Florida State knocks down Florida in women's basketball

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Florida women's basketball coach Cam Newbauer talks with his team at a recent game in Exactech Arena at the O'Connell Center.

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida women's basketball team fell in a close one Tuesday night as it dropped a 81-75 decision to Florida State at the Donald L. Tucker Center.

Sophomore guard Nina Rickards led UF with a career-high 18 points, but the Gators couldn't overcome the long and physical Seminoles who won the rebounding battle 52-24.

Streaky shooting and points from FSU turnovers kept the Gators (1-1) in the game, but the ball wouldn't bounce Florida's way in the pivotal moments late when the Seminoles collected two crucial caroms with under two minutes to play when Florida had cut the gap to 75-72.

Joining the sophomore Rickards in double figures were Lavender Briggs, who added 20, and Kiki Smith, who did a little of everything with 14 points, eight assists and five rebounds. Smith set the table for Florida and helped initiate the offense with six drawn fouls while Briggs, the sophomore standout, finished with 20 or more points for the fifth time in her career.

The meeting between the in-state rivals was very much a back-and-forth affair as the lead switched hands six times and the contest was tied five times. The Gators led for nine minutes in the game and stretched their lead to as many as eight in the second quarter. Playing with just nine active players, Florida scrapped all night and both Briggs and Faith Dut fouled out of the hard-fought battle.

The Seminoles (1-0), who have finished in the AP Top 25 in six-straight seasons, were paced by shifty wing player Morgan Jones, who added 22 points on 10-of-17 shooting. Forward Valencia Myers tallied 14 points and 11 rebounds as well.

The matchup was originally slated to take place Sunday, but a COVID-19 situation at FSU postponed the game for Tuesday. Facing a quick turnaround, UF returns to action at 5 p.m. today when it hosts Charleston Southern.

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