Florida downs FAU in women's basketball

Special to Gatorsports.com

Playing for the fourth time in seven days, the Florida women's basketball team looked as fresh as ever Monday as it rolled to an 88-76 win over Florida Atlantic at the O'Connell Center.

In what was a rugged and physical battle between the two Sunshine State squads, the Gators (4-1) ruled over the Owls (1-2) thanks to opportunistic offense and tough defense. Florida, scoring over 80 points for the third time already this season, received contributions from up and down its lineup, led by Kiki Smith and Lavender Briggs who both added double-doubles. Smith tallied a career-best 27 points to go with 11 rebounds and two steals.

The Gators, 4-0 at home for the first time in four years, have been paced by the efforts of the senior point guard Smith during their hot start. Smith scored 14 or more points in all five games this season while registering a pair of double-doubles, with 20 or more points in both. 

"So many people made plays when we needed it," UF coach Cam Newbauer said. "All hands on deck tonight because we knew with their style of play that we were going to have to sub quite often. Happy with the win overall, it helped us get better tonight for sure."

Briggs recorded her ninth career double-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Also finishing in double figures was redshirt-sophomore guard Yasmeen Chang, who was playing in just her second game with the Gators after being granted an NCAA waiver late last week, added a career-best 11 points off the bench.

Nine players scored in the game and five tallied eight or more points including freshman forward Jordyn Merritt , who added eight points and five rebounds off the bench.

The Gators led 46-31 at the intermission, notching 40 or more points in a first half for the third time this season.

The Gators return to the hardwood Wednesday when they travel to UNC Asheville for a matchup with the Bulldogs (1-2). After three-straight home games, Florida faces its second road test of the young season.