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Incoming transfers to play big role

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Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 11:46 pm

Out with the old, in with the new.

It is a mantra Florida must accept to have success this season.

After losing Sydney Moss, Vicky McIntyre and Chandler Cooper to transfers during the offseason, UF has holes to fill.

However, incoming transfers Antoinette Bannister and Cassie Peoples will help offset the losses.

With a team only nine players deep, the potential impact of the incoming transfers is limitless.

“Two really, really dynamic pieces for the puzzle for us,” coach Amanda Butler said of Peoples and Bannister.

“Both of those young ladies have high basketball IQs. They’re both scorers and playmakers in very different ways. They understand the game on both ends of the floor. They both fit in the way we like to play in being very aggressive.”

Peoples has been plagued with injuries for much of her college career.

She was limited to six games in her only season at Texas before receiving a medical redshirt after having an intramedullary rod placed in her left leg.

Peoples chose to transfer to Florida after her injury and the resignation of then-Texas coach Gail Goestenkors.

Last season at Florida, she sat out due to transfer rules but suffered a torn labrum in January.

Finally healthy, Peoples credits her conditioning regimen for getting her into top form.

“Tyler Stewart, our conditioning coach, definitely got us in really good shape this summer,” she said. “We worked really hard to become that team. It’ll show, once season comes, the work that we put in this summer.”

Bannister, a Jacksonville native, is a shooting threat.

However, she hopes to become more versatile in her first season with the Gators.

“I feel like I’m going to bring a lot of shooting to the team,” Bannister said. “From high school and AAU, I feel like that’s all people remember. ‘That Bannister girl, she’s a shooter.’

“I feel like I have a lot more to bring to the table. I’m just excited about finally being able to show it because I wasn’t really able to show it my freshman year.

“When they do scouting reports, I want them to say, ‘She’s a strong attacker,’ and, ‘How are we going to guard her?’”

Butler will attempt to employ a new, fluid offense this season to maximize the skill set of players like Bannister and Peoples.

Florida is built for speed, and a strong emphasis on the transition game is a focal point in the team’s revamped offense.

“We want to give them a little bit more freedom to make decisions and make plays and a little less structure,” Butler said. “We’re trying to maximize their abilities within a place on the floor instead of saying, ‘Go here. Screen here. Roll here. Dribble here,’ and giving them so many specific directives.”

Butler has said in the past that a primary strength of her team is its versatility and player interchangeability, but there may be a few kinks to work out at first.

“You’re going to see a lot of excitement on offense that at the beginning of the year may look a little chaotic,” she said. “But hopefully, it will make sense to us.”

Follow Gordon Streisand on Twitter @GordonStreisand.

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