The Florida women’s basketball team came up short on the road against the Temple Owls Friday night, losing its season opener 97-91.
Early on, Florida seemed to be haunted by a number of turnovers and fouls on this Friday the 13th match up. Foul trouble began within the first minutes of the game with junior guard Ronni Williams and junior center Tyshara Fleming getting in foul trouble. As time progressed, senior guard January Miller also collected fouls and from there, it was a domino effect of foul trouble for the Gators. A total of 49 fouls were called on both teams.
Turnovers also played a huge factor for the Gators starting in the early minutes of the game. The Gators tallied up 22 turnovers by the time the clock hit zero. Head coach Amanda Butler says the team has to become more disciplined and adjust to the newly added four quarters of playing time in NCAA women’s basketball.
With turnovers come points off turnovers scored by the opponent. Temple’s sophomore guard Alliya Butts and junior guard Feyonda Fitzgerald both had a total of 17 points at halftime. When the Gators committed their fouls, the Owls were shooting 80 percent from the free-throw line. Gator senior guard Carla Batchelor had back-to-back three-pointers. Carlie Needles, Brooke Copeland, and Isis Young also racked up three-pointers for the Gators but the Owls led the Gators 50-40 at halftime.
In the second half, The Owls were only shooting 29 percent from the field and the Gators started chomping at Temple’s lead. Guard Cassie Peoples got a hot hand in third quarter and was the team’s leading scorer. Familiar faces to each other, but newcomers to the Gators, Tyshara Fleming and Simone Westbrook, seemed to switch the momentum from the Owls to the Gators. Fleming had herself a block party with a total of four blocks and Westbrook went six for nine in shot attempts in 19 minutes of action. Amanda Butler was impressed, but not surprised by the duo’s impact late in the game.
It was a high scoring game for both teams. When Gators scored a total of 91 points and shot for 67 percent, in previous seasons, Florida would tally up a win. Butler said too much fouling and too many turnovers by her team helped Temple get the win.
The Gators will next host Florida State on Monday at 5:30PM in the O’Dome.