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Friday October 26, 2012Tangerine Wiggs Sets New Florida Hitting Percentage Record as No. 11 Gators Sweep MSU

Gainesville, Fla.

Senior Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) made history on Friday evening, as the senior right-side hit .929 (13-0-14) in Florida’s sweep of Mississippi State (25-11, 25-8, 25-11). Wiggs’ hitting percentage sets a new Florida program record, besting the .923 hitting clip by Benavia Jenkins in the 2002 NCAA Tournament (12/6/02 vs. UCF).


“I was most pleased our players stayed the course,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said.” They stayed focused no matter what the score was. That third set, we passed nails. Taylor Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill.) did a great job distributing the sets, and the team got to be part of history, watching what Tangerine did on the right side.”


Junior middle blocker Chloe Mann (Gainesville, Fla.) also had an errorless hitting night at the net, hitting .727 with eight kills on 11 swings. Defensively, Mann added a match-high four blocks while sophomore libero Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.) turned in a match-high 11 digs.


Brauneis dished out 25 assists to lead the Gators to a .455 hitting percentage, their highest mark of the SEC slate. Florida held Mississippi State to a -.141 offensive clip, their lowest hitting efficiency of the season, as the Gators stuffed 10.0 blocks as a team.


Wiggs added two blocks to her special night, leading all players with 14.0 points. Wiggs was quick to deflect all praise on her teammates.


“My hitting percentage is solely a reflection of my passers and my setter,” Wiggs said. “I’m blessed to have a really great setter in Taylor Brauneis. She does a really great job of distributing the ball and getting me great looks, and our passers do a great job of putting up passes that create hittable sets for me. I think I have the easy job. I think the passers and the setter have a much harder job than I do. All the credit goes to them; my setter, my passers, and my team.”


The Gators quickly took the first set, 25-11. Florida jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the first frame, and led by as many as 11 in the opening points, taking four straight behind a Monserez service ace and back-to-back solo blocks for Brauneis and Recek to go up 14-3. The Gators used aggressive serving and attacking to continue their streak, serving up three aces in the opening stanza and hitting .429 behind five errorless kills for Wiggs. Freshman middle blocker Simone Antwi (Fairfax Station, Va.) smashed a kill through the middle to take the first set, 25-11. The Bulldogs hit -.143 in the opening frame.


Florida took the second frame, 25-8. The Gators used another 6-1 run to open the second stanza, this time behind the serve of sophomore Holly Pole (Ocala, Fla.), forcing a Bulldog timeout at 11-3. The Orange and Blue continued to roll and a kill by Mallette that nicked the crosscourt line put the Gators ahead, 17-6, burning a second Mississippi State timeout. Senior Sundai Weston (Naples, Fla.) served four straight points to aid the Florida effort as the Gators continued to surge towards the finish. Kills by Mann and Wiggs ended the set, 25-8.


The Orange and Blue won the final set, 25-11. The Gators jumped out to a substantial lead in set three, going ahead 13-5 to force a Mississippi State timeout. A four-point serving run for Florida behind the serve of Brauneis gave the Gators a 19-6 advantage, and kills by Wiggs and Antwi put the Gators within two of the match, 23-9. Antwi put away the match for Florida, giving the Orange and Blue a 25-11 advantage in the final frame.


The Gators are off for the rest of the weekend before hosting Georgia and Tennessee next weekend. The Gators and the Bulldogs face off at 7 p.m. on Sun Sports/FS Florida Friday night before Florida hosts the Lady Vols at 2 p.m. on CSS Sunday.  


“The schedule really helps us now in terms of having Sunday off,” Wise said. “Next weekend is important with Georgia, arguably the most improved team in the league, and Tennessee, the preseason favorites in the SEC. It’s a huge weekend, and we’re fortunate we have a chance to rest some players now.”


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