The Gators will go on the road for the first time after their six-game homestand to face Prairie View A&M Thursday night. This will be the second time the Gators and the Panthers meet, the first one this decade. Last time they met was 12 years ago and the Gators toped the Panthers 69-63.
The Gators are 11-2 all time against Southwestern Athletic Conference opponents. This matchup will be the Gators’ second against an opponent of this conference this season. The first one was their season opener match against the Grambling State Tigers where Florida came on top 72-65.
Prairie View A&M will host the match against the Gators at the William Nicks Building and tip-off is set for 8 p.m.
The Gators are coming off of a homestand in which they ended with a 4-2 record. Adding the road game that opened up their season, the Gators are entering this game with a 5-2 record. Their only two loses come from two teams that are currently ranked in the Top 15 of the AP Top 25 poll.
Their last game was a successful 84-40 victory over Florida A&M in which they tied their season-high scoring in points. This high scoring was led by redshirt senior forward Zada Williams who had a career-high 22 points and also career-high 19 rebounds.
Another player that shined was freshman Lavender Briggs who had her third double-double of the season. Briggs is currently ranked third among all SEC rookies in scoring.
Smith, Briggs and Williams are all averaging double digits through seven games. The Gators have also been toping their teams in rebounds, averaging 46 per game, ranking third in the SEC.
The Panthers currently have a 2-5 record, winning two out of their three home games. Their home wins were against Texas A&M-Kingsville and Wiley College. Three of their defeats come from Power 5 programs like Oklahoma, Arizona and Texas A&M.
A player to look out for is senior guard Bernesha Peters who leads her team with and average of 10.3 points per game.
The Panthers are led by head coach Sandy Pugh who returns for her second season. She currently has a 19-19 record with the Panthers. She has also been named SWAC Coach of the Year four times. Before joining Prairie View A&M, Pugh spent 18 seasons leading Southern University. She led them to four NCAA Tournament appearances.