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Sunday, June 04, 2023

T-Minus 3 days until official start of Butler Era

3 Days 'til Tip - Key Areas for Women's Basketball

Obviously, it's difficult to really determine much when your team faces a NAIA Division II team.

Then again, 106-28?!

Members of the team and media alike couldn't believe that was the correct


The Gators dominated Warner Southern. But, as any good coach will tell you, there are always things that can always be improved.

For UF coach Amanda Butler, two things she took away from the game were rebounding and zone defense.

I asked her about both during her press conference Monday morning.


She humbly noted there weren't a lot of shots not going through the nets for UF in the first half. It's fairly true, as the Gators did shoot 22 of 34 (64.7%).

It was the offensive rebounds (10-8 Royals advantage in the first half) that were most concerning for her. She blamed some of these on awkward bounces and long rebounds. Whatever the case may be, the offensive rebound margin in the second half was 17-7 in favor of the Gators.


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In a classy attempt not to completely embarrass their opponent, the Gators fell back to a 2-3 zone in the second half Friday night. Plus, as much as Butler wants the team to run, fatigue, injury, or their opponent will likely force UF to play a half-court set at times.

This was the most worrisome area. The only shooter Warner Southern had, 5-foot-6 guard Ivana Soberal, had 19 of her team's 28 points. She shot 7 of 16 from the field, including 4 of 7 from beyond the arc.

Butler figures this will be different against Xavier since the team will have watched film of their opponent (which the players did not do against the Royals).

Her take:

"Our preparation can be a little more specific. We didn't know what we were going to face against Warner Southern to specifically prepare for a shooter as greater as she was. Communication is where that starts. Reps and figuring out who gets in and putting whoever gets it out on the floor."

With all the emphasis on fast play and a full-court press, it's no wonder that perhaps the half-court defense isn't at the same level.

I've been told The Gators have been put special emphasis on this in practice lately.

In the players' words:

Junior guard Sha Brooks:

"Recently, we've been working on the zone defense a lot. We have little tweaks in our zone defense that we really need to focus on. Not losing sight of where the shooters are, knowing who are the shooters and rotating in the zone and knowing who has to guard who or where to be. We're working on it a lot. Hopefully in the next couple games, we'll get used to it."

Senior guard Depree Bowden:

"Talking on defense is going to be key for us. We have a lot of young players that have to learn to talk and communicate on the floor."

When asked about whether she prefers the full-court press or half-court zone, Bowden answered without delay, although she couldn't help but laugh while responding.

"I like full court. It's more aggressive and you're more in their face."

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