Seven Florida players made three-pointers in UF’s season-opening win over the weekend. Just how coach Cameron Newbauer likes it.
“I don’t know when the last time that is we’ve done that at Florida, but that’s spreading it, sharing it and shooting it,” Newbauer said.
After making 10-of-31 three-pointers in their season opener, the Gators (1-0) can continue their long-range success tonight when they face Arkansas State (0-1) at 7 p.m. in the O’Connell Center.
In the team’s season opener against Georgia State on Saturday, all five starters attempted at least three shots from beyond the arc, with graduate transfer Paulina Hersler converting 3-of-5 attempts from long range.
“We took good open shots, shots we make in practice and shots we practice every day,” Hersler said.
UF’s total of 31 three-point attempts against Georgia State would be a rarity under last year’s coach, Amanda Butler. Florida never attempted more than 20 three-pointers in any game of the 2016-17 season.
Even with the offense in good form, the Gators took away something that needs improving: defending the glass. Against Georgia State, the Gators gave up 17 offensive rebounds and only had a +8 rebound margin over the Panthers.
“Rebounding is gonna be a key for us all year,” Newbauer said. “That was an emphasis in the second half and I think that’s gonna be one of those things where everybody has to be all hands on deck.”
Arkansas State comes into the game with only five players taller than six feet, and were dominated on the glass by Indiana on Saturday, losing the rebounding battle by double digits.
Hersler said Arkansas State brings a style similar to Georgia State’s, but with “a little more athleticism.”
“I feel like Georgia State prepared us for that,” she said. “We’re definitely going to have to step it up.”
In their four meetings, the Gators have yet to lose to the Red Wolves. Arkansas State comes into Gainesville after a season-opening loss on the road to the Hoosiers on Saturday.
And after the Gators fell behind Georgia State early in the first quarter, Newbauer said he expects similar pressure from the Red Wolves tonight.
“A lot of times, teams that pressure bring a lot of bark,” he said. “And if you don’t handle that bark, eventually they’re gonna bite.”
You can follow Justin Ahlum on Twitter @justinn_case1, and contact him at email@example.com.