Lily Svete is everything and nothing you would want in a forward.
She is intelligent. The junior is a double major in psychology and biology, planning on attending medical school upon finishing her undergraduate degrees.
She regularly wakes up at 6 a.m. to finish schoolwork before classes, practice and individual workouts dominate her schedule.
“There’s no distractions,” Svete said. “Finding the time to designate two hours and block it out, that’s my trick.”
Coaches and teammates rave about her.
“In years where she has played less or scored less or by the stat sheet seemingly had less of a role, she still has always been an anchor on the team, the most trusted player and the hardest worker,” coach Amanda Butler said. “Lily is going to be our first doctor out of the program, so we’re pretty excited about that.”
On the court, Svete has physical gifts few others can offer.
At 6-foot-2, she is the second-tallest player on Florida’s active roster. And she can shoot.
Redshirt freshman Carlie Needles leads the team with 41 three-pointers, but Svete is far more efficient, making a team-leading 45.5 percent of her threes.
In Florida’s 87-54 defeat of Alabama on Sunday, Svete connected on 4 of her 6 attempts from behind the arc. Three days prior, in a 69-64 loss to Missouri, Svete scored 9 points on 3-of-3 shooting from the three-point line.
Her 21 points in the last two games is her highest-scoring two-game stretch since scoring 22 points combined against Savannah State and Central Michigan in late December.
Yet the same intelligence that propels her often limits her.
Svete struggles defensively at times, as she commonly is a step slow or a second late in reacting. She averages just 16.8 minutes per contest because when her shot isn’t falling, her production slips.
“Lily sometimes is too smart because she thinks things out so much and analyzes and that’s really been kind of a paralyzing, limiting thing for her,” Butler said.
Svete has been held scoreless in five games this season and scored less than four points on six other occasions.
But when she finds her groove, she can score in bunches. Svete dropped a season-high 15 points in just 22 minutes against Savannah State on Dec. 20. She scored 14 points in 15 minutes against Troy on Dec. 4.
“It’s all confidence,” Svete said. “That’s what I’ve learned as a shooter and being here the last four years. The more confident you are, the easier it is to knock down shots.”
UF will need her to continue making shots down the stretch. As of Monday, the Gators were fifth in the Southeastern Conference in scoring, averaging 67.8 points per contest.
Despite the respectable ranking, UF struggles to put together two consistent halves of offense. Svete gives the Gators another scoring threat to help break the trend.
“We talk a lot about winning the battle of the paint,” Butler said. “It certainly makes the battle to your advantage when you have a shooter like Lily that makes defenders make decisions.”
Contact Phillip Heilman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Junior forward Lily Svete (31) guards sophomore guard Kayla Nolan (20) during Florida’s 84-65 victory against Georgia State on Nov. 11 in the O’Connell Center.