The second time is not the charm.
Florida fell to Georgia for the second time this season. This time in Athens, Georgia, the Gators followed up a six-point loss at home just under a month ago with another six-point loss to the Bulldogs on Sunday, this time by a score of 65-59. While UF looked marginally better offensively, it looked worse defensively on the road against UGA (16-13, 7-9 SEC).
The defeat concludes the regular season for coach Cam Newbauer’s program. The above-.500 finish is the first for the team since 2016. Even still, the final regular-season game ended on a sour taste, and here is why:
Florida (15-14, 6-10 SEC), may have improved its scoring against UGA in Athens, scoring 59 compared to just 43 in Gainesville, but it was still a tough day for most of the orange and blue.
Freshman guard Lavender Briggs had 13, slightly lower than her 14.8 points-per-game average. However, that came on a mere 6-of-16 shooting from the floor, worsened by an 0-for-4 day from three-point land.
Outside of Briggs, no other Gators reached double-figure scoring. As a team, UF shot a woeful 33.9 percent from the floor and an even worse 20 percent from beyond the arc. Struggles to score on the road have plagued the Gators all year, and Sunday was no exception.
Low Post vs. No Post
Once again, the Gators had no answer for UGA forward Jenna Staiti. She dominated offensively with 20 points, and got to the free-throw line seven times, sinking six of them. Amazingly, Florida had more points in the paint, scoring 32 to Georgia’s 24, but it was not enough to keep Staiti from a double-double, as she collected 12 rebounds along with her 20 points.
What it means
With this contest concluding the regular season for both squads, it pushed Georgia ahead in the SEC standings for the upcoming conference tournament in Greenville, South Carolina. This makes Georgia the ninth seed and Florida the 10th.
It has no bearing on byes, as both teams still get a first-round bye and have to play in the second round, but it is the difference between playing the No. 8 seed and the No. 7 seed. Now, Florida will have to play the higher-ranked team out of those two that makes it out of the first round.
Contact Graham Marsh at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @GrahamMarshUF.