The Florida women’s basketball team breaks a three game SEC losing streak with an 87-69 win over Auburn Sunday in Gainesville.
The 18 point win over Auburn (11-9, 2-5 Southeastern Conference) by Florida (14-6, 4-3 SEC) was its biggest spread since December 20th and the first win since Christin Mercer’s indefinite suspension on Jan. 13.
And there may be a formula for success developing for the Gators as well.
It isn’t dominating the boards – Florida’s undersized roster has struggled with winning the rebounding battle all season, only coming out on top eight times – or scoring in the paint or bombing three-pointers. It’s feeling out the game, according to Gator head coach Amanda Butler.
“See what your opponent is trying to do to you and find those spots,” Butler said.
And the Gators found those spots multiple times against the Tigers, shooting 36 percent from the three-point arc and nearly 47 percent from the field, while getting 24 points from downtown.
Redshirt senior forward Lily Svete led the way for Florida in the first half, putting up 11 points and knocking down three shots from beyond the arc. It was one of the best games of the year for Svete – breaking into double digit points for the fourth time this season – scoring more than twice her season average in her second game coming off the bench for the 6-foot-2-inch shooter.
But Svete isn’t upset over coming into the game off the bench as opposed to being a starter as she averages a little over five points a game.
“To me it’s easier to come out a little bit more relaxed because when I start I have a lot of intensity,” Svete said. “As a shooter, I shoot better when I’m more relaxed and I let things come to me.”
Auburn kept it close at the half, down only seven points, but Florida pushed the lead to 23 with little more than 10 minutes to play in the game. The Tigers would not recover.
Leading the way for the Gators were senior guard Jaterra Bonds and redshirt junior guard Kayla Lewis. Bonds led all scorers with 18 points – 10 in the second half – to go with six rebounds and five assists, while Lewis put up 13 points and 13 rebounds after only grabbing five boards and two points in the first half.
But the statistic that most impressed Butler was the positive turnover to assist ratio – only the sixth time the Gators have managed that this season.
Florida will host upstart Alabama on Thursday, a team that has upset nationally ranked Kentucky and Georgia in its last two outings to give the Tide three SEC wins this season.
To listen to audio of players and coaches, click below.