Gators ‘humbled’ by No. 4 Mississippi State on road

The Florida women’s basketball team has faced a brutal start to SEC play, and its conference record continues to deteriorate.

From errant passes resulting in unforced turnovers to poor rebounding leading to second-chance points, it was an all-around ugly performance from UF on Thursday night when it took on Mississippi State.

The No. 4 Bulldogs beat down the Gators 82-49 at the Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Mississippi, holding Florida to a season low in scoring.

Backup center Teaira McCowan, towering over defenders at 6-foot-7, torched Florida with 25 points on 12-of-13 shooting. Guard Victoria Vivians also continued a solid junior campaign, tallying 21 points of her own and corralling five rebounds.

UF was hampered by a lackluster effort on the boards and poor ball handling. The Gators allowed Mississippi State to pull down 17 offensive boards and committed 27 turnovers, resulting in 22 second chance points and 27 points off turnovers for the Bulldogs.

The Gators (9-8, 0-4 SEC) also received a quiet offensive performance from senior forward Ronni Williams. The senior entered Thursday night leading the SEC in scoring but was held to only three made field goals in the contest.

Delicia Washington was the one bright spot for Florida, notching 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting. However, the freshman guard failed to get her teammates involved with zero assists, highlighting a lack of offensive continuity in UF’s worst offensive outing so far this season.

“You will be humbled all the way to your knees in this league when you play poorly on someone else’s home court,” coach Amanda Butler said. “We didn’t play well tonight.”

Following an evenly played first couple of minutes, the Bulldogs exploded on a 14-0 run that quickly shifted the momentum their way.

Vivians, senior center Chinwe Okorie and senior forward Breanna Richardson all knocked down jumpers to give Mississippi State (18-0, 4-0 SEC) a 20-5 lead with 1:15 left in the first quarter.

Another 11-2 run by the Bulldogs in the second quarter led by three field goals from McCowan put her team up 44-20 with a little more than two minutes left in the period. The Gators ultimately scored a season-low 22 points in the first half.

Things got a little bit better for Florida in the second half, but not much. UF shot 40 percent from the floor in the final two frames but continued to be hindered by wreckless turnovers, relinquishing the ball to Mississippi State another 13 times in the period.

“I’m really disappointed that we didn’t show up and play our jobs better,” Butler said. "We played poorly on both ends.” A video posted to the Florida GatorsWBB YouTube account contributed to this report. Contact Dylan Dixon at ddixon@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @dylanrdixon .