Up by six points with 1:25 left in the fourth quarter, as the Gators saw their lead quickly trimmed down to two in less than 20 seconds, they remained composed and prevented the William Jessup University Warriors from doing any more damage to win 60-52.
“We kept our poise offensively and we executed down the stretch,” said head coach Dennis Cox. “It was a game where I thought we should’ve had more separation than we did but I gotta hand it to William Jessup for the way they kept fighting.”
The Gators had a rough offensive first half. They were scoreless from 3:16 remaining in the first quarter until 3:59 left in the second. Despite the early offensive woes, the Gators faced only a one point disadvantage before a score by guard Lauryn Catching ended their nine minute slump.
“Fortunately we were defending well enough to stay in it,” Cox said. “I thought we were getting good shots but they weren’t really shots within our offense so we were kind of out of rhythm. We just gotta be a little bit more disciplined to stay in what we’re trying to execute.”
During halftime Cox told his team they needed to play tougher in the second half, to which they responded. The Gators outrebounded the Warriors 22-16 in the second half, executed offensively by scoring 20 points in the third quarter and led by as many as 12 points.
“I think we played smart and played the defense that coach asked,” said forward Kaitlin DaDalt. “We grabbed our rebounds and made our free throws late in the game.”
Forward/Center Donae Moguel believed the key for the Gators’ win was being calm, cool and collected in the final minutes of the game.
“The fact that we calmed down, not get rattled and take our time to score helped us late in the game,” Moguel said.
Catching played a major role in the victory as she posted her third 20-point game of the season. Catching finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. DaDalt and Moguel also contributed huge with 28 points and 16 rebounds combined.
“This win is important to us because it helps us get the mojo going, allow us build on it and go on a streak,” Moguel said.
The Gators, 2-4, will attempt to build a win streak as they seek their first road win of the season against Fresno Pacific University on Nov. 26.