Wednesday March 27, 2013Women's Basketball Faces Charlotte in WNIT Sweet 16 on Wednesday
Jaterra Bonds is three made free throws shy from tying the program's season record.
Jaterra Bonds is three made free throws shy from tying the program's season record.
Florida continues its march in the WNIT next traveling to Charlotte, N.C., to play Charlotte on Wednesday in the round of 16, with tip-off from Halton Arena scheduled for 7 p.m.
Florida (20-14) captured a pair of road wins to advance to the WNIT third round, defeating FIU, 75-68, on Thursday in the first round and topping Winthrop, 85-53, on Monday in the second round. Freshman January Miller scored a game-high 16 points to lead five Gators in double-figure scoring en route to the 85-53 win at Winthrop, while fellow rookie Sydney Moss posted her fourth double-double with a 13-point, 11-rebound effort, helping Florida outrebound the hosts, 44-36.
Charlotte (26-5) has earned two home victories to reach the round of 16, topping Appalachian State, 79-61, on Thursday and Davidson, 72-60, on Sunday.
VIDEO – 2Ways2Watch
Carlie Needles interviews Coach Butler, Jaterra Bonds and Lily
Svete about Wednesday’s game and more!
Wednesday’s game will be the eighth meeting between Florida and Charlotte, including the second in the WNIT round of 16. The Gators lead the all-time series 6-1, but the 49ers claimed the 2011 postseason win in the 81-77 overtime decision played at Halton Arena.
Two current members of the Gator squad played in the 2011 WNIT round of 16 overtime loss at Charlotte on March 24. Jaterra Bonds, then a freshman, scored a career-high 23 points, hitting 5-of-11 three-pointers, while then-sophomore Jennifer George scored nine points with 10 rebounds. Lily Svete also was on the team, but sidelined with a knee injury.
Prior to Gator head coach Amanda Butler taking over the reins of her alma mater for the 2007-08 season, she spent the previous two years as head coach at Charlotte, where she compiled a 40-22 record that included two WNIT berths and a share of the 49ers first-ever Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season championship. Her debut season resulted in an overall record of 21-9, the most wins ever by a Charlotte coach in their first year, as Butler was recognized as the league’s Coach of the Year. The 2006-07 49ers posted a 19-13 overall mark, advancing to the WNIT second round before losing to Virginia, 74-72.
The current Charlotte team features two players who average a double-double. Jennifer Hailey was honored as the 2013 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year after guiding the 49ers to a 13-1 league record. The 6-4 senior forward averages a double-double with 15.4 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. She’s joined in the paint by 6-4 senior Amanda Dowe, who records 10.8 points and 11.7 rebounds. Junior guard Ny Hammonds contributes 10.2 points and 6.7 assists per game, the 10th-highest assist average in the country.
“Charlotte is a really tough matchup,” said Butler, who is 2-1 coaching against her old club. “They have a tremendous inside presence, the A-10 Player of the Year in Jenn Hailey, who is the last 9er that I had anything to do with being here so she’s a special young lady and a very, very talented ball player. They are well coached and obviously feeling really, really good about themselves. Then they are also at home so there are a lot of challenges that we are going to have to face.”
Florida is playing its fourth consecutive game against a team boasting its respective conference’s player of the year.
Before trying to game plan for Hailey and her teammates’ talents, Florida battled Winthop’s 2013 Big South Player of the Year Dequesh McClanahan and 2013 Big South Freshman of the Year Schaquilla Nunn, with McClanahan scoring a team-high 15 points and Nunn collecting a team-best nine rebounds in the WNIT second round. Florida battled Tennessee and 2013 SEC Player of the Year Meighan Simmons on March 8 in the SEC Tournament quarterfinal where Simmons 20 points, before facing FIU’s Jerica Coley, the Sun Belt Conference’s top honoree who scored 37 points in the WNIT opening round contest on Thursday.
Florida is the only team in the WNIT’s round of 16 that has played and won both of its two games on the road and the Gators have earned those victories thanks to their defensive intensity.
In Florida’s two WNIT wins, opponents have converted just 34.6 percent of their shots, including 14.3 percent (5-35) from the three point arc. The Gators have won the rebounding battle in both games and carry a positive assist-to-turnover ratio.
“Throughout the postseason our commitment in practice and in game preparation has been to defense,” Butler said. “I think that really showed up in a big way against Winthrop and we have to make that important against Charlotte, as well.”
This is the fifth time the Gators have reached the ‘Sweet 16’ of a national postseason tournament, not including the 1985 team’s run to the final of the NWIT that was a 16-team event.
Florida reached the Elite 8 of the 1997 NCAA Tournament and the Sweet 16 of the 1998 NCAA Tournament, as well as the championship game of the 2000 WNIT and the round of 16 of the 2011 WNIT.
While Florida has made five previous trips to the postseason, the current group of Gators was a bit lean on postseason experience of any kind entering 2013. Only senior Jennifer George and juniors Jaterra Bonds and Lily Svete had played in a postseason game.
In nine postseason games, George is averaging 6.8 points and 6.7 rebounds, recording one double-double: 10 points, 11 rebounds at FGCU, March 21, 2011 in the second round of the WNIT.
Bonds averages 14.4 points in postseason games, hitting 77.8 percent (21-27) of her free throws. In the seven-point win at FIU in the 2013 WNIT first round, Bonds recorded 19 points, a season-high seven rebounds and five assists and sealed the victory at the free throw line where she converted 3-of-4 in the final 41.3 seconds.
Svete also is enjoying the postseason for a third straight year. Svete has played in six of the possible seven postseason games during her career, starting both 2013 WNIT games. She has totaled 17 points, 15 coming from the three-point arc, including nine points at Winthrop in the 2012 WNIT second round win.
Moss had a phenomenal postseason debut, scoring a career-high 28 points with six rebounds in the win against FIU. Moss followed with her fourth double-double of the year and her first in postseason play with 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds in the victory at Winthrop.
Over the last three games, Moss is averaging 21 points and 8.0 rebounds while hitting 53.7 percent (29-54) from the floor. She logged a back-to-back career-high scoring effort when she scored 22 against Tennessee in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals and tagged FIU with 28 in the WNIT first round. Moss is the Gator leader in assists (3.8 apg), ranks second on the team for scoring (11.2 ppg), rebounding (6.6 rpg) and steals (1.4 pg). She has totaled four double-doubles..
During that same span, Bonds is contributing 16.3 points while hitting 53.3 percent (16-30) from the floor, 66.7 percent (4-6) from the three-point arc and 81.3 percent (13-16) from the free throw line. Overall, Bonds is averaging a team-leading 12.9 points with 3.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists (second on the team) per game, while netting a team-best 25 double-figure scoring games.
As a team, Florida is hitting 42.6 percent from beyond the arc over the last three outings, with Svete canning 5-of-12 (41.7 percent) and Carlie Needles drilling 6-of-15 (40 percent).
George leads the Gators in rebounding (7.9), steals (2.0) and blocks (52) and ranks second for field goal percentage (46.9%) and third for scoring (11.1 ppg).
Florida (20-14, 6-10 SEC) at Charlotte (26-5, 13-1 Atlantic 10)
Wed., March 27, 2013 * 7 p.m., ET
2013 WNIT Round of 16
Halton Arena (9,105) * Charlotte, N.C.
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 thru www.Charlotte49ers.tv (FREE)
Halton Arena Press Row: 704-687-4999
*UF is 6-1 all-time against Charlotte, which won the 2011 WNIT Sweet 16 game in overtime against the Gators
*UF has reached the round of 16 of a national postseason tournament for the fifth time in program history
*the Gators are the only team in the WNIT Sweet 16 that has won two road games
*the Gators are making their 20th all-time postseason appearance (13 NCAA, 6 WNIT and 1 NWIT); 19th postseason in the last 21 years
*UF has earned a postseason berth all six years under Coach Butler
*18 of UF’s 34 games have been decided by 10 points or less (9-9)
*11 of UF’s 16 SEC regular-season games were decided by 8 points or less
*Florida has played 73 games over the last four seasons with outcomes decided by 10 points or less - that’s an AVERAGE of 18 games per season of thrillers!
*Prior to 2013, only three Gators on the current roster had ever played in a postseason game (Jaterra Bonds, Jennifer George & Lily Svete)
For all of the latest information on Florida women’s basketball:
Official Website: www.gatorzone.com/basketball/women
Twitter: @GatorZoneWBK and @CoachButlerUF