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Saturday, October 23, 2021
<p>Zada Williams</p>

Zada Williams

Florida forward Zada Williams caught the ball in the paint. She took one dribble to her right and then went up for a layup as she got pushed in mid-air to draw a foul. 

Count it. And one. 

Those were two of Williams’ 10 points against Presbyterian College on Monday morning. Yes, morning. 

It was Florida women’s basketball’s annual Field Trip Day, hosting over 1,000 local elementary schoolers in the O’Connell Center. The miniature fans watched UF beat the Blue Hose 60-46 to continue its perfect start to the season.

Other than their first game of the season against Grambling State, it was the closest contest so far for the Gators. Presbyterian never led in the game, but it threatened often. The main contributor for the Blue Hose was forward Jade Compton. She was 5 of 9 from three and scored 20 points overall. Compton through three games before this contest was 0 of 5 from beyond the arc on the year 

“To me, when you play three games if you’ve only attempted five threes, you’re not a three-point shooter,” coach Cam Newbauer said. “We gave her some space early, and she hit a couple and felt really good.” 

But as effective as Compton was from the perimeter offensively, Presbyterian wasn’t effective inside on either end of the floor. The Blue Hose finished the game with eight points in the paint to Florida’s 30. 

Why? Williams. 

The UF forward’s 10 points came on 71.4 percent shooting. She was one rebound shy of a double-double at nine and had a block and a steal. 

She was also the main culprit for the Blue Hose’s scoring woes inside. Williams played a clean game with only one foul, yet still only conceded the eight paint points. 

“If you’ve got pride it’s hard to not want to try to force the action and try to steal the ball,” Newbauer said. “Sometimes (Williams) will swipe down, and (the refs) will call those, but she’s gotten really disciplined to where she doesn’t do that now.” 

Offensively, outside of Williams, the main contributors were guards Lavender Briggs, Kiara Smith and Ariel Johnson. All three scored in double figures despite the three-ball only falling at 25 percent among them. 

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Smith didn’t score until the second half and was 17 percent from beyond the arc. She also only shot at 30 percent overall. 

Those are uncharacteristic numbers for Florida’s floor general, but she made up for it by getting to the free-throw line. She made four out of five from the charity stripe to still tie for a team-high 11 point total for the game. 

“It was a great challenge for us,” Newbauer said. “I’m just proud that we took care of business and didn’t get down on ourselves.” 

Follow Graham Marsh on Twitter @GrahamMarshUF. Contact him at gmarsh@alligator.org

Zada Williams

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