UF WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
5th year senior Svete appreciative as career wanes
Published: Friday, December 13, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 10:02 p.m.
The words “curb your enthusiasm” would be totally wasted on Lily Svete.
Svete, a fifth-year senior forward for the Florida women's basketball team, is truly enjoying every moment of her final season, and the Gators benefit from her presence at every turn.
“As a coach, you just never underestimate the value of having a player who, day-in and day-out, whether it's practice or a big game, is a kid who you just really can rely on to do her job and do it to the best of her ability,” coach Amanda Butler said. “Lily is one of those kids that will just absolutely play her guts out, and you never can underestimate that regardless of what the stat line looks like. That's the way she approaches her opportunity each and every day, and she's a joy to coach.”
Svete grew up in the heartland of hoops in Granger, Ind., where she set a career scoring record at Penn High School with 1,314 points and was a member of an Indiana Elite AAU team that won a state title.
An SEC All-Academic selection every year at Florida and a double-major (biology pre-professional and psychology) with a medical-school future, Svete knows her playing days are numbered.
“I’m really excited, especially because it’s my last year and I’ve been a Gator for so long,” she said. “I actually committed my junior season in high school, so it’s been like seven years total. Being a senior, it’s my last everything, and I appreciate every day.”
Svete, who was considering Big Ten schools Purdue, Northwestern and Penn State, became interested in UF after making an unofficial visit with her father, Lee, Notre Dame's Associate Vice President for Career and Professional Development, when he made a trip to see UF's top-rated Career Resource Center.
“It was really fun recruiting Lily and getting to know her parents,” Butler said. “Jill (mother) and Lee are fantastic people, and it's real clear she's had great home training.
“Every time Lily came in on an official visit, we would lose her at some point during the day, which was obviously concerning. But it was easy to find her. She always somehow had gone down to the practice court and grabbed a ball and started doing workouts. We were like, 'Hey, we can't watch those. How about coming up here and spending some time with us?'
“She's just a worker and a kid that's a gym rat. Every part of her is striving for excellence. She's going to be the first doctor from our program and sets the standard academically, and her consistency and work ethic, along with her personality, are just unmatched.”
After suffering a torn ACL four games into her freshman season (2009-10) that resulted in a medical redshirt, Svete played in 63 total games, all as a backup, the next two years, with her career-high average just 8.7 minutes a game.
That all changed last season when she at least doubled her average in every statistical category while setting a program record for 3-point shooting with a mark of 40 percent (52 of 130).
She has picked up right where she left off, leading the Gators (6-3) in 3-pointers made (17) this season while averaging 6.8 points and 2.3 rebounds a game, shooting 41.7 percent from the field overall and 40.5 percent from beyond the arc, and playing an average of 26.4 minutes a night — all career-high marks.
She heads into UF's Dec. 17 home game against St. Francis (Pa.) having started 42 games as a Gator, including the last 24 in a row.
“I have a lot more confidence now,” Svete said. “I’ve just worked really hard since I’ve been here, so it’s nice to have it pay off.
“I’m just ready to win a championship. That’s my goal.”