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UF women's basketball depending on young players in 2012

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Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 12:24 am

Coach Amanda Butler has minutes to fill in her starting lineup this season.

Jaterra Bonds and Jennifer George are the only returners who started multiple games for the Gators in 2011-12. Kayla Lewis also started once before an injury ended her season early.

Because of Florida's youth, Butler has had been evaluating several lineups to see who performs best in various situations.

Though preseason practice can help the coaching staff determine who deserves the most minutes, simulating in-game situations is difficult.

“You can practice in a controlled way, but until you’re actually in the flow of the game and the coaches can’t step in …. you don’t really see in the moment who grasps things quite as clearly,” Butler said on Oct. 22.

She had an opportunity to see the development of the team and evaluate its progress when the Gators scrimmaged Clemson on Sunday in Macon, Ga.

Assistant David Lowery said the scrimmage was a useful measuring stick.

“When you go into these scrimmages, you really want to make sure you can get as much as you can out of the situation and really put your kids in, hopefully, a true game experience that we will have Nov. 9,” Lowery said.

Lowery said rebounding was one of the areas of weakness the entire team needed to improve. He was particularly impressed with the play of Chandler Cooper and Christin Mercer, two freshmen who stood out as players who could contribute for Florida early this season.

“Us having all those minutes to log is a good thing for our young ladies because they are going to have the opportunity to be special and hopefully insert themselves as pieces of the puzzle to make us unique,” Lowery said.

Redshirt freshman Viktorija Dimaite was the only Gator to miss the scrimmage as she continues to nurse an injured foot. Florida will hold a second scrimmage, against Stetson, prior to opening the season on Nov. 9 against Fairfield in the O'Connell Center.

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