Gators look to rebound
Published: Thursday, January 19, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 19, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
UF women's basketball
WHO: Florida (13-3, 1-2 SEC) at Ole Miss (11-5, 1-2)
WHEN: 8 tonight WHERE: Oxford, Miss. ON AIR: AM-850
The Gators called a player-only meeting last Friday to discuss their frustrations of their first two-game losing streak of the season. The meeting came one day after an 80-65 home loss to Kentucky. Senior Dalila Eshe described the meeting as emotional.
"There were some emotions coming out there," Eshe said. "Especially, being girls, we're sometimes a little emotional. But I think it was good for us to talk and get our frustrations out there."
Eshe said the meeting allowed the Gators (13-3, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) to put back-to-back losses to No. 13 Georgia and Kentucky behind them.
"Everybody put their opinion in as to what we need to fix and what was going on," Eshe said. "We need to dig in a little bit now. We realize what it's about now. A lot of the stuff is want-to, like defense and rebounding."
The Gators will finally get a chance to bounce back tonight at 8 when they face former coach Carol Ross and Ole Miss (11-5, 1-2) in Oxford, Miss.
The Gators will have to improve greatly in the two areas Eshe noted - defense and rebounding - to get back on the winning path. The Gators were outrebounded 104-74 in losses to the Bulldogs and Wildcats and were even outrebounded 41-35 in their SEC-opening win over Alabama.
"We just need to box out," Eshe said. "That's been the biggest difference in these games."
Rebounding has become a major point of emphasis for the Gators since being outrebounded 55-39 by Kentucky a week ago. The team returned to practice and worked on nothing but rebounding and defense for several days.
"On Saturday and Sunday we barely went through any offensive sets in practice," guard Sarah Lowe said.
Coach Carolyn Peck said the Gators have shown improvement.
"We've spent the last three days working on boxing out and rebounding," Peck said Monday. "Is it perfect? Not yet. But the idea and concentration on it has gotten better."
Rebounding has been a problem for most of the season. The Gators are 10th in the SEC in rebounding margin. The Gators are outrebounding their opponents by just 0.8 per game.
It's a somewhat shocking figure considering Florida has two players in the top 10 in the SEC in rebounding - Eshe (7.8 per game) and forward Brittany Davis (7.4).
"It's a matter of getting rebounds but it's also a matter of not allowing the other team to get rebounds," Peck said. "For our team, we've got to rebound by committee."
Lowe said the problems in boxing out are a product of the team's match-up zone defense. Problems the team believes it has corrected.
"Since we do play a match-up you have to go make the extra effort to go and find a person to box out," Lowe said. "It's not like you're playing man-to-man and there's a person right there to box out."
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