Finley’s first time leading the team through a tumultuous season was driven by the care and joy she infused in her team. Using her experiences as a college player to relate to and guide her players through adversity, Finley orchestrated a historic season for the Gators that culminated in their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2016.
Sports | Women's Basketball
Jackie Moore returns to Gainesville to take over one of the biggest roles in college sports.
Down three usual starters, Florida ended their NCAA Tournament hopes with a 69-52 loss to UCF Saturday.
Florida is dancing for the first time since the 2015-16 season and is seeded to face a determined UCF team, fresh off its first conference championship.
Florida women’s basketball is officially dancing. UF has earned a 10-seed in the NCAA Tournament and will face UCF in the first round in Storrs, Connecticut. Kelly Rae Finley will lead the Gators into their first March Madness appearance since 2016, a potential matchup with UConn looming.
Ole Miss center Shakira Austin’s size gave her 27 points and the Gators a 70-60 bouncing out of the SEC Tournament. Zippy Broughton scored 26 points to lead UF’s depleted roster that was missing stars Kiki Smith and Jordyn Merritt.
Florida earns a bittersweet 53-52 win over Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament. Guard Kiara Smith had to be helped off the floor late in the fourth quarter.
With Florida’s SEC Tournament play beginning Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee, take a look back at some of the crucial moments from the team’s historic run.
The long-awaited announcement is here. Athletic director Scott Stricklin has named Kelly Rae Finley Florida women’s basketball’s permanent head coach, removing the interim tag after an impressive year.
Sophomore Jordyn Merritt dropped 23 points in Florida’s 78-73 loss to Missouri. The final regular-season game for the Gators also saw four seniors receive recognition before game time.
Florida turned the ball over 28 times in a loss to Vanderbilt Thursday night. Kelly Rae Finley was still all smiles after, saying they’ll use the ugly loss for fuel creeping into March.
Emanuely de Oliveira shined with 15 points as No. 17 Florida survived Arkansas for their 20th win. She’s excited to play a part in Florida’s surprise of a comeback season. “That’s what we looked forward [to] since I got here,” Oliveira said.
“I’ve been asked a few times what’s the difference. Kelly Rae Finley is the difference.” Georgia coaches don’t say that about Florida peers often, but that’s what Joni Taylor said about the Gators’ run through the SEC this year. She’s not alone.
“I was really pleased with our ability to learn throughout this game, to make adjustments and to play on the road in a heated environment,” interim head coach Kelly Rae Finley said.
No. 19 Florida looked a little shaky in their first game as a ranked team in over 5 years.
“We don’t need validation from anybody,” said sophomore Jordyn Merritt. That’s the message as of late around Florida women’s hoops. It’s the mantra that gave the Gators a rout over No. 7 Tennessee, only the fifth win in series history. From @CalebWiegandt
Florida earned its fifth straight SEC win by upsetting No. 11 LSU in Exactech Arena.