Women’s Basketball Falls Short at Florida
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Davidson held Florida to 34.5 percent shooting, but its last-minute comeback effort fell short Sunday afternoon in a 55-50 setback inside Exactech Arena at O’Connell Center during a first-time matchup in women’s basketball.
Three times the Wildcats (7-6) had a chance to take the lead or tie the game in the last minute-and-a-half, but missed each opportunity, and the Gators hit 4-of-6 free throws to seal the win.
Sarah Konstans led the way with a career-high 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting and drilled all five of her three-point attempts. The sophomore added seven rebounds.
Recording her first career double-double was Suzi-Rose Deegan on 14 points and 13 rebounds, a new season best. The freshman also tallied a season-high four steals and dished out three assists.
Florida (9-4) had three score in double digits, paced by Ariel Johnson’s 16 points off the bench. Kiara Smith (14) and Lavender Briggs (13, eight rebounds) followed, while Zada Williams pulled in 15 rebounds.
Trailing 51-47 in the fourth quarter, Konstans’ final three-ball got the ‘Cats within one at 51-50 with 1:25 on the clock. After Florida missed a long three, Davidson missed a chance to take the lead when Katie Turner’s layup was off the mark with 36 seconds left.
The Gators hit just 1-of-2 free throw attempts with 28 seconds left, giving the Wildcats a chance to tie it on their next possession. Deegan, though, missed on her driving layup try and the ‘Cats were forced to foul again. Florida went only 1-of-2 at charity stripe again, setting up one last chance to tie it.
Down 53-50 and with eight ticks left, Davidson came out of its timeout and turned the ball over on its inbounds play. Florida’s Kristina Moore hit the final two free throws for the final score.
Davidson was just 21-of-62 from the floor and 5-for-19 on its three-pointers, while holding a 44-42 edge on rebounds.
Florida held a 14-11 lead after the first 10 minutes to start the game. Both teams struggled to get shots to fall in the next quarter, combining to go just 7-for-29 with a four-minute scoreless drought. Despite hitting just 3-of-14 shots in the quarter, Davidson stayed close, thanks to a pair of three-balls from Konstans. Her second triple got the ‘Cats within three, 22-19, before the Gators hit a buzzer-beating three of their own for a halftime lead of 25-19.
Davidson opens the new calendar year by beginning Atlantic 10 play at Saint Louis, Jan. 4, for an 8 p.m. contest.
GAME NOTES: This was the first meeting all-time between both team’s women’s basketball programs …. The 40-rebound effort for the Wildcats was their eighth of the season … Davidson wrapped up non-conference play facing its fourth first-time opponent (Georgetown, Kansas City, UC Irvine and Florida) … the ‘Cats’ seven non-conference wins were the most since collecting nine in 2006-07 … Deegan recorded her team-leading 10th double-digit game … she has reached double figures in six straight games and nine of the past 10 overall.
NOTE: The following photos of the ‘Cats enjoying some time off the court – touring historic St. Augustine, FL were shared on the ‘Cats social media accounts.