Lavender Briggs

Lavender Briggs

Coach Cam Newbauer reached a personal milestone Sunday afternoon, but he didn’t know it until after Florida’s women’s basketball team defeated Longwood 71-54 at the O’Connell Center.

Newbauer racked up 79 victories at Belmont before coming to Gainesville, and this result earned him his 100th-career win at the collegiate level.

“No, I was not aware of that until Sam (Stolte, the sports information director) said it,” the third-year UF coach said. “I had to double-check because I wasn’t sure if that was right.”

The Gators (2-0) were careless with the ball to start the game, turning it over on each of their first three possessions. Two of those giveaways came on bad passes and the other came on an offensive foul from guard Kiara Smith.

Guard Kristina Moore opened the scoring for Florida when she knocked down a trey at the 8:01 mark of the first quarter, but UF’s lackadaisical defending and questionable decisions on offense allowed the Lancers to jump to a 19-8 lead.

However, guard Brylee Bartram’s three-pointer at the buzzer shifted momentum in favor of the home team.

The Gators went on a 14-2 run to begin the second quarter, taking a 25-21 lead with 5:31 remaining in the half.

Bartram (eight) and guard Lavender Briggs (four) accounted for 12 of those points, while Smith pitched in with two from the free-throw line. Bartram and Briggs, who are both freshmen, finished their first home game with 11 and a team-high 16 points, respectively.

After shooting just 28.6 percent (4 of 14) in the first quarter, Florida went 8 of 14 from the field and a perfect 6 of 6 from the charity stripe in the second period.

UF’s defense limited the Lancers to just six points behind 20 percent (3-of-15) shooting and went into the locker room up 35-25.

Most of Florida’s offense in the third quarter came in the paint, as forward Zada Williams and guard Nina Rickards took advantage of Longwood’s lack of size. The duo combined for 10 of UF’s 23 points in the third to extend the team’s lead to 58-36.

The Lancers tightened up on the defensive end in the final 10 minutes, holding the Gators to just 13 fourth-quarter points. But that wasn’t enough to upend Florida, which is now 2-0 for the first time since the 2016-17 campaign.

“Proud of our ladies for gritting it out and getting the W,” Newbauer said. “It wasn’t the prettiest basketball at times, but we stayed the course and hit shots when we had to.”

Follow Bryan Matamoros on Twitter @bryan_2712. Contact him at [email protected]