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Sunday, March 03, 2024

The media decided there were at least 10 players in the Southeastern Conference better than Marshae Dotson, leaving her off the preseason All-SEC teams.

She has been discrediting her naysayers ever since.

Dotson has been the Gators' most reliable player so far this season, and she will look to continue when UF (4-4) hosts Florida Gulf Coast tonight at 7.

"Marshae's coming out to play every game this year," senior guard Depree Bowden said. "She's playing like a beast. That's the only way I can describe her."

Dotson averages a double-double with marks of 15 points and nearly 11 rebounds per game. Through Nov. 29, she led the team in both categories, ranking eighth in the SEC in scoring and second in rebounding.

Dotson fought through a fractured nose to pour in 25 points and 16 rebounds against Robert Morris on Nov. 12. She put up big numbers in the loss against then-No. 20 Florida State on Nov. 23 as well, scoring 22 points and adding 15 rebounds.

One issue has been Dotson's height or lack thereof, as the 5-foot-11 junior forward usually stands two or three inches shorter than opposing forwards.

"A lot of people look at Marshae and see an undersized post player, and that's a big mistake," UF coach Amanda Butler said. "Her size has nothing to do with what she's capable of doing."

Butler told Dotson before the season that she would be a big part of the offense.

"We just told her, 'The ball's going to be in your hands,'" Butler said. "'We're going to do things to get the ball in your hands, and we expect you to make plays.'"

Butler ignored the preseason snub and said Dotson will have a chance to change people's minds.

"In preseason, anything doesn't really make a hill of beans anyway," Butler said. "If that motivated Marshae, then great. We know how good she is, and the SEC will find out how good she is when we get here. She'll have a chance to earn one of those individual awards at the end of the season when it's a lot more meaningful."

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POINT GUARD PROBLEMS: Butler has been disappointed with the recent play of her point guards, Brittaney Thomas and Lonnika Thompson.

"They have the misfortune of being coached by someone who was a point guard," Butler said. "Our point guards set the tone and 12 of our 31 turnovers (against Louisville) came from the point. That trickle-down effect is going to occur when your point guards aren't sharp."

Butler questioned some of the offensive decisions the pair made against the Cardinals on Sunday. She wondered why Thompson, who was 2 for 2 from 3-point range, decided to start penetrating and finished the game just 2 of 11 from the floor.

Also, she asked why Thomas, who had success penetrating the lane, started throwing up shots from behind the arc.

Thomas had been the starter until the past two games, but turnovers and bad decisions have caused her to see a lot more of the bench recently.

She had only nine minutes of play against Louisville despite being named the SEC Player of the Week for the first week of the season.

DOWN THE STRETCH: Tonight?s game will be the Gators? fourth in nine days. They are 1-2 in their previous three, having lost back-to-back road games at Jacksonville and in Louisville.

Butler refuses to let fatigue be even the smallest excuse for her team?s performance.

BNo,C she replied quickly, when asked whether the amount of games has had any effect on the team.

After tonight?s game, the Gators will have two days off due to exams before practice resumes on Friday. UF will not hit the floor again until Dec. 16 when it hosts TCU at 2 p.m. in the O?Connell Center.

ETC: Sha Brooks has made 21 consecutive free-throws and has the highest free-throw percentage in the SEC … Brooks also needs just 20 points to reach the 1,000-point milestone … Aneika Henry ranks third in the SEC in blocks averaging more than two a game … Depree Bowden had just 2 points in 13 minutes against Louisville due to foul trouble. Both figures were season lows for the senior. It?s the fewest points Bowden?s scored in a game that she played in since Mar. 18, 2006 when she went scoreless in 8 minutes of action in a NCAA Tournament first-round game against New Mexico.

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