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Friday, August 19, 2022

UF is trying to turn a women's basketball game into a full-court race.

That?s the style UF coach Amanda Butler implemented the very day she was hired.

BWe want to be aggressive,C Butler said. BWe want to set the tone. We want to play 94 feet of basketball.C

If it feels like you?ve heard this before, you probably have.

Former coach Carolyn Peck uttered similar sentiments.

But in 14 regular-season Southeastern Conference games last year, UF had more fast-break points than its opponent only four times, including in both league wins.

Unfortunately, injuries and departures from the team left Peck without the depth necessary to run such up-tempo basketball.

Senior guard Depree Bowden said the commitment to getting up and down the court was lost.

BWe got up-tempo, but not like we should, like we wanted to,C Bowden said. BWe only had seven people last year so it was kind of hard for us to really get going.C

UF will look to improve on last season?s statistics, including an offensive production of only 68.6 points per game on 38 percent shooting, good for ninth and 12th in the SEC, respectively.

Assistant coach David Lowery sticks by the belief that this style does fit the team well and said to look for an even higher rate of play.

BWe?ve got a group of players that can play fast, and they want to play fast,C Lowery said. BYou just gotta get it in their head. They played fast last year, but they didn?t play fast like we?re going to play.C

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Bowden is adjusting to the faster ball movement.

B[Coach Butler] don?t really like a lot of dribbling,C Bowden said. BShe says two dribbles at the max and then get it and go. That?s what we need in the SEC.C

The hardest part for the team to grasp has been the quick mental transition.

BWhen the ball is caught off the rim, we?re gone,C Lowery said. BThat?s the mentality we?re throwing in their heads right now. If you get a dead ball, you?re out the door.C

A similar approach will be taken on the other end, where the Gators ranked last in the SEC in scoring defense and field goal percentage allowed last year.

BIf you score, we?re jumping right on you right away,C Lowery said.

Butler mentioned junior guard Sha Brooks on Wednesday as having recommitted herself to defense during the off-season.

BIt?s something to adjust to because last year, our defense wasn?t that aggressive,C Brooks said. BIt?s going to be a whole new change. We?re still adjusting.C

Butler?s high-flying coaching style led to the team?s proposed strategy.

She wants the team to reflect her intensity.

BWhen you talk about playing an aggressive, up-tempo style, I think it?s very hard to be the type of coach then that sits very thoughtfully in your seat with your chin rested on your hand,C Butler said. BIt just doesn?t work that way. … I?m not scared to let it out there and let ?em see exactly the amount of intensity that I think it?s going to take for us to do the things we want to do.C

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