Gator women search for stability


Published: Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 12:06 a.m.

When Amanda Butler took over as Florida's head coach in the offseason, she noticed one glaring problem with her roster. The Gators did not have a point guard.

Heading into today's 2 p.m. contest against Alabama in the O'Connell Center, the Gators are still looking for some stability at that position. So far this season, the Gators have rotated Sha Brooks, Lonnika Thompson, Brittaney Thomas and Jennifer Mossor at the point with mixed results. Florida enters today's action 11th in the SEC in turnovers and 11th in assist to turnover ratio.

"We're a bit of a question mark there (at point guard)," Butler said. "But it's not something we've dwelled on. We just look where we have strengths and where other teams have weaknesses we can exploit. Then we put those people on the floor. Whether it's Sha at the point, Brittaney at the point or LT at the point, it doesn't make any difference to me."

Butler, a former Gator point guard herself, was so concerned about the position when she became Florida's coach, she went out and signed Thompson out of Trinity Community College in Athens, Texas, during the late signing period. That appears to have been a significant move. Thompson has settled in as Florida's primary point guard, starting the last six games.

Thompson has averaged 4.2 points in 16 games and is the team's most efficient 3-point shooter. She has hit 11-of-25 attempts.

Butler said she believes the 5-foot-4 Thompson is gaining confidence game by game.

"She's understanding what it means to play at a high level as a small point guard," Butler said. "She has also done a good job of adjusting her game as a passer and getting the ball to the right people on the right side of the floor."

Heading into this season, Butler hoped to use Brooks primarily at the shooting guard spot after the junior spent last season running the point. However, with the inconsistent play at point, Butler has been forced to move Brooks back to the point at times.

"You draw things up on paper and you have ideas at the beginning of the season," Butler said. "Reality sometimes turns out to be different. We knew Sha would play point some. We just didn't know what extent to. The great thing about Sha is she is going to do what it takes to win the ball game."

Thomas, meanwhile, has shown flashes of brilliance with her quick first step but has been inconsistent in her decision making. The Gators are trying to play Thomas more at the shooting guard spot to utilize her scoring potential.

"She is a unique player because she is much more of a scorer and a playmaker than a point guard," Butler said. "She may get more minutes at the two."

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