After dropping two close games to start the season, the Gator Women’s Basketball team is on the road again looking for their first win of the season. Florida is in Macon, Georgia, to take on the Mercer Bears Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Gators Season So Far
Florida is 0-2 so far with losses against Gardner-Webb (60-58) and Florida State (63-56). On Sunday in Tallahassee, the Gators secured a halftime lead against the Seminoles for the first time since 2011. In fact, they held the lead for the entirety of the first half. But after a pair of big offensive rebounds with the Gators down by six, the Seminoles pulled away with the victory.
Taking advantage of rebounds is something head coach Cameron Newbauer says the team is still working on. This 2019 Gator roster is a little undersized but Newbauer said it doesn’t mean they can’t still scrap for rebounds.
“Rebounding is such an effort and attitude based habit,” he said. “That is something we are trying to commit more to.”
Although Florida has made mistakes, it’s only the second year under Newbauer and he doesn’t want his team focusing on just wins and losses.
3 Experienced Players
- Funda Nakkasoglu
Nokasoglu transferred to Florida last season after spending her first two years at Utah State University. On Sunday she had 21 total points against Florida State and 22 points in the season opener against Gardner-Webb. Newbauer says she takes advantage of big plays in games and that she’s a good teammate on the court.
- Zada Williams
Williams is another one of Florida’s transfers. She played her first two years of college ball at the University of Miami and this her first season playing as a Gator after having to sit out last year due to NCAA rules. Williams doesn’t have the same numbers as Nakkasoglu but Newbauer still considers her as one of the Gators’ biggest impact players.
- Delicia Washington
In Florida’s first two games this season, Washington has recorded 27 points. In 2016 she was named the Southeastern Conference Co-Freshman of the year which was the first time in Gator program history. Last year, Washington also led the Gators in assists and defensive rebounds.
All three of these players could be key factors to lead the Gators to their first win of the season.
Mercer is 1-1 this season and will open their home season against the Gators Thursday night. The Bears are coming off a win on the road at Georgia Southern where they outscored the Eagles 12-5 in the final three minutes of play. They had a very successful season last year with a 27-game win streak and they qualified to the NCAA tournament for the first time in Mercer history.
They only lost one player from last season’s roster to the WNBA and one key player returning for her senior season is Keke Calloway. With an average of 26 points per game, Calloway sits in the top-15 nationally. Another player Florida will look out for is Shannon Titus. In her game against Georgia Southern, she had a career high, 12 points and six assists.
With good offensive numbers, Florida will have to look for ways to slow down the Bears.
This will be the eighth matchup between the two teams and Florida has won the last four games in a row they’ve played against the Bears. Tipoff for Thursday’s game will be at 7 p.m. EST and you can listen to the game live on ESPN 98.1 FM 850 AM.