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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Gators women’s basketball squashed by No. 9 LSU

Florida’s 40-point loss marked their worst defeat of the season so far

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 (11-9, 2-6 SEC) was crushed by the No. 9 LSU Tigers (19-4, 6-3 SEC) in a 106-66 blowout loss. Florida fell behind early on in the first quarter, and LSU never let its foot off of the gas pedal. 

Senior guards Aliyah Matharu and Leilani Correa served as Florida’s sole source of offense on the afternoon. Matharu finished with 20 points on 7-for-23 shooting, while Correa chipped in with 13 points going 5-for-11 from the field. Matharu also racked up a team-high five steals.

Matharu and Correa scored 33 of Florida’s 66 points, but their combined offensive output could not keep Florida in the game. The Gators committed 20 turnovers and 28 fouls while only shooting 35.3% from the field in one of their ugliest outings of the season so far.

The Tigers, on the other hand, dominated nearly every aspect of the game from start to finish. Six LSU players scored in double-figures. Freshman guard Mikaylah Williams and senior guard Hailey Van Lith led the charge with 21 points each.

LSU also controlled the boards all game long, with sophomore forward Aneesah Morrow and senior forward Angel Reese securing double-doubles. Morrow racked up 18 points and 20 rebounds, while Reese came away with 14 points and 10 rebounds. 

The Gators initially appeared poised to give the defending national champion Tigers a run for their money. Florida started out the game on a 6-2 run in the first three-and-a-half minutes of play.

Nevertheless, things quickly went south. Morrow tallied seven points and nine rebounds in the first quarter alone, helping the Tigers quickly regain control of the momentum. By the end of the quarter, LSU had jumped out to a 24-11 lead. 

The game only became more lopsided as it went on. Despite a 10-point second quarter from Correa, the Gators could not keep up with the Tigers on either end of the floor. LSU outscored UF 30-17 in the quarter, leading to a 54-28 Florida deficit at halftime.

Even with a massive lead entering the second half, the Tigers continued firing on all cylinders in the third quarter. Van Lith scored 10 points – including six from the free throw line – in the quarter. Williams chipped in with seven points of her own. 

LSU kept piling on throughout the game, but Florida’s offensive remained radio silent. No player scored more than five points for the Gators in the third quarter. The fourth was not much better, as Florida went 6-for-21 (28.6%) from the field as a team. By the time the final buzzer sounded, the game had already been long over.

Florida will look to bounce back at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Thursday in a home matchup against the Arkansas Razorbacks. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network, with tip-off set for 6:00 p.m.

Contact Jack Meyer at jmeyer@alligator.org. Follow him on X @jackmeyerUF.

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Jack Meyer

Jack Meyer is a third-year journalism major and a sports reporter for The Alligator. In his free time, he enjoys running, spending time with friends, playing video games, and watching the Miami Heat and Miami Dolphins.


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