The Florida women’s basketball team (14-6, 4-3 SEC) receives a visit from the Alabama Crimson Tide (10-10, 3-4 SEC) on Thursday.
Thursday’s game will mark the second consecutive home game against a team from Alabama for the Gators, who defeated the Auburn Tigers 87-69 on Sunday.
The Gators shook up their starting lineup in the game. Forward/center Ronni Williams started her second consecutive game, and guard Carlie Needles began the game in the starting lineup.
Florida coach Amanda Butler talked about shaking up the starting lineup.
“Whoever’s starting, that’s just their job for that game,” Butler said. “They’re supposed to go out there and set the tone.”
The Gators, despite the large win, still struggled on the glass. The Gators were out rebounded by the Tigers 48-34.
Despite the team struggles, junior forward Kayla Lewis kept up her strong play on the glass for the Gators. Lewis had 13 rebounds to go along with her 13 points.
Butler talked about her forward’s rebounding ability.
“I think she loves that fact that she’s smaller than most the people she’s going up against, and that’s part of what fuels her,” Butler said. “But I think the ultimate fuel for her is accepting and just really pursuing the fact that she can rebound in a different way that anyone else on our team can.”
Redshirt sophomore Cassie Peoples has been key to the Gators success as well. Peoples is second on the team with 34 steals, and Butler has been singing her praises.
“She takes great pride in defending the ball and does a fantastic job of that and does it in a really unique way. She’s got great hands, really quick hands. She’s low to the ground. She’s a strong kid. She’s probably a personification of what it is that we’re really trying to build on and that’s smaller is better.”
The Gators will call on Peoples to help defend Tide senior guard Shafontaye Myers, who comes into the game averaging 15.1 points per game.
Alabama comes into this game having found some recent success. They avenged an earlier loss to Kentucky in a close victory over the nationally ranked Wildcats and defeated Georgia in a close win in its last game.
Coverage of the game can be heard on ESPN 850 WRUF, beginning at 6:45 p.m.
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