Coach Cameron Newbauer was nearly at a loss for words to describe his team’s nine-point defeat against Alabama on Thursday.
“Same old, same old,” Newbauer said.
He talked about the turnovers the Gators committed and the offensive rebounds they’d given up, two of the more obvious deficiencies in Florida’s game.
“We’re still not sticking to a game plan and sticking to who we need to be in order to have success in this conference,” he said.
The Gators’ next game against Ole Miss? Same old, same old. UF allowed 20 offensive boards to the Rebels while giving up the ball 18 times in a nonetheless thrilling double-overtime loss in Oxford, Mississippi, on Sunday.
“We had such a dismal start with turnovers at the beginning of the game,” Newbauer said after the defeat.
Florida turned the ball over in its first two possessions and nine times in the first 10 minutes against Ole Miss. Factoring in their latest performance, the Gators are averaging 16.6 turnovers per game, making them tied for No. 199 out of 349 eligible teams in Division I women’s basketball.
Same old, same old.
The Gators are allowing their opponents extra chances with offensive rebounds as well. Through 16 games, UF is giving up 13.9 offensive boards per game, having allowed 20 just once before conference play. But in Florida’s first three SEC matchups, the team has given up 24 to Auburn, 17 to Alabama and 20 to Ole Miss.
Those numbers could get worse as the Gators continue to traverse an SEC schedule that features bouts against No. 5 Mississippi State twice, No. 4 South Carolina and No. 19 Texas A&M. Florida’s only two games so far against ranked teams have ended in blowouts, losing to then-No. 17 Florida State 84-54 on Nov. 17 and then-No. 12 Ohio State 103-77 on Dec. 6.
For now, Newbauer’s focus is on his team’s next opponent. Kentucky will come into Gainesville on Thursday to play the Gators at 7 p.m. at the O’Connell Center.
The Wildcats are riding an eight-game losing streak stretching back to Dec. 8. Their most recent loss came to Georgia on Sunday afternoon, 56-42, in a game that saw UK score just five points in the third quarter.
Kentucky’s leading scorer, junior guard Maci Morris, is averaging 16.1 points per game on the strength of her 45.3 percent three-point shooting. She is the only Wildcat averaging a double-digit scoring output.
However, Newbauer and the Gators are wary of the athletic talent that comes with every school in the conference.
“You just start an SEC season, where everybody is bigger, faster, stronger, quicker,” Newbauer said. “And you’ve gotta be tougher immediately. There’s no days off.”