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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Shooting woes, turnovers plague Florida in blowout loss

Gators fail to overcome 28 turnover performance, fall to Georgia in blowout

<p>Florida guards Nina Rickards, KK Dean and Leilani Correa walk back on defense in the Gators&#x27; 61-54 win against the Texas A&amp;M Aggies Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023</p>

Florida guards Nina Rickards, KK Dean and Leilani Correa walk back on defense in the Gators' 61-54 win against the Texas A&M Aggies Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

Florida’s shooting struggles and turnover issues continued in its matchup against Georgia Sunday afternoon.

The Gators shot 17-52 from the field and 6-22 from 3-point range. They committed 28 turnovers and struggled to find their rhythm on the offensive end.

Poor shooting has been an ongoing issue for Florida this season. This matchup marked the fifth straight game the Gators shot less than 35% from the field.

The Florida Gators (14-11, 3-9 SEC) fell to the Georgia Bulldogs (17-9, 6-6 SEC) 81-55, as the Bulldogs completed the season sweep against the Gators. Georgia took advantage of Florida's offensive struggles and turnovers. The Bulldogs built a large lead early and never looked back.

Florida junior center Ra Shaya Kyle hit a turnaround hook shot for the first points of the game after nearly three minutes of action. 

Junior Bulldogs forward Zoesha Smith grabbed a loose ball on a fast break and finished the layup through a foul.

Sophomore Gators guard Alberte Rimdal nailed a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer. Georgia fifth-year guard Diamond Battles drilled mid-range jump shots on consecutive possessions to put the Bulldogs up by five early.

Kyle drew a foul and hit one of two free throws to cut the early Florida deficit to 10 just before the first quarter ended. 

UF struggled on offense early. The Gators shot just 3-17 from the field in the first quarter and scored eight points.

Georgia senior guard Alisha Lewis hit a triple on the first shot of the second quarter. Florida senior guard KK Deans drilled a 3-point shot and ended the Gators’ shooting drought of more than five minutes without a basket.

Kyle hit a mid-range jumper to cut the deficit to 12. Sophomore Gators guard Jeriah Warren banked in a layup on the following possession off an assist from Deans.

Florida senior guard Leilani Correa forced a turnover and finished the open fast-break layup. Georgia senior forward Jayvn Nicholson grabbed an offensive rebound and finished the putback for a pair of second-chance points.

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Deans hit her second 3-pointer of the game off a pass from Kyle. Florida senior guard Nina Rickards blew past her defender and banked in a layup for the Gators’ final points of the half. Florida entered halftime down 11.

Georgia fifth-year forward Brittney Smith scored the first points of the half on a turnaround fadeaway shot. 

The Gators’ turnover troubles continued as the second half started. They compiled three turnovers in the first two minutes of the third quarter. 

Deans hit a 3-pointer to score UF’s first points of the second half. Bulldogs fifth-year forward Malury Bates hit a tough fadeaway through a foul off an offensive rebound. She scored the next six points for Georgia.

Kyle hit two free throws to put an end to a 10-0 Georgia run and brought the deficit to 19. Perry caught an outlet pass from Rickards and finished the uncontested fast-break layup.

Lewis crossed over her defender and finished a layup through the foul; she converted the 3-point play. Zoesha Smith hit a buzzer-beating mid-range shot for the Bulldogs to close out the third quarter.

The Gators entered the fourth quarter trailing by 21. 

Nicholson grabbed an offensive rebound and finished through contact for a layup. Battles made a pull-up jumper to push Georgia’s lead to 26.

Correa ended the scoring drought for the Gators with a layup after nearly four minutes without a basket to open the fourth quarter. Deans hit her fourth 3-pointer of the game through a foul and converted the four-point play.

Rimdal hit a corner three and cut the deficit to 22 late. Nicholson hit a turn-around jumper to score the final points of the game.

Florida fell to Georgia by a score of 81-55.

The Gators will next play on the road against top-ranked South Carolina. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on the SEC network.

Contact Austin Stirling at Follow him on Twitter @austinstirlingg

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Austin Stirling

Austin Stirling is a third-year journalism major and sports reporter for The Alligator. He previously covered Gators women's basketball and is primarily covering soccer during the fall 2023 semester. He is a huge New York sports fan and is hoping the Jets can be a respectable football team for once in his life this season.

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