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Saturday March 20, 2010Women's Hoops Plays at Miami in WNIT Second Round Sunday

Gainesville, Fla.

The University of Florida women’s basketball team travels to Coral Gables to play Miami in the second round of the Postseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament on Sunday at 2 p.m. in the BankUnited Center.

 

Florida snapped a three-game slide with its 61-54 win against South Florida on Thursday in the opening round of the WNIT. Steffi Sorensen’s 16 points led a balanced scoring effort, as five players scored at least eight points.

 

During the game, Florida set the program’s postseason record with eight blocked shots, while hitting 10 three-pointers, one behind the 11 the Gators sank during the 1997 NCAA first round win against Florida International.

 

Miami is coming off an impressive 70-57 victory against Florida Gulf Coast, which led the WNIT field in three-pointers per game. The Eagles jumped out to an eight-point half-time lead, but the hosts roared back to outscore the visiting sharpshooters 43-22 in the second half.

 

The Hurricanes had good offensive balance in the win, paced by Shenise Johnson’s 20 points, six rebounds and seven assist performance.

 

Five the Hurricane’s last 12 games have been overtime decisions, with the team losing four of those outings.

 

Miami might be the most athletic team we’ve played this year,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “They have great speed and quickness at every position. They have two exceptional players in Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams, however, you’re selling the rest of the team short if you don’t mention Stefanie Yderstrom and Morgan Stroman and Diane Barnes. Those top six or seven players are very impressive at what they do.”

 

A First Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honoree, Johnson contributed 18.5 points, 130 assists, 94 steals and 4.3 rebounds, while shooting 36.4 percent (36-99) from the three-point arc. Williams, who garnered second-team all-conference accolades, leads the squad with 19.8 points, hitting 85-of-249 three pointers at a 34.1 percent clip.

 

Florida’s 61-54 win against South Florida in the WNIT opener was the team’s 15th game this season decided by fewer than 10 points. The seven-point victory also marked the program’s 13th game decided by seven points or less in the POSTSEASON, including six in the WNIT. The Gators are 4-2 in those tight WNIT contests and 6-7 overall.

 

The last time Florida and Miami met on the hardwood, neither of the current coaches were on the sidelines for the 80-75 Hurricane victory back on Dec. 12, 2003. In fact, both Florida’s Amanda Butler and Miami’s Katie Meier were coaching together at UNC Charlotte during the 2003-04 season. Meier was in her second-to-last year with the 49ers before taking the position at Miami for the 2005-06 season, while Butler was the associate head coach and was named the head coach at Charlotte when Meier left.

 

Despite the fact that the two programs haven’t played each other in six seasons, the 41-game series is the sixth-longest against any opponent for the Gators, who hold a 28-13 overall lead against the Hurricanes, but are just 5-10 when playing in Coral Gables.

 

Amanda Butler was an assistant coach for the 2009 USA Basketball Women’s U-19 World Championship Team that won the gold medal in Thailand. Miami sophomore Shenise Johnson was a member of that gold-medal winning club, starting all nine games and contributing 9.4 points and 6.9 rebounds.

 

With her 16-point performance against South Florida, Steffi Sorensen jumped to the top of Florida’s scoring chart with a 9.4 per game mark. Jordan Jones, who scored 10 against the Bulls, had been the Gators’ average scoring leader since the second game of the season. Jones is right behind Sorensen with 9.2 points per game.

 

In the last five games, Sorensen is averaging a team-best of 14.0 points and 14 steals, along with 5.2 rebounds and hitting 39.0 percent (16-41) from the three-point arc.

 

Freshman Jennifer George is averaging a team-high 6.6 rebounds over the last five games, hitting 47.2 percent from the floor and contributing 9.6 points, the third-most during the span.

 

“Our team has been very focused practice and has digested as much information on Miami that they can over a two-day period,” Butler said.

 

Florida played six other schools from the Sunshine State this season, posting a 4-2 record, including the first round WNIT win against South Florida.

 

Postseason WNIT - Second Round

What: Florida (15-16, 7-9 SEC) at Miami (18-13, 4-10 ACC)

When: Sunday, March 21, 2010 * 2 p.m. ET

Where: Coral Gables, Fla. * BankUnited Center (7,000)

Radio: LIVE on WBXY-FM (The Star 99.5) in Gainesville with Steve Russell & Brittany Davis

Internet Audio: LIVE thru GatorZone.com (FREE of charge)

Internet Video: TBA

Television: none

Post-Game Satellite Feed: none

 

-UF-

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