Notebook: UF women’s basketball team to make most of tough defeat
Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 12:14 a.m.
After watching the film from Sunday’s 78-75 overtime home loss to No. 9 Tennessee, UF women’s basketball coach Amanda Butler feels the Gators can use the tough defeat as both motivation and education moving forward.
“It’s very similar to the way we felt after the Kentucky game (76-69 loss in Lexington),” Butler said. “We felt like we should have won. We put ourselves in position to do that, but we also put ourselves in a position to lose, and ultimately that’s what we’ve got to learn from.”
Despite losing senior All-SEC forward Jennifer George with 3:56 left in the first half when she re-injured the same right shoulder she dislocated in a Jan. 6 win over LSU, the Gators (13-5, 2-2) took the perennial powerhouse Lady Vols to the wire and came within a key play here or there of recording just the fourth win in program history against Tennessee in 48 tries.
“I think there’s a tremendous amount of confidence to be gained by the way that we played and by the way that we played in Jennifer’s absence, and I think we are really starting to show that we’re not a one-woman team,” Butler said. “We’ve got great balance and we’ve got freshmen who are growing up and are generating confidence with every experience that they are being thrust into.”
The Gators, who have had their first four SEC games all decided by seven points or less, have a bye week and do not return to the court until Sunday at 1 p.m. when they host South Carolina (14-3, 2-2).
No. 3 UF returns home and will try to rebound from dropping their SEC dual-meet opener on the road at No. 8 LSU last Friday by a 196.875-196.575 score.
The win was the first for the Tigers over UF in the last 10 meetings.
Florida (1-1, 0-1) will host SEC newcomer and No. 21 Missouri (0-1, 0-1) Friday at 7 p.m. in the O’Connell Center in the second of nine consecutive dual meets against Top-25 ranked teams leading up to the 2013 SEC Championships.
“Friday night’s competition at LSU definitely had some high points and definitely had some low points,” coach Rhonda Faehn said. “Obviously we were disappointed to not come away with the win, but looking overall at the competition, I told all the athletes afterward that it’s an accumulation of everything.”
UF held a 0.25 lead entering the final rotation, but had to count one of two falls on the balance beam while LSU came through with a solid effort on the floor exercise to pull out the win.
“It’s obviously hard to finish on the last event and have to count a fall,” Faehn said. “The competition in the SEC and over the country is just too tough and too tight to expect to count a fall and walk away on the road with a win.”
Track & field
Coach Mike Holloway’s Gator squads opened their 2013 indoor seasons with impressive performances at the Crimson Tide Indoor Opener in Birmingham, Ala., Saturday, recording six victories and 17 top-three finishes.
“The focus going in was just to see how a lot of the athletes, especially the young ones, compete when the lights come on,” Holloway said. “Overall, I was very pleased with the effort and the focus of the entire team.”
Both the second-ranked UF men, who are the three-time defending NCAA indoor champs, and No. 5 UF women, the defending SEC indoor champs, will be in action Thursday in the O’Connell Center when they host their only indoor meet of the year, the Gator Invitational, an all-day event.
Swimming and diving
Both UF teams return to action this week after completing their winter training.
The No. 7 Florida men and No. 9 women will host Florida Atlantic Saturday at 1 p.m. in the O’Connell Center Natatorium, while a group of nine athletes (eight swimmers, one diver) from the UF men’s team will travel to Dallas, Texas, for the SMU Classic Friday and Saturday.
“We finished up a pretty good fall,” coach Gregg Troy said. “Our fall season is kind of evaluating the team and seeing where we’re at and what improvements we need to make. We’ve had great training sessions the six weeks since we competed (Ohio State Invitational), so this week will give us a little reflection on what we have to fine-point the rest of the season.”
Having completed their last individual competition at the Three Oaks Shootout Sunday in Fort Myers, the 12th-ranked Gators open their dual-match spring season Saturday by hosting instate rival Miami at noon at Linder Stadium.
“We just had a great weekend to start out our spring season, and I think the guys are really excited about this year,” first-year coach Bryan Shelton said. “Miami is a very talented team and presents a big challenge. We’re exciting to be playing them at home. That’s certainly an advantage, and we’re hoping for a big crowd.”
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