Florida women’s basketball has been picked to finish 12th in the Southeastern Conference by vote of the league’s media members in the preseason poll released Tuesday afternoon by the league. The Gator women’s basketball team return with the conference’s two leading scorers from the 2021 season and debut a new head coach in Kelly Rae Finley.
The duo of Lavender Briggs and Kiara Smith combined for a school record 38.3 points per game. Briggs averaged a team best 19.5 points per game, including a career-high 41 against Arkansas on Jan. 14, 2021. As Briggs running mate, Smith averaged 18.8 points per game with 6.7 rebounds, she also scored a career-high 36 against Kentucky in the SEC tournament.
Gator New coach
This year, the Gators will look to interim head coach Finley to lead the Gators 2022 team. Finley was elevated to head coach following the resignation of Cam Newbauer. Less than six weeks after signing a three year extension Newbauer stepped down for personal reasons. Finely had the title of associate head coach since May of 2019 and has been with the staff since April of 2017.
Finley lead the Gators to a 78-68 win at Ole Miss, their first win in Oxford since 2016 when she filled in for Newbauer after he entered the health and safety protocol.
SEC Preseason Rankings
Preseason Media Poll
1. South Carolina
3. Texas A&M
8. Ole Miss
9. Mississippi State
Preseason SEC player of the Year
Rhyne Howard, Kentucky
For the second year in a row South Carolina women’s basketball is number one in the preseason AP poll. They will return all five starters and are looking toward another national championship run. Meanwhile, the Gators will look to bounce back following a 12-14 season. Their last winning season was in the 2015-2016 season under head coach Amanda Butler going 22-8.
The Gators will begin their season with a November 5 exhibition against Flagler College. Regular season play begins Tuesday November 9 vs. Georgia State.