The Florida Gators women’s basketball team has been projected to finish seventh in the Southeastern Conference this upcoming season. A poll of coaches across the SEC has the Gators picked to finish in the middle of the pack. This comes after a strong 2021-22 campaign that saw Florida finish with a 21-11 record and an NCAA tournament appearance.
This year’s poll does mark a staunch improvement for the Gators from last year’s rankings. The 2021-22 preseason coaches poll predicted the Gators would finish 11th in the SEC. They went on to finish fifth in the conference with a 10-6 record in SEC matchups. Despite their regular season success, the Gators would lose to the UCF Knights in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The Gators women’s basketball program has seen major improvements since the arrival of Head Coach Kelly Rae Finley. In just her first season with the Gators, Finley led the program to their first winning record in six years. She will hope to continue her success with Florida this year as she enters her second season with the program.
South Carolina Leads The Way
The defending national champions South Carolina Gamecocks sit atop the preseason coaches poll. Additionally, the coaches also predicted that reigning SEC Player of the Year Aliyah Boston will retain her title this upcoming season. Boston averaged 16.8 points and 12.5 rebounds per game last season and also received the Naismith College Player of the Year award.
The Tennessee Volunteers and LSU Tigers sit behind the Gamecocks and round out the top three of the coaches poll. The poll also predicted that each top-three squad will have two players named to the First Team All-SEC. The coaches poll’s predictions include Zia Cooke and Boston from South Carolina, Jordan Hortson and Tamari Key from Tennessee and Alexis Morris and Angel Reese from LSU. Alabama’s Brittany Davis and Mississippi State’s Anastasia Hayes also made the cut for the projected First Team All-SEC.
Interestingly enough, the Gators did not have any players picked to make either All-SEC team. Last season, senior guard Kiara Smith was Florida’s only All-SEC selection. She was later drafted 36th overall in the 2022 WNBA Draft by the Connecticut Sun. Florida’s Alberte Rimdal received an All-Freshman team nod last season but did not make it onto either All-SEC squad projection. The Gators will look to shock the world once again this season and make even more noise in a tightly contested SEC race to the finish.