushed the senior over 1,000 points throughout her collegiate career.

The offensive fireworks continued in the fourth quarter. The Gators and Razorbacks traded baskets early in the period. Deans, Kyle and Perry led the way for Florida, but Arkansas continued to score effortlessly.

The Razorbacks inflated their already impressive lead as the game neared its end and scored over 100 points against the Gators. They became Florida’s first opponent to accomplish the total this season.

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Florida returns to Gainesville Sunday when the Gators host the Georgia Bulldogs in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Tip-off is scheduled for noon, and the game will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Contact Topher Adams at Follow him on Twitter @Topher_Adams

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Topher Adams

Topher Adams is a third-year journalism major and one of the assistant sports editors for the Spring 2023 semester. He also covered Florida football lacrosse for the paper and loves to follow MLS soccer and professional lacrosse.

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