By Jenna Ladd
The Florida Gators improved to 4-1 for the season after taking a 81-73 win over the Georgetown Hoyas, now 2-5, at the McDonough Arena in Washington D.C. on Friday night.
Kayla Lewis led Florida with 19 points, closely followed by Cassie Peoples with 16 points and Carlie Needles with 15 points. Peoples went 10-for-14 for free throws, which is how she made the majority of her contribution to the scoreboard. Needles went 5-for-8 in 3-point attempts and made a total of 8 rebounds for the Gators. Freshman Haley Lorenzen, who started this game, also made an impact for Florida as she made a total of 10 points Friday night.
However, the Gators did not have an easy road to victory against the Hoyas who immediately pulled away with the lead. Just two minutes into the game Georgetown put up 4 points with two layups, which inspired Florida to get in the game coming back with a layup and a free throw just 20 seconds later. Georgetown continued to pull away by sinking a 3-pointer, which Lorenzen combated with another Florida layup putting the score at 5-7, Georgetown.
The score continued to stay fairly close, bouncing back and forth, until 8:58 where the Gators trailed the Hoyas 16-23 after a Georgetown 3-pointer and layup. Georgetown wasn’t done there; they used their momentum and pushed for two more 3-pointers where they held their one of their biggest lead over Florida at 21-29 with 6:40 to go in the first half. The Hoyas also held another 8 point lead with just 2:45 left in the first, but the Gators fought hard to stay in the game and finished the half trailing by a close 4 points at 34-38.
After halftime, the Georgetown Hoyas came out fighting to regain a strong lead over the Florida Gators. Within two minutes Georgetown put up a 3-pointer and a 2-pointer, putting them at a 34-43 lead over Florida. This put a fire under the Gators who came back with back-to-back 3-pointers by Needles and a jumpshot by Ronni Williams, putting them just 1 point behind the Hoyas with 16:14 left in the game.
Florida finally took over the lead for the first time in the second half with a layup by Lorenzen, putting the score at 50-49 with 11:44 left to play. But Georgetown did not let Florida pull away easily. Every time the Gators would start to pull away by a few points, the Hoyas would be closing in right behind them. This time, they quickly came back with a layup, putting the Hoyas up by 1 point. The Gators retaliated with a layup of their own, regaining the lead while still keeping it at a 1-point game.
The Gators didn’t truly start to pull away until a consecutive layup by Lorenzen and jumpshot by Lewis with 10:36 left put them up 54-51 over the Hoyas. This was just what the Gators needed to set off their momentum and keep them in the lead for the remainder of the game. However, even though Florida held the lead, Georgetown was never farther than 9 points behind at 69-59 with 5:33 left.
In the end, Florida held on to the lead after catching a second wind against Georgetown that landed them the victory of 81-73 in Washington D.C. The Gators will be welcomed home to play their next game against the Virginia Tech Hokies (4-2) at 9:00 p.m. in the Stephen O’Connell Center on Monday, December 1st.