After staying in the Bahamas over Thanksgiving break for some sun and some tournament competition, Florida women’s basketball (5-3) will remain on the road for its third consecutive game, traveling to Alabama to face Troy (3-3) at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
This is the Gators’ third matchup with the Trojans, with the series tied at 1-1. Florida won last year’s game at home 87-62.
In order to pull out another win, the Gators will need to stifle Troy’s offense, which has exploded for at least 100 points in two of their six games this season.
“They do pose a lot of significant challenges on the offensive end in particular, their offensive end,” said head coach Amanda Butler in an interview Wednesday. “They’ve got some unique individuals that can really score in a variety of ways and that’s where their confidence is rooted, and we’ve got to do a good job on the defensive end of trying to take some of that confidence away.”
One unique individual to worry about is Joanna Harden, a senior guard and Florida native who is averaging over 26 points a game. The Gators may use freshman Ronni Williams to defend her. This will serve as a good opportunity for Williams to hone her defensive skills and determine what decisions to make in defending.
“She’s a player that we’re going to rely on to block some shots and make some plays at the rim that put you in harm’s way in terms of fouling, so she’s kind of learning how to navigate that,” said Butler. “I think she’s enjoying the process, wants feedback, you know, is that a shot I should’ve gone and tried to block, or is that a charge I should’ve taken, or should I just been straight up right there and make her score over me, and so, she’s learning the difference in all those type of defensive plays that she’s capable of making.”
Florida will likely look to senior guard Jaterra Bonds to counter Harden’s offense. Bonds is averaging over 17 points per game.
Butler also commented on the Trojans’ gutsy style of play.
“I really kind of admire the way that they play so fearlessly,” she said. ”They come down and shoot the ball every single time, as if it’s going to be the game-winning shot and they hit a lot of them.” Matching that intensity could put Florida in a good position for another win.
Wednesday is UF’s last game before the break for final exams. The Gators will return to the court on Tuesday, Dec. 17 to host St. Francis (PA). You can hear Wednesday’s game live on ESPN 850 WRUF starting at 7:45pm.
To hear audio, click below.