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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska showed the UF women?s basketball team it might not be ready to run with the big dogs just yet.

The Cornhuskers (3-0) dominated nearly every aspect of the game, earning a 90-63 victory Saturday night, which UF coach Amanda Butler called Bembarrassing.C

The Gators (2-1) never led, and didn?t even tie the score after Nebraska opened with a 5-0 run.

Butler stressed to her team after the game to remember how they feel after their first road outing.

BYou walk that fine line between not wanting to beat them up too much, yet making sure they understand the gravity of this moment,C she said. BThey?re hurt by how embarrassing that loss was. They know it was nowhere near their best performance.C

Nebraska used UF?s strategy against itself and it worked to near perfection.

The Cornhuskers pressured the Gators the entire length of the court and looked to push the ball as soon as they gathered a defensive rebound.

They forced UF to commit 33 turnovers and turned them into 38 points.

After the Gators struggled to break the press against Robert Morris on Nov. 12, Butler saw the flaw and tried to correct it in practice last week.

The Cornhuskers showed UF still needs some work.

BWe didn?t do a good job of getting them prepared for the level of pressure that Nebraska was going to bring,C Butler said.

Perhaps most troubling was the Gators? easily lost composure.

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The team appeared frustrated and their faces and actions showed it.

They started making illogical passes and did not play smart.

Senior guard Depree Bowden know Saturday night?s style of play could be very similar to conference play.

BThey?re gonna' be all up in your face,C Bowden said. BWe just gotta' stay composed.C

Of course several close officiating calls going against the Gators didn't help, either. But they knew their play is what cost them the game.

BWhenever you go on the road you don?t expect to get calls,C Butler said. BAnd they didn?t go our way tonight. But we?re not looking for excuses, we?re looking for ways to get better. …They called it the way they saw it. We certainly played a lot worse than they officiated.C

Foul trouble kept the Gators from getting the contributions they?ve expected of some of their veterans.

Bowden and junior forward Marshae Dotson both picked up their second fouls with over nine minutes left in the first half.

Butler took a gamble and put Dotson back in near the end of half,but it backfired when forward picked up her third foul before halftime.

Despite missing key players, UF managed to keep things close in the first half.

The Cornhuskers opened up the gap to 12 with 3:37 left in the half, but the Gators narrowed it to six before the break, capitalizing on missed layups and open three-point shots from Nebraska, who went just 1 for 8 from behind the arc in the first half.

After halftime was a much different story.

Nebraska shot 65.5% from the floor and went on a 22-4 run early in the second half to take a 71-45 lead with 7:42 left.

All of this from a UF team which overcame a halftime deficit against Xavier with a 51-point second-half effort and held off Robert Morris to win a close one.

BWe did not resemble the team that beat Xavier and beat Robert Morris,C Butler said.

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