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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

UF may not have held Midnight Madness this year, but that didn't mean the women's basketball players got the night off.

The team held its first practice at 7 p.m. Friday, the exact moment teams were allowed to begin.

Coach Amanda Butler said the team had a great opening practice but then struggled a bit during Saturday?s practice, which followed a community service event that morning.

BIt?s hard to maintain your focus over a long amount of time, especially when you start to feel tired,C Butler said. BBut that?s what we expect. Overall I?ve been pleased. We?ve seen some bright spots and a few surprises and then … we still have a lot of areas we need a lot of work.C

These preseason practices give the coaching staff an opportunity to teach new things and run many repetitions for the players to pick it up.

Butler said a midseason practice probably would not last as long and would feature lots of film review.

BIt?s hard to put anything productive on film that?s worth watching at this point because things are so new to everyone,C she said.

Senior guard Depree Bowden said practices are very different this year.

B[Butler?s] very energetic and always trying to get the best out of you,C Bowden said.

Junior guard Sha Brooks has also seen difference in practice intensity compared to last year and said there aren?t any boring moments during practice.

B[Butler] expects a lot out of us - 110 percent,C Brooks said. BEven if we mess up, she expects us to at least go hard and go fast.C

The team started working on its full-court press, looking to pressure the offense with in-your-face coverage.

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Brooks said the team has been frustrated by the new defense but is starting to pick it up a little bit more as each practice goes on.

BEveryone wants to play the safe defense just in case you get beat,C Brooks said. BBut she?s telling us to play close up on them so if we do get beat, know that we have help.C

ETC: Brooks tweaked her knee during Saturday?s practice, but it appears to be minor. The junior, who underwent lateral meniscectomy surgery in March, did not participate in the beginning of practice Sunday as a precaution, working out on the exercise bike and doing some extra stretching on the sidelines instead … It?s possible the roster is not finalized yet. The Gators have 12 eligible players listed - junior guard Susan Yenser must sit out the 2007-08 season due to NCAA transfer rules - but there was a possible walk-on at practices over the weekend. Butler declined to comment until a later date, citing paperwork requirements still needing to be fulfilled.

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