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Monday, March 04, 2024

UF Athletics Director Jeremy Foley hired Coach Amanda Butler to bring in more wins.

So far so good.

Butler earned her 50th career victory Wednesday night behind the play of senior guard Depree Bowden and junior forward Aneika Henry.

Bowden had a season-high 24 points while Henry set career highs in rebounds (15) and blocks (six) as UF defeated Florida A&M 71-51.

The Gators outrebounded the Rattlers 55-34, their largest margin since Dec. 14, 2003 against California-Santa Barbara.

Foley came on the floor to see Butler after the game and she said he praised her for the team?s constant improvement.

UF (10-4) now has more wins than all of last year, when the team went 9-22.

Of course it doesn?t hurt when Henry, at 6-foot-3, is two inches taller than anyone else on the floor.

BWhen you dominate a category that?s so important, like rebounding, obviously it?s an indication that you were the most aggressive team,C Butler said. BWhen Aneika cleans the glass like that and controls the paint like that … it allows us to be a lot more aggressive out on the perimeter.C

Even more of a confidence boost for the Gators, who have now won six straight, is the fact they won the game without much of a contribution from forward Marshae Dotson.

The junior went down to the floor less than four minutes into the game when she got poked in the right eye chasing a rebound.

Dotson would return with a very swollen right eye, but finished with just 3 points and 3 rebounds in 18 minutes of action.

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Sophomore point guard Lonnika Thompson also went down hard chasing a loose ball less then three minutes into the second half, falling on her back.

With the game out of hand, the sophomore did not return to the floor although she is expected back for Saturday?s game at Temple.

Butler liked the fact that when her team was faced with adversity, other players stepped up.

Sophomore forward Sharielle Smith matched her season high with 14 points and sophomore point guard Brittaney Thomas had 10 points, the most since Nov. 12 against Robert Morris.

The Rattlers (9-2) trailed by just four at halftime, but the Gators opened things up by scoring the first 11 points of the second half.

Now UF will look to test its six-game winning streak at Temple Saturday.

The Gators have lost all three of their road games so far this season.

BWe?ve got to keep playing like this,C Butler said. BThe games that we?ve played on the road to this point, the stats didn?t look like this. … Hopefully this string of wins and our successes at home is just going to make us more hungry.C

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