Florida women’s basketball coach Amanda Butler was less than pleased with her team’s effort following its seventh loss in nine SEC games this season.
The Gators fell to Texas A&M 84-76 on Thursday night after a lackluster performance in the interior, allowing the Aggies to convert 18 offensive rebounds into 15 second-chance points.
UF was outrebounded 44-28 in the contest and had no answer for 6-foot-5 center Khaalia Hillsman, leading Butler to call out her players in the postgame.
“I’m a little bit old fashioned,” she said in a video posted to YouTube. “When you’re a great rebounding team, it just has a lot to do with desire and not as much to do with technique. When you’re going against somebody that you’re giving up three or four inches… you’ve got to bend your knees a little bit more and dig down a little bit deeper. We didn’t do that.”
Now, after having a full weekend to reflect on the defeat, Florida (11-11, 2-7 SEC) will need to improve its energy on the offensive glass when it faces Ole Miss tonight at the O’Connell Center.
Like Texas A&M, the Rebels boast a roster full of players that clock in at over six-feet tall.
Taylor Manuel, a 6-foot-4 forward who came to Ole Miss as a graduate transfer from Loyola Chicago, has started all but one game this year and is shooting 47.3 percent from the floor.
Shequila Joseph, a 6-foot-3 senior forward, has corralled a team-leading 43 offensive rebounds this season while also knocking down 14 jumpers from behind the three-point line.
Shelby Gibson, a 6-foot-3 freshman center, logs 15 minutes of action per game and is one of two Rebels with a field goal percentage above .500.
Freshman forward Kate Rodgers, sophomore center Cecilia Muhate and senior forward Bretta Hart all also check in at 6-foot-1 or taller, meaning Florida will need strong frontcourt play if it wants to combat Ole Miss’ size.
One player in particular Florida will need a big outing from is senior forward Ronni Williams.
Williams, the SEC’s leading scorer at 19.4 points per game, is coming off one of her worst performances of the season on Thursday against the Aggies, when she totaled just nine points on 4-of-12 shooting.
UF is winless in conference play this year when Williams scores less than 10 points, putting an emphasis on the Daytona Beach native to improve on her previous outing if the Gators want to beat the Rebels.
“She just played with a little bit of frustration,” Butler said. “That’s not the way that Ronni plays.”
UF forward Ronni Williams dribbles the ball during Florida's 102-51 win over Southeastern Louisiana on Dec. 28, 2016, in the O'Connell Center.