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Christin Mercer and the Gators play La Salle on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Friday December 14, 2012Gators Return to Court for Sunday Matchup at La Salle

Gainesville, Fla.

Christin Mercer and the Gators play La Salle on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Florida returns to competition for the first time in nine days, after taking a break for final exams following its 89-82 win against Pacific on December 7 in Gainesville. The Gators make the 821-mile journey to Philadelphia where they will play La Salle on Sunday at 1 p.m.


The game marks the second time in program history Florida will play at La Salle, however, it will be the first meeting against the Explorers on their home court. The Gators participated in the three-day La Salle Christmas Classic in December of 1988 and posted a 2-1 record. Florida enters Sunday’s game sporting a 5-4 all-time record when playing in the state of Pennsylvania.



VIDEO: Coach Butler talks about the game: 2 ways to watch:    and


VIDEO: January Miller and Sydney Moss talk about preparing for the game during Final Exam week:



Sunday’s trip to Philadelphia will be the Gator’s sixth of 11 games they are playing away from the friendly confines of the O’Connell Center, where the team has won 11 consecutive match-ups. Florida (7-3) is 0-2 in true road games this year, falling at Florida State and at Michigan. The Gators logged a 2-1 record in Las Vegas at the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout, playing N.C. State, Northern Iowa and Arizona State on a neutral court.


“The first thing we have to prepare for is not being here in Gainesville,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “We have to handle the adversity of going on the road and playing a very tough and athletic team that is very well coached and playing them on their home court.”


The Gators and Explorers meet for the third in time in history, including the second consecutive season. Florida collected last year’s 85-74 victory in the first round of the Courtyard LaGuardia Turkey Classic held in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Nov. 25. The two programs first played on Nov. 23, 2003, in the championship game of the BU Invitational in Boston, where the Gators took the 90-65 win.


La Salle has been on an 11-day break since playing its last game, a 75-36 home loss to Albany on Wed., Dec. 5. The Explorers enter Sunday’s game trying to end a five-game losing streak. Six of the team’s nine games have been decided by nine points or less.


Senior guard Brittany Wilson is La Salle’s all-everything player, leading the Explorers in scoring (19.9 ppg), rebounding (7.1 rpg), assists (3.0 apg) and three-point shooting (39.2%, 20-51).


“La Salle is led by Brittany Wilson and we certainly remember her from last year’s game,” Butler said. “They have a chance to be very dynamic in the full court, as well as in the half court with their athleticism and the way they try to make plays. We have to bare down on defense and do everything we can to take away some of their on-ball attacks. That’s one of the things they do really well. We also have to rebound the basketball - that will continue to be a focus for us.”


Preseason Naismith Player of the Year candidate Jennifer George, who scored her 1,000th career point in UF’s last outing, has scored in double-figures in eight of UF’s last nine games, including each of the last six outings. George leads the Gators in scoring (134.1) and rebounding (8.7) and has recorded a double-double in UF’s last two games, most recently the 17-point, 12-rebound effort against Pacific to net her 21st career double-double.


Sydney Moss was named the SEC Freshman of the Week on Dec. 10 after her stellar week leading the Gators to two wins. The Florida rookie was Florida’s leading scorer in its two wins during the week, averaging 16.5 points, while hitting a team-best 66.7 percent (14-27) of her shots and dishing a team-high eight assists with just three turnovers. Overall this season, Moss leads Florida in assists (4.1 apg), while ranking second for scoring (11.0 ppg), rebounding (6.1 rpg) and steals (1.9 spg) and has flirted with a triple-double three times.


Redshirt-freshman Carlie Needles has converted 21-of-48 of her three-point attempts for an average of 43.8 percent from long range during UF’s last seven games - including the record-setting 9-of-17 performance against North Florida on Nov. 23.


A 2012 First Team All-Southeastern Conference performer, George, the lone senior on the Gator roster, headlines a very young 2012-13 team ranked as the fifth-least experienced team in the country, but that is coming off its fifth consecutive postseason berth.



Florida (7-3) at La Salle (1-8)

Sun., Dec. 16, 2012 * 1 p.m. ET

Tom Gola Arena (3,400)

Philadelphia, Pa.





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Opening Tip

*The Gators are 5-4 all-time playing in the state of Pennsylvania

*Florida is 0-2 in true road games this season

*Over the last three+ years, UF has played 58 games decided by 10 points or less (2-1 this year)

*UF has used five different starting lineups this season, including a new one in each of the last four games

*In six of UF’s 10 games this year, every Gator who suited up to play, scored

*Sydney Moss is the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week

*Jennifer George scored her 1,000th career point in UF’s last game



For all of the latest information on Florida women’s basketball:

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Twitter: @GatorZoneWBK  and  @CoachButlerUF 



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