The University of Florida
women’s basketball team will face its toughest test of the entire season on
Tuesday, when the Gators play top-ranked, undefeated and No. 1-seeded Connecticut in the
second round of the NCAA Tournament. Tip-off from Harry A. Gampel
Pavilion, the Huskies’ home court, is scheduled for 7:11 p.m. and will be
televised on ESPN2 as the network’s national game.
who are the No. 8 seed in the Trenton Regional, are playing their first NCAA
Second Round game since the 2004 season, when they were seeded fifth and opened
with a 68-56 win at New Mexico, before falling
to fourth-seeded Baylor at The Pit in Albuquerque.
This is the seventh time in program history the Gators have advanced to the
NCAA second round, where the team sports a 2-4 record at this stage of the
tournament. The two years Florida
reached at least the NCAA Sweet 16 were 1997 and 1998, with an Elite Eight
showing in 1997.
of Tuesday’s game advances to the NCAA Sweet 16 and plays the winner of game
between No. 4-seed Virginia and No. 5-seed California. The
semifinal games for the Trenton Regional will be played on Sunday, March 29th,
with the regional final slated for Tues., March 31.
contest against top-seeded Connecticut (33-0)
will be the second time Florida
has faced a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The only other time was a
heartbreaking 53-51 loss to Old Dominion in the 1997 Regional Final. Current
Gator head coach Amanda Butler was
an assistant coach for Florida
Florida is 0-8 all-time against No.
1-ranked teams, including a 0-3 mark on the top-team’s home court. The last
time the Gators squared off against a No. 1-ranked team was on Feb. 27, 2005,
when LSU captured the 76-52 decision in Baton
will be the first time Florida
will face a No. 1-ranked team that is not a member of the Southeastern
Conference. The other top-ranked teams the Gators have faced includes
Florida is 4-3 this season against nationally-ranked teams,
including one win on an away court (at then-No. 22/21 Florida State
on Nov. 23).
In Florida’s seven games
this season vs. ranked opponents, Sha Brooks is
averaging 20.3 points, while shooting 40.4 percent from the floor (44-109),
collecting 3.0 rebounds, with 12 of the 21 coming on the offensive end. She has
scored at least 24 points in four of those seven games.
Florida’s current 24-7 record is the best
31-game record in program history. The 1995, 1997 and 1998 Gator teams all were
23-8 through 31 games. The 1995 and 1997 squads won their respective 32nd game
and improved to 24-8.
Florida’s 70-57 victory over Temple in the NCAA Second Round was the
team’s 24th win of the year, tying the all-time program record also achieved by
the 1995 (24-9), 1997 (24-9) and 2001 (24-6) teams.
Sha Brooks and Marshae Dotson have been the team’s offensive leaders this season. Brooks
leads the team in scoring (16.7 ppg), assists (4.74),
free throws made (134) and free throws attempted (169), while ranking second
for steals (1.68) and made 3-pointers (47). In addition to 13.7 points per
game, Dotson leads UF in field goal percentage (61.1%), rebounding (6.9 pg) and offensive rebounds (94), while logging a
team-best three double-doubles.
last three games, Marshae Dotson is averaging 18.3 points and
3.3 steals, shooting 63.2 percent from the floor (24-38) and 70 percent from
the free throw line (7-10). Sha Brooks is
contributing 17.7 points and 5.0 assists over those last three games,
connecting on 44.4 percent from the 3-point arc (8-18) and 75 percent from the
line (9-12). Junior Steffi Sorensen, who is tallying 12.7 points,
6.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals over that span, is coming off an impressive
all-around performance in the NCAA Tournament first round win over Temple. In that victory,
Sorensen posted her first career double-double with 13 points and a career-high
13 rebounds to go along with three assists and three steals.
Gator Game Day: NCAA Second Round
Seed Florida (24-7) at #1 Seed Connecticut (34-0)
March 24, 2009 * 7:11 p.m. ET
Where: Storrs, Conn.
* Harry A. Gampel Pavilion (10,027)
on WRUF AM850 in Gainesville;
audio simulcast on Cox Channel 96 with Steve Babik
& Steve Russell
Internet Audio: LIVE thru GatorZone.com (FREE of charge)
Live on ESPN2 with Pam Ward and Doris Burke
Streaming Internet Video: Live on ESPN360.com
Post-Game Satellite Feed: none for NCAA First & Second Rounds
for adults & $15 for seniors/youth