After missing the past six games, junior Vicky McIntyre’s future with the Gators is in question.
The 6-foot-7 center last suited up for Florida during a 69-58 victory against Arkansas on Feb. 28 in the O’Connell Center. She did not play in the Southeastern Conference tournament and has not traveled with UF during the WNIT.
"[McIntyre] had to take a break for some personal reasons," coach Amanda Butler said. "That’s really about all I can tell you right now."
Asked if McIntyre was expected to rejoin the team next season, Butler was equally noncommittal.
"I hope so," she said. "I don’t have any reason to anticipate anything different than that right now."
McIntyre transferred to Florida during the offseason after spending two seasons at Oklahoma State. In 29 games, she averaged 4.8 points and 3.8 rebounds while logging 13.5 minutes per contest.
The Gators have relied heavily on freshmen to make their deepest run in the WNIT since reaching the championship game in 2000.
Florida will travel to Harrisonburg, Virginia, to face James Madison (25-10) at the JMU Convocation Center in the Elite Eight on Saturday at 4 p.m.
But without freshman January Miller, the Gators likely would be headed home.
Following a 16-point performance in Florida’s 85-53 victory against Winthrop in the second round of the WNIT on Monday, Miller was quiet against Charlotte for much of Wednesday night’s game.
But with less than a minute remaining in the second half, the freshman guard ignited a quick comeback that propelled the Gators into the Elite Eight.
After Charlotte junior guard Ny Hammonds sank a jumper to give the 49ers a 65-61 advantage with 1:05 left in the contest, Miller took a pass from Christin Mercer and connected on her only three-pointer of the game with 52 seconds remaining.
The shot sliced the Gators’ deficit to 65-64 and snapped a scoreless span of 3:12.
"I just came off the screen and instead of going off and doing my normal mid-range, I pulled up for a three, and it went in," Miller said. "It was crazy."
Mercer then intercepted a pass on Charlotte’s ensuing possession, and Jaterra Bonds scored the final three points of the game to help UF (21-14) escape with a 67-65 win.
"[January] has played so big and hit such big shots in so many big games that we weren’t surprised by it," Butler said. "Of course we were elated, and it instantly changed our positioning. It was just a huge, huge shot that really set up everything else that happened from that point on."
The play of UF’s freshmen has been equally important.
While Miller has averaged 8.7 points through three WNIT games, guard Sydney Moss has scored 17 points and grabbed 8.7 rebounds per contest.
Mercer and Carlie Needles have led a defense that has forced 16.3 turnovers per game in the WNIT.
"I’ve been really proud of that crew," Butler said. "That’s why we brought them here, and that’s why they chose to come here, to be difference-makers in big games."
Contact Phil Heilman at email@example.com.
Freshman guard Sydney Moss (40) drives to the basket during Florida 69-58 win against Arkansas on Feb. 28 in the O’Connell Center.