GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Zippy Broughton hit a clutch pull-up, a mid-range jumper with just under a minute left, then added two free throws with six seconds remaining to ice Florida’s 73-72 upset win over No. 11 LSU in front of an emotional home crowd on Sunday.
Florida picked up its third win over a ranked Southeastern Conference opponent in its last five games, also posting victories over No. 25 Texas A&M and No. 23 Kentucky. The Gators will now put their five-game win streak on the line when they host No. 1-ranked South Carolina on Sunday morning.
Khayla Pointer hit two free throws with 6:48 left to pull LSU even at 62 then Awa Trasi hit the second of two free throws with 5:25 to go for a 63-62 LSU lead. Pointer’s jumper pushed the lead to 65-62 before Kiara Smith put Florida in front with two free throws and a jumper with 3:17 to go. Pointer hit another big bucket as LSU regained the advantage.
The Gators, who led for 22 minutes in the game, grabbed the lead for good when Nina Rickards scored at the basket with 2:05 to go. With under a minute to go, Broughton dribbled into open space to the left of the free-throw line and drained the jumper to make it a three-point Florida lead. LSU missed two 3-point attempts on its next possession and Smith was fouled after pulling down the defensive rebound, hitting the second of two to make it 71-67. Ryann Payne got the ball in the corner and stepped inside a defender for a baseline jumper that got the Tigers within two, but Broughton pushed the lead to four with her free throws. Pointer’s 3-pointer at the buzzer set the final score.
Smith hit 10 of 13 free throws and scored 23 points with eight assists and three steals to lead Florida (15-5, 5-2). Jordyn Merritt finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. Broughton recovered from first-half foul trouble to score 14 points and collect three steals.
Pointer finished with 35 points to lead LSU (17-3, 5-2), hitting 11 of 27 shots from the field and 12 of 15 from the line. Autumn Newby grabbed 11 rebounds.
The loss snapped the Tigers’ three-game win streak. They travel to face Arkansas Tuesday before returning home to play No. 23 Kentucky Sunday.
Florida's hot streak in conference play will likely put pressure on the school to remove the interim tag from coach Kelly Rae Finley, who was named the Gators interim head coach in July 2021 after Cam Newbauer resigned due to personal reasons. Finley has coached at Florida for five seasons, the last two as associate head coach.