Nina Rickards

Nina Rickards

Different day, same story for Florida’s women’s basketball team against No. 12 Texas A&M.

The Gators have been dominant when facing teams of equal or lesser talent. However, they have stumbled against ranked opponents.

That’s exactly what happened over the weekend, as the Aggies ran away with a 69-42 victory over UF at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas. Sunday afternoon’s loss was the orange and blue’s sixth of the season to a top-25 team.

Fans hoping to see Florida’s lethal backcourt tandem of Kiara Smith and Lavender Briggs take on Texas A&M’s high-octane offense (71.6 points per game before Sunday’s matchup) had to wait longer than usual for some scoring.

Each team had just eight points apiece on a combined 7-of-34 shooting from the field by the end of the opening quarter.

Six of UF’s eight first-quarter points came from forward Zada Williams, who did most of her damage in the paint. The other two points came from Briggs, the team’s leading scorer coming into the contest at 13.6 points per game.

Briggs and Williams led the Gators (11-8, 2-4 SEC) with 14 and 11 points, respectively, and guard Nina Rickards pitched in with 10 points of her own.

Smith, on the other hand, recorded just four points for the second-consecutive game. UF’s floor general and second-leading scorer went just 1 of 5 from the floor in 28 minutes of action.

Unlike Florida, Texas A&M (15-3, 3-2 SEC) turned things around offensively after a poor shooting display in the early stages.

The Aggies hit 27 of their last 54 field goals following a 3-of-15 effort from the field in the first quarter.

Forward N’dea Jones and center Ciera Johnson had double-doubles for Texas A&M.

Jones paced the team with 19 points and 13 rebounds; Johnson was close behind with 16 points and 10 boards.

Jones and Johnson stand at 6-foot-2 and 6-foot-4, respectively, so they made sure to attack Florida’s shorter defenders under the basket. That led to 40 points in the paint for the Aggies, while the Gators were held to just 18.

It wasn’t surprising that Texas A&M outrebounded UF 46 to 41. What stood out, however, was 21 second-chance points on 17 offensive boards for the Aggies. The Gators posted just nine second-chance points on 16 offensive rebounds.

Florida has seven days to prepare for another road matchup against a ranked opponent, this time against No. 23 Arkansas, a team that has won 15 of its 18 games so far this season.

Follow Bryan on Twitter @bryan_2712 and contact him at [email protected].

Bryan Matamoros is a sports writer for The Alligator. He has previously covered UF men's and women's golf, women's lacrosse and women's soccer. Now, he is on the Florida baseball and women's basketball beats.