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Rick Nixon | | February 8, 2022

Florida is the Team of the Week in women's basketball after another pair of top-25 wins

Women's basketball rankings: Michigan soars, Tennessee falls in Power 10

The Florida Gators earned Team of the Week honors after securing their fourth and fifth victories this season against top-25 opponents for the first time since the 2005-06 campaign.

Winners of seven of the last eight games after victories last week over No. 7 Tennessee, 84-59, and No. 14 Georgia, 54-51, Florida has now defeated five ranked Southeastern Conference opponents this season, marking the first time since 2003-04 that the Gators have achieved that feat.

In the latest win over Georgia on Sunday, Florida (17-6, 7-3 SEC) snapped a nine-game losing skid to the Bulldogs and moved ahead of their rivals into third place in the SEC standings. Four Gators ended in double-figures, led by Zippy Broughton and Jordyn Merritt with 11 points each, while Kiara Smith and Nina Rickards each tallied 10. Florida ended the game on an 8-0 run while also holding the Bulldogs scoreless for the final 4:30, winning in Athens for just the sixth time in program history and the first time since Jan. 22, 2017.

RANKINGS: Power 10 | AP Poll

On Feb. 3 at home versus Tennessee, Florida handed the Lady Vols their largest loss to an unranked opponent since the debut of the Associated Press top-25 poll in 1976. Florida's win over Tennessee was just their fifth in the series and third in Gainesville all-time, while the 25-point margin was the largest margin of victory over a top-10 team in program history.

Smith led the way with 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting to go along with five rebounds, five assists and four steals. Rickards also stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, eight rebounds and two assists while Merritt added 13 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals. Broughton also contributed to the strong offensive evening, ending with 10 points, six boards, six assists and two steals.

Florida forced Tennessee into 18 total turnovers while holding the opposition to 24-of-64 shooting (37.5%) from the floor. The Lady Vols were held scoreless over the last 5:10 of the game. Led by Smith with four steals, the Gators tallied 11 total on the evening, helping them to a 26-5 advantage in points-off-turnovers and 24-1 advantage in fast break points. Both numbers were the largest margins of the season for the Gators.

The Gators will be back in action on Thursday, Feb. 10, when they head to Starkville, Miss., for another road test at Mississippi State.

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