Before Paulina Hersler came to UF, the graduate transfer started only two games at UCLA and averaged under 11 minutes per game. Now, at a new program under a new head coach, the forward from Sweden has shined throughout the season, playing well in the paint and stretching the floor with her ability to shoot the ball from long range.
This season, Hersler has hit her career high in points (19) on four separate occasions, including Sunday’s loss to Georgia.
“It’s nothing you can really predict,” Hersler said. “I think the guards did a really, really good job of feeding us in the post and I think that opened up for a lot of inside game, as well as the outside.”
Hersler has also rebounded the ball well throughout this season. With her ability to score and collect control the glass, Hersler has seven games of 10-plus points and seven or more rebounds.
Turnovers the main bug running through Florida’s team
While the flu might be running rampant through Gainesville and the rest of the country, something else is plaguing the Gators this winter. It isn’t a sickness, but rather difficulties protecting the basketball and keeping possession during crucial times.
In the early portions of the season, coach Cameron Newbauer stressed the importance of protecting the ball.
But as of late, turnovers have played a crucial role in the team’s losses. Over the last two games, Florida combined to commit 44 turnovers in matchups with a pair of top-25 opponents, including 12 second-half turnovers against Georgia on Sunday.
This season, the Gators have only committed fewer than 10 turnovers twice and are losing the turnover battle to nearly every team they’ve played this year (-5.7 turnover margin).
Off week coming at a good time for Florida
Since SEC play began, the Gators have grinded out tough wins but experienced even tougher losses. For the last five weeks — all of which included multiple games — Florida’s players have had to balance the work of practice, school and travel.
The team has also dealt with a series of nagging injuries, including three that ended players’ seasons.
But this week, the team can ease up a little with no games scheduled until next Monday.
“We’re welcoming the off-week,” Newbauer said after Sunday’s game. “We’ll get some much needed rest, and then back to the grind.”
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Graduate transfer Paulina Hersler is posting career highs in points per game(12.2), rebounds per game(6.8) and three-point percentage (37 percent) during her time as a Gator.