UF WBK: Gators Get Defensive in Win Over Wofford

Florida held Wofford to just 34% shooting in Monday’s victory.

RALEIGH, N.C. – Florida women’s basketball closed-out the Preseason WNIT with a victory on Monday, defeating the Wofford Terriers 61-47 in a defensive battle.

Kiara Smith led all scorers with 13 points while Lavender Briggs also found her offensive rhythm, adding 12 points. Florida ended 23-of-54 (42.6%) from the field while holding the opposition to just 19-of-56 (33.9%).

Defensively, Florida made the Terriers uncomfortable, forcing 20 turnovers to go along with 10 steals. Smith ended her evening with a team-high six steals while Emanuely de Oliveira contributed two. Florida was also back in control on the glass, holding a 35-34 advantage, led by Smith with seven. The Gators ended with a 28-16 advantage in points in the paint.

It was a slow offensive start for both teams in Valvano Arena, but the Gator defense brought the pressure from opening tip. Despite the struggles from the floor (three early turnovers for UF), Florida held Wofford without a field goal for the first 4:30 of the game, using a Nina Rickards triple to hold a 9-3 advantage at the first break.

Coming out of the media break, the Blue & Orange continued to apply pressure, forcing a shot clock violation with 3:15 left in the period which led to a Briggs jumper on the offensive end. For the period, Briggs ended with six points to help Florida to an 18-9 advantage. Wofford ended the quarter shooting just 3-of-12 (25%) from the floor.

In similar fashion to the first quarter, both squads struggled to find their offensive rhythm at the beginning of the second quarter, recording a combined four points through the first 4:15 of the frame. Veteran leader Smith broke the stalemate, scoring on back-to-back possessions at the 5:45 mark to ignite the offense and push the lead to 24-13.

Freshman Alberte Rimdal would knock down a triple to give Florida their biggest lead of the evening at 27-13, but the Terriers would respond with a 6-0 spurt of their own to pull back within eight. The Gators would lead 33-23 at the half.

Continuing to bring toughness into the second half, de Oliveira opened with a charge, leading to a Nina Rickards layup on the other end of the court. The Gators played lockdown defense in the third frame, once again, holding Wofford to just two points through the first nine minutes of play and opening the period on a 10-2 run for a 43-25 advantage. The Terriers were held to just 12.5% shooting for the period.

Wofford would continue to battle, cutting the lead down to 12 early in the fourth before Rickards would slice through the lane to regain momentum and a 14-point lead. While the opposition would threaten multiple times, 12 is the closest that the Terriers would get, as the Blue & Orange earned a 61-47 victory.

The Gators will be back in action on Friday, Nov. 19, when they return home for a matchup with Grambling State at 6 p.m. ET.

Postgame Bites
– With the victory, Florida now holds a 2-0 all-time record against the Terriers.
– The four points scored in the third quarter by Wofford was a season low allowed by the Gators.
– Brynn Farrell’s triple in the first quarter marked her first points of the season.
– Free throws by Jeriah Warren in the second quarter marked the first points of her Gator career.
– Faith Dut’s dominant three-block performance marked a career-best for the junior.

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