Jan 6, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; Florida Gators guard/forward Ronni Williams (1) moves the ball against Tennessee Lady Volunteers center Mercedes Russell (21) during the second quarter at Thompson-Boling Arena. Florida won 74 to 66. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Ronni Williams Leads the Gators into 2016

Heading into the 2016-17 season, the Florida Gator women’s basketball team is a fairly experienced group with senior forward Ronni Williams leading the way. A second team All-SEC selection as a junior last year, Williams will be a critical factor in regards to the team’s success this season.

The Last Go

Averaging 11.1 points and 7.8 rebounds in the 30 games she played as a junior last season, Williams has been working hard over this summer to improve her game. Williams was Florida’s leading scorer both last season (333 points) as well as her sophomore year (298 points). In addition, she also led the team with 235 rebounds during her junior campaign.

Different Look, Same Goals

Despite the loss of five seniors, Williams assures everyone that the team’s work ethic has not gone anywhee. She has seen both the good and the ugly throughout the course of her career. Her freshman year, the Gators posted a 20-13 record and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament. Her following year as a sophomore, the wheels came off as Florida finished below .500 with a 13-17 record.

This past season though, the Gators returned to form as they went 22-9 before getting upset as No. 5 seed in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

When asked about her goals in her final season, Williams said nothing about championships or individual achievements. All she wants is to go out with a bang and leave behind a legacy that started last year. She knows that the team is willing to do whatever it takes to win.

Building Team Chemistry

Chemistry issues should not be a problem for this year’s Gator team as they return four starters from last season. As one of those starters who has experienced much in her college career, Williams relishes in the opportunity to help out the Gator underclassmen and overseas players. Florida has four incoming freshmen and a grand total of three international players on the roster.

Mar 4, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Florida Gators guard/forward Ronni Williams (1) defends Kentucky Wildcats forward Maci Morris (4) in the third quarter during the women's SEC basketball tournament at Jacksonville Memorial Veterans Arena. Kentucky won 92-69. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

The makeup of this trio is junior Australian guard Funda Nakkasoglu (who will be eligible in 2017 as she is a transfer from Utah State), freshman Turkish guard Elif Portakal, and Greek sophomore guard/forward Eleanna Christinaki.

Florida’s first game is an exhibition contest against the South Alabama Jaguars on November 11th. It will take place in Jacksonville at Veterans Memorial Arena. Tip off time is yet to be determined. The Gators will not play a game in Gainesville until their December 28th contest against the Southeastern Louisiana Lions.

*All of Williams stats are accredited to FloridaGators.com

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