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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Head coach Kelly Rae Finley coaches senior guard Aliyah Matharu during the Gators' 82-65 win against the UNF Ospreys on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023.
Head coach Kelly Rae Finley coaches senior guard Aliyah Matharu during the Gators' 82-65 win against the UNF Ospreys on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023.

The Gators women's basketball team held a commanding 20-point lead throughout most of their matchup with the Michigan Wolverines.

Florida (7-3) defeated the Wolverines (9-2) 82-65 Wednesday at the Jumpman Invitational in Charlotte, North Carolina. Senior guard Aliyah Matharu led the way with 27 points and tied her career high for the third time.

Early in the first quarter, the Gators dominated the court. They shut Michigan out for the first two minutes of the game, breaking the 4-0 lead after a personal foul. 

Matharu scored the first 3-pointer for UF, bringing the Gators ahead 9-2. 

Junior guard Lauren Hansen scored the Wolverines’ first non-free throw points four minutes into the game. Junior guard Jordan Hobbs also hit the team’s first field goal with three minutes left in the first quarter to make it a 16-11 Florida lead. 

Michigan came back with 30 seconds left in the first quarter and finished tied at 19 points. The Wolverines’ offense was firing off shots over the last two minutes and made three 3-pointers in a row.

Matharu led the Gators with eight points in the first quarter and had a 100% field goal and three-point completion. Senior center Ra Shaya Kyle was close behind with seven. 

Florida came out hot during the second quarter, scoring the first eight points, six coming from Matharu beyond the arc.

The Gators regained their lead quickly, giving themselves a 10-point lead with 4:30 left in the second quarter. 

Michigan hit one of their last seven field goals of the second quarter, allowing the Gators to outscore them 45-32. Florida ended the half with a 72% field goal percentage, compared to Michigan’s 35%. 

Florida’s junior guard Alberte Rimdal scored the first points of the half with a 3-pointer. Rimdal shot a field goal with six minutes left in the game to increase Florida’s lead to 20 points, 57-37. 

A foul on Florida allowed Hobbs to score a point at the charity stripe. Rimdal quickly retaliated with a field goal, keeping Florida 21 points ahead. 

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Michigan suffered a near six-minute scoring drought until senior guard Lauren Hansen scored a 3-pointer, keeping Florida’s lead to 20. Michigan only hit one of its last 11 shots before the quarter ended, 68-45 Gators. 

Michigan opened the final quarter with a 3-pointer by Hobbs, attempting to close Florida’s gap from the first half. Hansen followed with a three to make it a 70-51 UF lead. 

Florida maintained its lead throughout the fourth, consistently staying around 20 points ahead. Michigan entered another scoring drought but were able to end it after over two minutes of scoreless basketball a jumper from junior guard Laila Pheila. 

With two minutes left in the game, Florida had gone over three minutes without scoring a field goal until Matharu nailed a three to keep the 20-point lead alive. 

The fourth quarter ended with a dominant victory for the Gators, 82-65. 

The Gators have a 10-day break before they take on the Winthrop Eagles next at home. After that, they face their biggest test of the season against the No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks Jan 4. 

Contact Lacey Rogers at lrogers@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @laceyyrog.

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Lacey Rogers

Lacey Rogers is a third-year journalism major and sports reporter for The Alligator. She is a huge Washington Capitals fan and hopes to work for them after she finishes school.


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