Wednesday February 27, 2013Gators Host Arkansas Thursday in Regular-Season Home Finale
Senior Jennifer George will play her final regular-season home game.
Senior Jennifer George will play her final regular-season home game.
Florida plays host to Arkansas on Thursday in its final regular-season home game that is the only meeting this year between the Gators and Razorbacks. Tip-off from the O’Connell Center is set for 7 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised live on SunSports in South Florida territory and on FS Florida in North/Central Florida territory.
The Gators and Razorbacks are currently tied for eighth in the overall Southeastern Conference standings sporting matching 5-9 records in league play with both teams playing one more game before the league’s postseason event.
Florida plays at 14th-ranked South Carolina on Sunday in its last game prior to the SEC Tournament, while Arkansas ends its regular season at home against Ole Miss.
Coach Butler talks about senior Jennifer George and facing Arkansas on Thursday:
Freshman January Miller and junior Jaterra Bonds also talk about the Gator’s lone senior and preparing to play the Razorbacks:
Florida is aiming to carry some momentum from its last game, a 67-61 road win at Alabama on Sunday.
Florida’s last meeting against 12 of the 13 other teams from the SEC has been decided by 10 points or less. The only one that has not been: this year’s Feb. 21 11-point home loss to Vanderbilt (68-57).
“Arkansas and we are right there together in the conference standings and when you’re bunched up and there’s a pretty good clump of us, you’ve go to have those wins and gets those teams behind you so-to-speak,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “At the same time, it is about generating momentum and getting ready for the conference tournament. Winning is the best thing that you can do to affect your confidence going into that field. I think it’s the best conference tournament in the country.
“When you look at the way our regular season has gone and everyone has beaten everyone and played them tight,” Butler continued. “It’s a great demonstration of how strong out league it, not just from top to bottom, but from the middle to the bottom. That’s one of those things that on the outside we don’t get a lot of credit for. It’s huge to win and generate momentum and enter the tournament feeling as well prepared as you possibly can.”
Florida leads the all-time series against Arkansas, 22-8, including a 9-3 record in games played in Gainesville. The Razorbacks snapped the Gator’s three-game win streak in the series with last year’s 73-72 double-overtime thriller in Fayetteville, where UF led by as many as 14 points early in the second half, before the Razorbacks came storming back.
Five of the last seven meetings between Florida and Arkansas have been decided by nine points or less.
“Arkansas is very similar to us but they have a few more seniors than we have,” Butler said. “Sarah Watkins has been a figure in the league throughout her career. She’s coming off the bench, probably so she stays out of foul trouble. (Calli) Berna is one of their newer players who is doing a great job of running their team. They have great shooting guards and they have great play-making guards. They have experience in players like Quistelle Williams who also is one of their seniors who is playing like a senior should. That’s really important. Tom (Collin) is a great coach. We seem to have pretty intense battles with them.”
Watkins, a 6-3 post, leads Arkansas in scoring with 12.5 points per game, while converting 78.6 percent (81-103) from the free throw line. Williams oversees the rebounding effort with a team-best 7.2 per game along with 10.3 points. Berna dishes 6.1 assists per game, the SEC’s second-highest average.
Jennifer George (Fresno, Calif.) is Florida’s lone senior and will be honored during a postgame ceremony on Thursday. The 6-1 forward is the SEC’s active career leader in double-doubles with 27, most recently tallied a 13-point, 11-rebound effort against Vanderbilt (Feb. 21). George also is the SEC’s active career leader in rebounds (859), is second for blocks (173) and fifth for steals (155).
George leads the Gators in rebounding (8.0 rpg), steals (1.9 pg) and blocks (38) and ranks second for scoring (12.0 pg) and field goal percentage (48.9%).
She has played in 126 games during her career, tied for the fifth-most in program history and has the ability to reach Tamara Stocks’ all-time record of 129 that she set from 1997-2001.
Overall, junior Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.) is averaging a team-best 12.2 points with 3.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists (second on the team) per game. Bonds, who is the only Gator who has started every game, ranks seventh in SEC games for scoring (14.4 ppg), fifth for free throw percentage (75.9%), tied for 14th for assist-to-turnover ratio (+0.80) and tied for 13th for assists (3.0 pg).
With her fourth of nine assists on Sunday at Alabama, freshman Sydney Moss (Union, Ky.) dished her 100th assist of the season, marking just the 18th time in program history a Gator has charted as many and the first time since 2010-11 when Lanita Bartley had 119.
Moss is the fifth freshman in Gator history to dish at least 100 assists in a season, joining Brandi McCain (246 in 1998-99), Camille Ratledge (159 in 1986-87), Amanda Butler (154 in 1990-91) and Roonie Scovel (113 in 1980-81).
Bonds is closing in on 100 assists this season, entering Thursday’s game with 96. The last - and only - time two Gators had 100 assists in the same season was during the 2000-01 campaign, when Tombi Bell had 139 and Brandi McCain has 124 assists.
Moss is the Gator leader in assists (3.8 apg), ranks second on the team for rebounding (6.3 rpg) and steals (1.5 pg), while ranking third for scoring (9.8 ppg). She has flirted with a triple-double five times.
Among SEC freshmen entering the games of Feb. 28, Moss ranks second for assists, third for rebounding and fourth for scoring.
Over the last four games, redshirt-junior Lily Svete (Granger, Ind.) is hitting 47.1 percent of her three-point attempts, nailing 8-of-17. Redshirt-freshman Carlie Needles (Highlands Ranch, Col.) is sinking 46.7 percent from long range during the last four games, too.
Svete is on pace to have the best season of her career. She has at least doubled her average in every stat category and improved her shooting percentages from long range and overall. Svete is on pace to set Florida’s single-season record for three-point shooting percentage. Entering Thursday’s game against Arkansas, Svete is converting 42.2 percent (43-102) of her attempts. Steffi Sorensen set the program’s season mark with a 39.2 percent clip (78-199) during the 2008-09 campaign.
Florida (16-12, 5-9 SEC) hosts Arkansas (17-10, 5-9 SEC)
Thurs., Feb. 28, 2013 * 7 p.m. ET
Stephen C. O’Connell Center (11,373)
FLORIDA GAME NOTES (PDF)
Game Coverage & More!
Radio: LIVE on The Star 99.5 FM (WBXY) in Gainesville and on AM930 (WFXJ) in Jacksonville with Adam Schick & Brittany Davis
Internet Audio: LIVE thru www.Gatorzone.com (FREE)
Internet Scoring: LIVE thru www.Gatorzone.com (FREE)
Internet Video: LIVE thru GatorVision.tv (subscription)
Television: SunSports in South Florida territory and FS Florida in North/Central Florida territory
O’Connell Center Press Row: 352-367-1801
Tickets: $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
*this is the first and only regular-season meeting between Florida and Arkansas this year
*Including today, UF has two games remaining before the SEC Tournament
*Jennifer George, UF’s lone senior, will be honored in a postgame ceremony
*11 of UF’s 14 SEC games have been decided by 8 points or less
*Overall UF has played 15 games decided by 10 points or less (7-8)
*Jaterra Bonds has led UF in scoring in 7 of its SEC games
Additional Hoopla for Thursday’s Game
Senior Night: Senior Jennifer George will be honored following the game so stick around to show your appreciation for her four years at Florida!
Rowdy Reptiles Check-In: Students with a valid Gator 1 ID can check in inside Gate 3 of the O’Connell Center for this 4-point Rowdy Reptiles check-in!
Tote Bag Giveaway: The first 100 fans will receive “I Support Florida Women’s Basketball” recyclable totes!
For all of the latest information on Florida women’s basketball:
Official Website: www.gatorzone.com/basketball/women
Twitter: @GatorZoneWBK and @CoachButlerUF