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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Monday - 10 points and eight rebounds against Stetson. Fractured tooth.

Tuesday - Trip to the dentist for crown and root canal.

Wednesday - 18 points and six rebounds at Jacksonville.

Such is a week in the life of 5-foot-11 Marshae Dotson as she matches up against her post opponents, many of whom stand over 6 feet tall.

That stretch, which took place in November, came just two weeks after she fractured her nose against Xavier in the season opener.

So it's little wonder that UF coach Amanda Butler has come to expect such toughness from Dotson, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, who will lead the Gators (14-8, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) against Auburn (15-6, 3-3 SEC) at home Thursday.

"You're not successful as an undersized post player if you think you're going to be a finesse player," Butler said. "That doesn't happen. Those two things - it just doesn't work out that way.

"You've got to be just a little bulldog in there and seek contact. Show that toughness and expect the contact, and even on some instances seek the contact."

This one could be extra special, though - Dotson needs 14 points to reach 1,000 for her career. It hasn't really sunk in for the junior forward.

"That's probably one thing that's not on my mind right now," she said. "From my understanding, it's pretty big. It's nothing really to me other than, 'Hey, I hit 1,000 points.'"

Dotson has set the standard for consistency, netting eight double-doubles this season and being the leading scorer in eight games and the leading rebounder in 16 games.

"It's incredible. It really is," Butler said. "The fact that she consistently shows up and puts up double-doubles regardless of who we're playing is amazing, but then you look at her performance (Sunday) against an LSU team with probably the best post player. … It speaks volumes about not just how talented Marshae is, but just how badly she wants to win."

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Along the way, the junior forward manages to spin around her taller foes en route to making some unbelievable up-and-under post moves. Against LSU, she drove, had her shot blocked, then spun and laid the ball in as the shot clock expired. As she ran back up court she gave Butler a high-five - and nearly dislocated her shoulder, as Butler would say with a laugh.

"Every game there's at least one of those plays where you're sitting there as a coach thinking, 'OK, this is a train wreck about to happen right here. There's nothing good that can come out of this play,'" Butler said. "Then all of a sudden Marshae just does something incredible that you don't see happen in most games. She gets me fired up. I'm inspired when I see plays like that.

"I may think twice about sticking my hand out there the next time when she's coming at me full speed, but it was a huge play. Definitely highlight reel."

Butler knew before this season started that Dotson would play a big role in the offense. Now Butler can see Dotson realizing her importance to the team.

"She's embracing the fact that if we're going to be great and if we're going to continue to do things that people don't expect us to do, she is going to have to, in terms of points and rebounds, lead that charge," Butler said. "She's meeting that challenge so consistently. In my mind - and again, I've not seen every post player at her size in the country - but it's hard for me to imagine there's anybody as an undersized player in the paint that's playing better than Marshae Dotson."

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