This season for Women’s College Basketball continues to present unexpected surprises. Undoubtedly, it’s been a tough one for teams that are used to being at the top of their league.
Steve Russell spoke with former Gators women’s basketball player, Steffi Sorensen. They discussed some of the tribulations so far this season, and what to expect for the remainder.
Top Teams Also Fall
Two common themes have been present this season: injuries and losing players to the WNBA.
Many top teams throughout the season, unfortunately, fell in their ranks due to injuries and drafts. Texas A&M (6-16), was used to being at the top year after year but notably, struggled heavily throughout the season. According to Sorenson, when losing players to the WNBA it’s expected to see these teams struggling to produce.
Kentucky (10-13), started off well this season, but, fell off.
Unfortunately, teams like Kentucky, Texas A&M, and Tennessee, were hit with the loss of players to the WNBA. But Sorensen said she doesn’t doubt that they can still bounce back and recover.
The WNBA Impact
Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard, the No. 1 draft pick, and rookie of the year, slipped through the Wildcats’ fingers. Howard was drafted first overall by the Dream just a few months ago. Rhyne alone averaged 2o.5 points, seven rebounds, and around 2.5 steals for Kentucky. How exactly are these teams expected to quickly replace such a valuable asset and player?
Sorensen said it’s about getting the team to buy into defense.
Much like men’s basketball, Kentucky was hit with the transfer portal on top of WNBA drafts. As they struggle with their identity and pick up the pieces, it’s moments like these that losing a player like Rhyne Howard becomes extremely prominent.
Can Kelly Rae Finley Recover the Gators?
Kelly Rae Finley is noted to be a great communicator and very engaging with all of her teams, both past and present. However, the Gators are also struggling this season as well. Injuries have taken a toll on the roster, and if the women were healthier, this season would be looking completely different.
“That team loves her,” Sorensen said.
Guards like KK Deans, Leilani Correa, and Nina Rickards, demonstrated a prominent flow in the beginning, but when injuries within the team took place, they were greatly affected. The roles of this roster demonstrated to be quite back and forth. When players are injured, the team is expected to adapt to such losses, when they return, they must adapt and adjust all over again.
Overall, Florida’s main problem right now seems to be getting back into a flow within a fluctuating roster, according to Sorensen.