Arkansas State defeated Florida 70-69 in women’s college basketball Tuesday at the O’Connell Center, handing first-year coach Cameron Newbauer his first loss.
Florida shot 51 percent from the floor but committed 23 turnovers. The loss snapped the Gator’s 10-game home, non-conference win streak.
Newbauer has been adamant that his inaugural Gator squad would build a culture and he stood by that Tuesday, as all 11 players saw action by the midpoint of the second quarter. At time, it resembled an ice hockey game from the waves of substitutes the Gators ushered on and off the court.
“We don’t play hard, we start slow out of the gate. We told our team we don’t care about winning and losing, we care about the culture and learning how to play,” Newbauer said. “We are going to win and lose the right way.
“Our players did not play hard, so if you do not play hard, you will not play. We subbed left and right to try and find the people that were going to play hard and get their hands up on defense, sprint back on defense and rebound.”
The Gators held a one-point halftime lead despite leading for just over three minutes in the and even had the final possession with 5.6 seconds remaining in the game.
Florida took a quick three-point attempt that didn’t fall and the Red Wolves collected the miss and the win.
Funda Nakkasoglu led the Gators (1-1) with 16 points and Paulina Hersler followed with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
“There was a bit of confusion there at the end, looking to the bench to see if we should foul, but I think it was just a bit of a communication barrier there,” Nakkasoglu said. “We talk about as a team that we need to communicate better on the court because we cannot always look to the bench or to coach.
“We were just nonchalant with our passes. We seemed a bit afraid as well. Personally, I should have been more aggressive with my passes. We came in with a mindset for dilly-dally passes, but they are an aggressive team on defense.”
Arkansas State improved to 1-1.
The Gators next host Florida State at 7 p.m. Friday.