Nina Rickards made two free throws in 8.2 seconds. After a 14 point deficit, 23 Florida came back to beat Vanderbilt 53 to 52 Thursday afternoon in round two of the Southeastern Conference tournament.
After a three-game losing streak, the Gators (21-9) have won their third game and will now face No. On Friday, the quarterfinals will be played by No. 4 seed Mississippi
Florida was seeded fifth. This is the highest ranking since 2016. The Gators looked set for an easy exit, but they rallied to win the fourth quarter by a record 20-8. Rickards’s first trip to the line was their only lead.
Vanderbilt (18-14) scored the first 12 point of the game. They led by as much 14 in the third quarter, looking for a second consecutive victory in a tournament they haven’t won since 2016.
Sacha Washington missed two free throws that had the potential to extend Vanderbilt’s lead by one second. Jordyn Merritt stopped Vanderbilt’s Iyana Moore layup after Rickards made free throws. Before officials sent the Gators to the bench, they began celebrating.
Officials added 0.4 seconds to the clock and Florida guard Jeriah Warren got a handle on the inbound pass to complete the Gators’ comeback.
Rickards was able to score 15 points for Florida. Zippy Broughton scored 14.
Vanderbilt’s Brinae Alex led the way with 18 points. Moore finished with 16. Moore added 16.
At the end of quarter one, Vanderbilt was leading 16-12. Florida tied the game at 18 with Merritt’s layup at 5:44 remaining in the second quarter. At halftime, the Commodores were leading 31-22. After the third quarter, the Commodores were leading 44 to 33.