5-seed Gators upset in 1st round by Albany 61-59

Florida’s season is now over after losing to the University of Albany in the first round of the women’s NCAA Tournament.

The Gators led for a while after a big second quarter put them up 36-22 at half. Albany stormed back by outscoring the Gators 39-22 in the second half.

"We had a great season. It's just really unfortunate for it to end feeling this much disappointment,'' Gators head coach Amanda Butler said. "We weren't us in the second half. In these biggest moments, you've got to be yourself."

Florida just seemed so flat coming out of the half. They shot 20 percent from the field and could not stay as stout on defense as they were all season.

Albany capitalized during a 15-0 run in the 4th quarter.

"We couldn't seem to get any momentum back,'' Butler said. "Our decision-making was not up to par. We fouled jump shooters a lot, had some really critical poor decisions down the stretch. We were way too passive and hesitant. We got away from who we are."

Albany guard Imani Tate was a huge part of the Great Danes’ comeback effort. She led her team with 28 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Florida freshman guard Eleanna Christinaki led the team in points with 11 and notched five rebounds.

Unfortunately, the Gators had no one to turn to in the final minutes of the game. Everyone’s shooting went cold and Florida could not buy a basket.

"It was frustrating,'' Gators guard January Miller said. "I think we kind of let that affect our game and were unable to bounce back from that. We kind of kept expecting we would. On the defensive end we didn't come through."

After the game, there was a bit of confusion on the score. The Gators scored 58 points, but the official stat keeper awarded the Gators a free throw they did not make. According to the NCAA, the official score will still be 61-59 despite the Gators only scoring 58 points.

All in all, the Gators had a pretty great season.

They finished fourth in the conference regular season standings after being picked to finish twelfth and made it to the “Big Dance” after no one thought they would.

With key players returning to the team next year, coach Butler’s crew will have some high expectations.

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