Thursday December 6, 2012Gators Host Undefeated Pacific on Friday in Toys for Tots Game
Florida plays host to Pacific on Friday in the Gator’s final game before taking a nine-day break for final exams. Fans who donate a toy to Toys for Tots located at the Gate 1 entrance receive FREE admission to the game that tips-off at 7 p.m. in the O’Connell Center.
Additionally, the first 500 fans will receive a FREE Head Coach Amanda Butler throwback replica jersey.
The Tigers have already earned three win on opponent’s home courts this season and sport a 7-0 record.
Thru games played Dec. 5, the Tigers were one of 18 teams of all 343 Division I women’s basketball programs that were undefeated, joining Colorado, Connecticut, Dayton, Duke, Florida St., Georgia, Iowa St., Kansas, Kansas St., Michigan St., Oklahoma St., Quinnipiac, South Carolina, South Fla., Stanford, Texas and Utah.
The Gators and Tigers meet for the second consecutive year and the second time in the series history. Pacific earned the 78-73 win in Stockton, Calif., on Dec. 9, 2011, when Florida dominated the boards, 52-35, but the Tigers off-set the Gator’s inside game by nailing 11-of-16 three-pointers and converted 22 Florida turnovers into 25 points.
“We lost and that’s the prevailing thought I have about last year’s game,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “We didn’t play well and we got caught off guard by a very talented and confident team. This year’s Pacific team looks very similar to last year’s team. They have great athleticism at the point guard position with Gena Johnson. I’m really impressed with this team and we’re going to have our hands full. We are going to have to really defend well.”
All three Tigers who tagged the Gators with a double-figure scoring effort last season return as seniors for Friday’s match-up.
Erica McKenzie, who scored a game-high 23 points by hitting 7-of-8 three-pointers as well as 8-of-12 overall against UF, is averaging 9.3 points this year and converting 33.3 percent (15-45) from beyond the arc.
“McKenzie is one of the quickest-release shooters that we play against,” Butler shared. “She does a really great job of creating her own three, which is difficult to guard.”
Forward Kendall Rodriguez is contributing 10.4 points and 6.0 rebounds this season. She went for 19 points with six steals against Florida last year. Guard Ashley Wakefield, who posted a double-double in last year’s outing, is tallying 8.9 points with 5.1 rebounds this season.
Sophomore Kendall Kenyon, who did not play against the Gators last season, leads Pacific this year with 12.1 points and 10.0 rebounds per game, while blocking 12 shots and collecting 13 steals, also team-bests.
“Kenyon makes a big difference in their transition game and is someone we have to keep an eye on at all times,” Butler said.
Florida (6-3) halted its two-game slide with a balanced 87-62 win against Troy in the O’Connell Center on Tuesday evening.
Pacific enters Friday’s game coming off Monday’s 74-60 victory at San Jose State in what tipped-off a four-game road trip.
Preseason Naismith Player of the Year candidate Jennifer George has scored in double-figures in seven of UF’s last eight games, including each of the last five outings. She leads the Gators in scoring (13.8) and rebounding (8.3) and is coming off her first double-double of the year with 14 points and 12 rebounds - the 20th double-double of her career.
George enters Friday’s game with 983 career points - 17 shy of becoming the 21st Gator to reach the 1,000-point plateau. The last Gator to reach the scoring milestone was Marshae Dotson (2005-09), who scored her 1,000th career point on Feb. 10, 2008 vs. Mississippi State and finished her career with 1,529 points.
Freshman Sydney Moss continues to post a well-balanced stat line each game and averages 10.6 points and 5.9 rebounds, while leading the Gators with 4.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game.
Redshirt-freshman Carlie Needles has converted 19-of-44 for an average of 43.2 percent from long range during UF’s last six games - including the record-setting 9-of-17 performance against North Florida on Nov. 23. Needles is averaging 10.2 points and sinks 39.3 percent overall from long range.
Moss and Needles both chipped in 18 points in Tuesday’s win over Troy.
Florida boasts an impressive 44-5 home record against non-conference teams under Coach Butler.
The Gators enter Friday’s game against Pacific riding a 10-game home winning streak, including an 11-game run against non-conference teams.
The overall run is the fifth-longest in UF history, while the streak versus non-SEC schools is tied for the sixth-longest streak of its kind in program history.
Florida (6-3) hosts Pacific (7-0)
Fri., Dec. 7, 2012 * 7 p.m. ET
Stephen C. O’Connell Center (11,373)
FLORIDA GAME NOTES (PDF)
PACIFIC GAME NOTES (PDF)
Game Coverage & More!
Radio: LIVE on The Star 99.5 FM (WBXY) in Gainesville with Adam Schick & Brittany Davis
Internet Audio: LIVE thru www.Gatorzone.com (FREE)
Internet Scoring: LIVE thru www.Gatorzone.com (FREE)
Internet Video: LIVE on www.Gatorvision.tv (subscription)
O’Connell Center Press Row: 352-367-1801
Tickets: Fans who donate a toy to Toys for Tots located at the Gate 1 entrance will receive FREE admission to the game!
More Ticket Info: $5 for reserved seats; $4 adult general admission; $2 for youth age 17 and under; FREE for UF and Santa Fe students
Parking: FREE in the O’Connell Center lot
*Pacific defeated Florida last year in Stockton, Calif.
*Florida is 4-0 at home this season
*The Gators have won 10 consecutive home games, including 11 straight versus non-conference opponents
*UF has played 57 games over the last three+ years in games decided by 10 points or less (1-1 this year)
*In six of UF’s nine games this year, every Gator who suited up to play, scored
*Jennifer George is 17 points shy of her 1,000th career point
Additional Hoopla for Friday’s Game
*Amanda Butler Replica Jersey Giveaway: The first 500 fans will receive FREE Head Coach Amanda Butler throwback replica jerseys!
*Toys for Tots: Fans who donate a toy to Toys for Tots located at the Gate 1 entrance will receive FREE admission to the game!
For all of the latest information on Florida women’s basketball:
Official Website: www.gatorzone.com/basketball/women
Twitter: @GatorZoneWBK and @CoachButlerUF