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Monday, June 24, 2024

Second-half collapse leads to Florida’s blowout loss to Bowling Green

Gators fell to Falcons after turnovers and offensive struggles in second half

Florida guard Leilani Correa plays defense in transition in the Gators' 61-54 win over the Texas A&M Aggies Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023
Florida guard Leilani Correa plays defense in transition in the Gators' 61-54 win over the Texas A&M Aggies Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

The second half was a nightmare for the Gators. Florida committed 13 turnovers in the half and couldn’t find any rhythm on the offensive end because of it.

Bowling Green capitalized on Florida’s turnovers and built a comfortable lead late in the game.

The Florida Gators (19-15, 5-11 SEC) fell to the Bowling Green Falcons (31-6, 14-4 MAC) 69-52 Monday night. The loss eliminated the Gators from the Women’s National Invitation Tournament and ended the team’s season.

Senior Gators guard Leilani Correa led the way on the offensive end with 20 points. Correa was Florida’s lone double-digit scorer in this one, as the team struggled to find its groove on offense.

Bowling Green junior guard Lexi Flemming opened the scoring with a catch-and-shoot three. Senior Gators guard KK Deans responded with a triple of her own.

Florida junior forward Jordyn Merritt hit layups on back-to-back possessions. Senior Gators guard Nina Rickards made a layup off an assist by sophomore guard Alberte Rimdal to cap an early 9-0 run.

Rimdal sank her 50th 3-pointer of the season from the corner. Bowling Green senior forward Allison Day hit a three on the ensuing possession.

Day nailed a turnaround hook shot over her defender to pull the Falcons within one.

Correa banked in a layup off of an assist from Deans. Sophomore Falcons forward Jocelyn Tate hit a layup. Bowling Green ended the first quarter with a one-point lead.

Deans drilled a step-back triple for the first points of the second quarter. Correa hit a contested mid-range shot to extend the lead to four. 

Senior Falcons guard Elissa Brett responded with a layup. Sophomore guard Amy Velasco nailed a 3-pointer to tie the game at 19. Brett drained a high-arching triple of her own on the next possession to put Bowling Green in front.

Correa hit a layup after more than three minutes without a basket for either team. She banked in layups on consecutive fast breaks after Florida stole the ball twice. Deans drilled her third triple of the game to put the Gators up 29-22.

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Senior Falcons forward Katie Hempfling hit a 3-pointer to end a 9-0 Florida run. UF junior center Ra Sahya Kyle finished a tough layup inside.

Hempfling drilled a second triple for the final points of the first half. The Gators held a 31-28 lead at the break.

Merritt made a mid-range jumper for the first field goal of the second half. Day banked in a layup, and Kyle responded with a layup on the following possession off another assist by Rimdal.

Velasco finished a layup through a foul and converted the three-point play to put Bowling Green up 37-35. She then scored another layup to cap off a 9-0 run.

Valesco sank a 3-point shot. Correa drilled a triple on the next possession to cut the Gators’ deficit to four.

Tate drove inside and banked in a layup. Velasco nailed another shot for her 11th point of the quarter. Tate drove uncontested to the basket and hit the open layup to give the Falcons a 50-42 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Brett opened the scoring in the final quarter with a layup off an assist by Velasco. Merritt drilled a 3-pointer to cut into the deficit.

Brett made back-to-back layups as Florida struggled to find an answer defensively. Flemming banked in another layup for the Falcons and ballooned the team’s lead to 13.

Bowling Green junior forward Sophie Dziekan finished a layup. Brett made a jumper off an assist by Day to extend the Falcons’ lead to 64-47.

Correa sank a catch-and-shoot three late in the fourth quarter. She then made a layup in the closing seconds for the final points of the Gators’ season.

Bowling Green took care of business from the free throw line down the stretch and picked up the 69-52 victory.

This loss eliminated Florida from the WNIT tournament and was the team’s final game of the 2022-2023 season.

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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