Florida earns road win in women's basketball

Special to Gatorsports.com

ASHEVILLE, NC — Taking the floor for the fifth time in the last nine days, the Florida women's basketball team collected its first road win of the season and fourth consecutive decision overall as it defeated UNC Asheville 70-48 Wednesday.

In arena without fans, the Gators (5-1) created their own energy and the offense production from two familiar suspects in senior point guard Kiki Smith and sophomore standout Lavender Briggs. Briggs, scoring 20 or more points for the seventh time in her young career, led all scorers with 20 while Smith, adding 14 or more points for the sixth-straight game to open the campaign, added 15, six assists and five rebounds.

"I thought we had some moments where we played very aggressively and very well," UF coach Cam Newbauer said. "I thought we had some other moments too where we just weren't quite as aggressive and we had some turnovers. Part of that is playing five games in nine days with still a pretty young squad. But that'll come with it.

"I thought we had some good moments with some players making some aggressive plays and being assertive. Just getting a road win is great and any time you can win on the road it's something to celebrate."

Scoring came from all around the Florida lineup though and it recorded a season best with 18 assists with 10 different players scoring. Sophomore forward Faith Dut broke through for a career-best 14 points to go with five boards and two blocks. Fellow post player Floor Toonders established a career best as well as the rookie added seven points off the bench. Dut and Toonders helped Florida establish an immense advantage near the basket, as the Gators outscored the Bulldogs 44-24 in the paint.

The Gators finished the contest shooting an even 50 percent from the floor (30 of 60) and outrebounded the Bulldogs 41-29. As they have all season, the Gators defended the 3-point line effectively, limiting UNC Asheville (1-3) to just 2 of 25 from distance.

The Gators now take a break for exams. Their scheduled game Dec. 20 at the University of Dayton in Ohio was canceled Thursday morning. The decision was made following consultation with medical personnel and discussions between the two programs' administrations.

Florida picked up an additional game for 1 p.m. Monday against Tarleton State at the O'Connell Center.