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Friday, June 14, 2024

The Southeastern Conference schedule leaves little time to worry about the past.

UF has no choice but to start focusing on Thursday's game with Auburn and quickly let last week's back-to-back home losses drift out of its thoughts.

The players had their normal day off Monday and returned to practice Tuesday to start preparations for the Tigers.

The team remains confident, UF forward Marshae Dotson said.

"I mean, we did play a pretty good game against LSU," Dotson said. "We were frustrated, (but) we were also proud of ourselves - how we played in the second half. … If we can get them to bring their starting five players back in, that's big to us."

Auburn comes in from the a different perspective with a two-game winning streak after victories at Alabama and home against Mississippi State.

Tigers coach Nell Fortner hopes that will carry over into Thursday's game against the Gators.

"Your team has to have great confidence into what I would call the stretch run of the SEC, the last month of SEC play," Fortner said in a teleconference Tuesday. "[My players] are confident in each other, and the direction they're going is very important. I think our team feels good about themselves right now. You just try to ride the roll a little bit."

STOPPING THE SLOW STARTS: UF has played poorly in the opening minutes of its last two games, and the Gators know this is an area they have to improve.

UF trailed 20-6 just 10 minutes into the Vanderbilt game Thursday, and LSU opened Sunday's game with a 12-1 run. Two keys to improvement will be shooting the ball better and committing fewer turnovers.

"We can't be timid the first five minutes, because we can get behind just like that," junior guard Sha Brooks said.

Dotson added: "We need to score a lot faster in the first half. Get people on their toes."

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THINK PINK THURSDAY: Thursday's game against Auburn marks Breast Cancer Awareness Night. Fans wearing pink will be charged only $1 for admission. The referees will be calling the game with pink whistles. Both teams will be using pink shoelaces to commemorate the event, and UF will warm up wearing pink shooting shirts. The Gators' coaching staff will likely be wearing pink as well. Rumor has it that assistant coach David Lowery, the lone male of UF's four coaches, may even sport a pink suit.

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