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Wednesday, May 25, 2022
<p><span>Sydney Moss (40) pivots in Florida’s 52-44 loss to South Carolina on Jan. 20 in the O’Connell Center. Moss scored a career-high 22 points in Florida's 82-73 loss to Tennessee on Friday. </span></p>
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Sydney Moss (40) pivots in Florida’s 52-44 loss to South Carolina on Jan. 20 in the O’Connell Center. Moss scored a career-high 22 points in Florida's 82-73 loss to Tennessee on Friday. 


Sydney Moss and assistant coaches David Lowery and Murriel Page are alone.

The freshman and her two coaches are running drills in an empty O’Connell Center on Tuesday afternoon. 

Moss brushes off Page, who simulates a screen being set, takes a pass from Lowery and shoots a mid-range jump shot. 

She repeats this move again and again, each time with Lowery urging her to remain balanced, square her shoulders and follow through with the shot. 

One attempt bounces off the rim and out, much to Moss’ dismay, but she continues her repetitions.

She focuses on her release point, her footwork and the instructions being shouted to her from the pair of coaches. 

“I’m struggling right now offensively,” Moss said.

“The ball just rims in and out. My layups go in and out. That’s why we have individual [workouts].”

Southeastern Conference play has been unkind to Moss, who is one of four freshmen who regularly contributes for the Gators. 

In 14 non-conference games, she averaged 11.6 points on 42.1 percent shooting. Those numbers have declined to 6.4 points on 22.9 percent shooting in UF’s five SEC games. 

The struggles began in Florida’s conference opener, a 76-69 loss to Kentucky on Jan. 3. 

Moss, who was named the 2012 Gatorade Kentucky Girls Basketball Player of the Year while at Boone County (Ky.) High, was making a homecoming of sorts.

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Boone is about 70 miles north of Memorial Coliseum, and Moss had many of her family and friends in attendance. 

However, she toiled through an unsatisfying performance. 

The freshman shot 0 of 10 from the floor and was held scoreless for the first time as a Gator. She turned the ball over three times, never gaining any rhythm during her 20 minutes on the floor.  

“It was frustrating,” Moss said. “Just one of those games.”

Poor shooting has continued to plague Moss.

She has yet to shoot better than 40 percent in a conference game this season. 

According to wbbstate.com, Moss has posted an efficiency rating greater than 10 just once in SEC play after doing so in eight non-conference contests. 

Despite the inconsistency, Moss continues to be a critical member of coach Amanda Butler’s rotation.

She has started seven games but typically functions as the team’s first player off the bench. 

Butler, who played four years at Florida, understands the difficulties of performing as a freshman.

She has pressed Moss to continue working through adversity. 

“That’s a lesson all our freshmen have had to learn, and Sydney included,” Butler said.

“The competition you are going to face is very good — the best you have ever seen. They’re going to take things away from you.

“We’ve got to be able to get over that, and you have to be able to get over that quickly because if you pull that negative energy into the next play, then your chances of success are diminishing immediately.”  

With senior Jennifer George nursing an injured right shoulder and the schedule unrelenting, Florida’s success, in part, hinges on Moss’ ability to rebound from her recent slump.

“It’s just motivation,” Moss said. “I can do a lot better.”

Contact Phillip Heilman at pheilman@alligator.org.


Sydney Moss (40) pivots in Florida’s 52-44 loss to South Carolina on Jan. 20 in the O’Connell Center. Moss scored a career-high 22 points in Florida's 82-73 loss to Tennessee on Friday. 


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