What do you get when five Gators score in double figures, the Orange and Blue out rebound their opponent by 17, and a true freshman has her first career double-double? Simple, a victory for the Florida Gator women’s basketball team. Lately nothing has been going right for the Gators (14-9, 3-6 SEC), but Sunday’s decisive win over Alabama (12-10, 2-7 SEC) was exactly what the team needed to snap its five game losing streak, and Gator head coach Amanda Butler says it may have given them the momentum they’ve so desperately been searching for.
Behind the outstanding performance of freshmen forward Christin Mercer with her career and game high 18 point, 11 rebound effort, the Gators were able to roll right over the Tide, 87-54. Mercer says she’s been questioning her own aggressiveness lately, and needed to change her mentality in order to produce the results she knows she’s capable of.
Mercer’s intensity and toughness is not lost on the coaching staff, which is why Mercer was given the opportunity to start Sunday’s game. She proved herself by scoring Florida’s first six points, and Butler says this is the type of performance she expects Mercer to have more often.
Helping Mercer on the offensive end were the four other Gators in double figures: junior guard Jaterra Bonds with 16 points and two assists, freshman forward Sydney Moss with 14 points and seven boards, and Vicky McIntrye and Lily Svete each contributing 12 points and a combined nine rebounds. Both McIntyre and Svete found their groove in the Missouri game, and Svete’s hot hand followed her back to Gainesville where all of her points came from behind the arc. Svete says being a shooter is a mental game and she’s finally finding her rhythm.
Not only were the Gators productive on offense, shooting a season-best 58.3%, but their defensive efforts held Alabama to just 25.7% from the field. With just seven league games remaining on the schedule, Florida will need to keep up this level of play if they want to have a shot at doing well in the SEC tournament and possibly advancing to further postseason play. The next obstacle in the Gators’ way is the Auburn Tigers. Florida will not have a mid-week game, but will travel to Auburn Arena on Sunday for a 3 pm tipoff.