Gators claim double overtime victory over No.25 Texas A&M

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – For the first time in program history, Florida women’s basketball edged Texas A&M at College Station, closing a 19-point deficit in the third quarter to claim a double overtime victory 97-89.

In his first comeback game for the Gators, Zippy Broughton led the offensive effort with a career-high 28 points, in addition to a career-high seven rebounds. Graduate veteran Kiara smith contributed 27 points, nine rebounds and seven assists while Jordyn merritt added 17 points and five rebounds.

Florida had a strong offensive day, finishing 34 of 75 (45.3%) from the field and 13 of 30 (43.3%) from deep. The 13 makes three is Florida’s third best shooting performance in program history. Texas A&M, the nation’s third-best three-point shooting team heading into Sunday’s action, was just 4 of 11 behind.

The UF defense managed to make the Aggies uncomfortable the entire game, forcing 21 turnovers in addition to 11 interceptions, led by Broughton with four. The Aggies, however, controlled the boards with a 49-40 advantage. Florida held a 22-21 point advantage on turnovers.

It was a slow start for both teams offensively, as Broughton converted to either team’s lone jumper within the first three minutes. The defense remained strong for the Gators, holding the Aggies to a 0-to-9 start on the field while forcing seven turnovers during that span.

After opening an 8-2 lead, the Aggies would respond with an 8-0 run to take a 10-8 lead. First-year student Alberte Rimdal would end the run, knocking down a jumper with 2:00 on the clock to draw even the Aggies. Crossing the middle of the lane, Smith knocked down a jumper to give the Gators back the lead before Broughton connected on two late free throws to take a 14-11 advantage in the second quarter. Texas A&M was only held 3 of 17 shots in the first session.

The Aggies logged in on their first treble of the game to open the second quarter game night at 14. Florida, however, remained in control with Kristina moore drop a dime at Broughton in the lane for an easy bucket, followed by another Broughton jumper, to force a TAMU time out with 7:14 remaining.

Broughton would continue to provide the offensive spark for the Gators, reversing the treble at 6:33 to take the UF lead to 21-16. The opposition would move closer to one again, but Merritt, on top of the key, converted his first treble of the game to reduce the lead to four. The Aggies finished the half on a 14-3 streak to take a 34-27 lead at the break. Broughton led all scorers with 14 points in the first half.

A quick 6-0 push by the Aggies to start the third would quickly extend their lead to the night’s biggest so far to 43-29, but the Gators would quickly find their way into the 10 after a three-point shot from Rimdal with 8:09 on the clock.

After falling 19, Orange & Blue would use a 9-0 run, capped by a Moore steal and a Smith layup, to come close to 55-45 with 2:06 on the clock. After a free throw and jumper missed by Smith on the next possession, Florida would have come close to nine for the first time since the 9:49 mark of the third. The two teams traded baskets late before the Aggies took a 61-52 lead in the final frame.

Neither team would find the bottom of the bucket until Merritt closed the lead to just three points after consecutive trebles with 6:55 remaining in the game. A steal and score on Broughton’s next possession would drop UF to one at 61-60. After trading a pair of buckets, Moore finally gave the Gators the 64-62 lead with 5:04 on the clock. Smith would extend the UF run to 15-2, converting one and one with 3:56 to go to give the Gators a five-point lead.

The Aggies would respond with a 5-0 streak to tie the game at 67, but Smith would cross the lane again to give the Gators an advantage. Maliyah Johnson of Texas A&M even played the game after a jump with less than two minutes left, before leveling the game again after a Merritt layup with less than a minute to go. The Aggies would have had several looks on the basket in the dying seconds, but the UF defense managed to force some big saves to send the game into overtime to 71.

The two teams traded trebles to open overtime, setting the game at 74 before a quick 4-0 push gave the Aggies a 78-74 advantage. After Smith reversed two free throws and the Aggies converted one, Broughton muscled up the lane for a tough runner to come close to one at 79-78. Florida would tie the game at 82 after falling four times one minute from time, before Smith drains two free throws to take the lead with eight seconds left. A&M’s Qadasha Hoppie would equal Smith’s effort at the charity strip with two seconds remaining, sending the game to a second overtime.

Florida opened the second overtime on a 4-0 streak, immediately taking an 88-84 lead after forcing turnovers on Aggie’s back-to-back possessions. The Aggies would manage to reduce their deficit to two on several occasions, but the Gators would respond each time, scoring a 97-89 victory. Florida limited the Aggies to a single triple between the two overtime periods.

The Gators will be back in action on Thursday, January 13, when Auburn visits Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center for an SEC Network game.

Quotes
The Head Coach Kelly rae finley
During the Sunday performance …

“Before that game, we talked about who we are as a team and what we want to look like on the pitch. We wanted to be all that we are: relentless, purposeful, energetic and unbreakable. feel like we’ve shown we are all of these things and more. “

At at Kiara Smith and Zippy Broughton’s performances…

“Player for player, we put in a tremendous effort. Kiki and Zippy played like the elite goalies they are. They play on both sides of the court, they are creative scorers and playmakers and they were fun. to watch each other face off today. “

Post-game bites
– Florida claimed their first victory in program history at College Station and set the series record 11-2, in favor of Texas A&M.
– The 19-point comeback was the biggest since a 14-point comeback against Kentucky on February 2, 2020.
– Florida’s 13-threes on Sunday tied for the third-best outing in program history.
– Sunday was Florida’s first overtime game since an 83-74 loss to Northwestern on Nov. 18, 2018.
–Florida connected on 13 trebles, their highest number this season surpassing 10 for the first time since playing Towson on November 12, 2021.
– Broughton recorded a record 14 points in the first half, ending the game with a career-high 28 points.
– Sunday was Florida’s first ranked win of the season and the first ranked victory since Feb.23, 2020 over the Arkansas No.22, 83-80.
– Sunday was Florida’s first road victory since Jan.12, 2020 when it won 13th at Kentucky, 70-62.
– Smith’s season-high 27 points pushed her past Jennifer George (2009-13) for 19th all-time spot in Florida history with 1,282 points.
– Smith’s seven assists give him 376 for his career, the ninth-best number in Florida history.
– Smith’s 191 interceptions are 10th in school history.

– #GoGators –