Gator guard Nina Rickards announced on Tuesday that she planned on entering the transfer portal. Rickards played four seasons at the University of Florida, finishing her senior season averaging 12.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
Reflecting On Her Time as a Gator
Rickards started playing at UF in the 2019-2020 season, averaging 5.6 points coming off the bench. The former Gator guard spoke on her time at Florida.
Rickards said he really enjoyed her time with all of her coaches, teammates, Gator Nation and professors. Rickards finishes her senior year as a UF graduate, saying finishing up her education was her main goal.
There was drastic improvement in Rickard’s point average in her last season with the Gators, increasing by more than double the points from her freshman year. Rickards was asked how she improved from a basketball standpoint at Florida.
Rickards came off the bench to start her freshman season, but saw her role increase as the season went on, starting the final 21 games.
The Growth and Popularity of Women’s Basketball
Last Sunday, LSU took on Iowa in the women’s NCAA basketball championship game. The final was watched by 9.9 million viewers on ESPN and hit as high as 12.6 million across platforms, breaking the previous record by 1.8 million. Rickards said that it’s exciting to see the recognition and belief that people have in women’s sports.
During the NCAA championship game, there was notable trash-talking between the two teams. When asked if trash-talking was becoming a bigger part of the sport, Rickards said that it’s always been a part of the sport. Rickards is from Queens, New York, where she said she grew up trash-talking playing against boys in the park.
Rickards said she believes a lot of the players at the college level have stopped trash-talking because of the fear of getting a technical foul.
Kelly Rae Finley was named UF’s women’s basketball coach in Feb. 2022 after serving as the interim head coach the July prior. Rickards was asked about the future of the program at UF under the leadership of Finley.
After basketball, the future for Rickards is still unclear. However, Rickards says, as a sports management major, she does want to stay involved in sports.
In regards to Rickard’s future and the reason for the departure from UF, Rickards said it was a very personal decision.