The last four games for Florida Gator women’s basketball have been trying to say the least. After two games slipping away late, the Gators continue the hunt for their first conference win of the season. The Gators prepare for a tough one at home against 10-win LSU on Sunday.
Continue To Work
This season of Gator women’s basketball has been one that stresses the need to improve game by game. Gator coach Cam Newbauer has made it a point for his team to continue to get better as the season goes on, regardless of what the scoreboard says. Win or lose, this team has been focused on improving every time they step on the floor. This mindset has allowed the team to not get caught up with the four game losing streak to start conference play. Since the disappointing loss to Kentucky, Newbauer says he doesn’t see a change to his team’s attitude and work ethic. The senior leadership on this team has set the tone in instilling a culture that the young players can build on. One of those senior leaders for the Gators, guard Dee Anderson, says the team’s bond has kept their spirits up through this stretch.
The message of “chucking it from the cheap seats” has resonated with the Gators this season. Florida leads the SEC in many stats regarding the three-point shot. The Gators are averaging 9.6 makes from beyond the three point line this season, leading the conference. In the SEC, Florida has the most made three-pointers with 163 on the most three-point attempts with 481 attempted threes. Against Kentucky, Florida got many clean looks from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, the shots didn’t fall for the Gators. In the first half, Florida went 2 of 15 from three, which was unusual for this team. Florida opened the second half with three-pointers raining down, making five of their first six three-point attempts but then they made just 1 of 9 in the fourth quarter. Florida junior guard Funda Nakksoglu says the team needs to trust themselves and their ability to make the three-point shot.
Following the loss to Kentucky, Newbauer said he felt the defense allowed Kentucky to gain confidence offensively down the stretch. This led to Kentucky finishing the game hitting on five of their last six field goal attempts. The fourth quarter shooting efficiency from Kentucky proved to be the difference in a game that appeared to be Florida’s in the second half. Ahead of the Gators match up with LSU, Newbauer says what his team did wrong against Kentucky in the fourth quarter and what they need to do differently heading into Sunday’s game. The Gator players understand that LSU will come in a confident bunch from the jump. Anderson says that the Gator defense must make LSU feel pressure early to limit their confidence.
Led by head coach Nikki Fargas, the Lady Tigers are having another successful season. However, LSU dropped their last two games to Mississippi State and Alabama. Even though they are on a losing skid of their own, Newbauer knows that LSU will be another challenge for his Gators. Facing LSU will be an uphill climb for the Gators. Areas where LSU excels are areas where Florida struggles. The Lady Tigers are second in the SEC in steals per game (10 pg) and third in turnovers forced (19.67). Florida has polished the turnover struggles lately. Anderson says that the team needs to play their aggressive style in order to limiting turnovers. LSU comes in ranked fourth in the conference in three-point field goal defense. The ability of the Gators to hit on every good clean look they can set up from three can help them in making this contest tight.
Both teams come in trying to end losing streaks and get back in the win column. The Gators will tangle with the Tigers Sunday afternoon with tip-off set for 1 p.m. from Exactech Arena.