After stringing together three consecutive wins, Florida women’s basketball has dropped three straight games. The Gators (3-9) lost all of their matchups during their road trip against Ohio State, Utah and UNLV.
On Sunday, the team will be back at home, where they have won their only games of the season. UF is set to host Charleston Southern, a team that is currently 3-7 and has lost all four of their road matchups.
Head coach Cameron Newbauer spoke to the media on Friday about what his group needs to do to win against the Buccaneers:
“Focus comes into play in a multitude of ways, but I think definitely with a young and inexperienced team you’ve got to gain the experience and gain the focus by going through it,” Newbauer said. “We need to stick with the defensive and offensive plan because focusing on what you need to run on offense is just as important as what you are focused on taking away.”
Keys to victory
Charleston Southern will go into Sunday’s game with a few statistical advantages over Florida.
The Buccaneers currently score more points per games (67. 2) than the Gators (62.5) and average three more rebounds per game. They are also dishing out more assists per contests (13.9 compared to 11.4), while having a significant edge in the steals and blocks categories.
One way that UF can come out with a win is to spread the ball around to create scoring opportunities. Leading scorer Funda Nakkasoglu talked about some of the factors that leads the team to having better offense:
“I think it’s the experience we are getting playing with each other, but we are also really focusing on passing at the beginning of possessions,” the senior said. “Just getting more ball movement and more spacing. We know that the defense is going to be at their best for the first 10-15 seconds of the shot clock so we are trying to get the ball movement going quickly.”
Another key to a victory is to get junior guard Delicia Washington rolling offensively. Washington, who is Florida’s second-leading scorer, has averaged just under nine points per game in her last six outings. She is also shooting 28.4 percent from the field and has made only 3 of her 20 three-point attempts.
The Gators will also look to rely on a trio of freshmen: Ariel Johnson, Kiara Smith and Kristina Moore. Although they are some of the younger players in the program, all of them have shown scoring potential this season. Johnson, Smith and Moore are each averaging at least 6 points a contest and have also shown effectiveness on the backboards.
Florida’s game versus Charleston Southern is scheduled to tipoff at 2 p.m. This will mark the final game of non-conference play for the team.
The Gators will travel to Tuscaloosa next Thursday to face Alabama in their first SEC game of the season. They will be back home on Sunday to take on the Auburn Tigers at 1 p.m.