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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Women's hoops matchup: UF vs Vanderbilt

Who/When/Where: UF (14-6, 3-2 SEC) vs.

Vanderbilt (14-6, 3-2 SEC), 7 p.m. EST, O'Connell Center

Last Time Out:

UF won 60-57 at South Carolina on Sunday

Vanderbilt won 83-50 vs. Mississippi on


Last Meeting:

March 2, 2007: Vanderbilt defeated UF 105-77

in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals in Duluth, Ga.

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Projected Starters:


F Hannah Tuomi (6-1, Fr.)

F Christina Wirth (6-1, Jr.)

G Jennifer Risper (5-9, Jr.)

G Jence Rhoads (5-11, Fr.)

G Merideth Marsh (5-7, So.)

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F Marshae Dotson (5-11, Jr.)

C Aneika Henry (6-3, Jr.)

G Lonnika Thompson (5-4, So.)

G Sha Brooks (5-7, Jr.)

G Depree Bowden (5-11, Sr.)

Why Vanderbilt Might Win:

The Commodores shoot lights-out, and they

force you to do the same with their great zone defense. Coming into

tonight's contest, Vanderbilt is shooting 48.2 percent from the

field, good for fifth nationally. Its stingy defense is allowing

opponents to shoot only 36.3 percent, and the Gators had a lot of

problems with Georgia's stingy, aggressive defense, which let the

Bulldogs open a big lead early. Center Liz Sherwood gives the

Commodores one of the best sixth women in the country.

Why UF Might Win:

The Gators should be hungry to play after

their disappointing last showing at home, a week ago against

Georgia - an 82-55 whipping as UF coach Amanda Butler called it. UF

is getting decent contributions from its bench lately but those

need to be in addition to normal big games by Dotson, Brooks and

Bowden. Still, it's hard to count the Gators out at home where they

normally play even above their potential. Their best win so far

came in their season opener against Xavier, a team now ranked in

the RPI's top 50.

Final Word:

The three-game home stretch coming up for UF

could make or break its last part of the season. Vanderbilt visits

tonight with No. 8 LSU coming Sunday, and then Auburn pays a visit

a week from today. All three are potential losses and would make it

hard for the Gators to stay March-bound, considering road dates

with Tennessee and Georgia still await. The coaches took the time

to address the team about the NCAA Tournament prior to Sunday's

must-win rebound victory at South Carolina. They must realize that

to stay in contention, the Gators really need at least one of the

next three, and two wins would do a lot for them. UF must continue

to take care of the games later on that they "should win" but must

also pick up one marquee win. This game probably wouldn't qualify,

but it'd be a big boost to team confidence nonetheless coming on

the heels of last week's home disaster.

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