Thursday November 7, 2013Women's Hoops Hosts Bethune-Cookman in Season-Opener, Friday at 5:15 p.m.
This is the 40th season of varsity women's basketball at UF.
This is the 40th season of varsity women's basketball at UF.
The Gators play host to Bethune-Cookman on Nov. 8, when they officially launch their 2013-14 season - the program’s 40th year of varsity competition.
Quick Roster Rundown
· Seniors Jaterra Bonds and Lily Svete headline a very curious 2013-14 Florida women’s basketball squad that enters the season with just nine healthy players after redshirt-sophomore Viktorija Dimaite re-tore the same left ACL that held her out of last year’s entire campaign.
· Redshirt-junior Kayla Lewis is the only member of her athletic class and is joined by seven sophomores!
· Of those seven sophomores, only Christin Mercer and January Miller are ‘true’ Gator second-year players. Carlie Needles is a redshirt after she tore her ACL prior to her rookie season and had a solid debut season in 2012-13. Antoinette Bannister is a true sophomore, but transferred to UF from North Carolina following the 2012 Fall semester (and 8 games) and was granted immediate eligibility beginning in the 2013 Fall. Cassie Peoples is a redshirt-sophomore, receiving a medical redshirt after playing six games at Texas before she transferred to UF at the end of the 2011-12 academic year. Peoples sat out 2012-13 per NCAA rules for transfers, so she’s a junior academically with only six collegiate games under her belt.
· Ronni Williams is the only freshman on the squad and she’s a good one! Williams is the first Gator signee selected as a McDonald’s High School All-American.
Why 5:15 p.m.?
· Yes, the 5:15 p.m. start time is unusual for a non-doubleheader weekday game.
· The Gators play host to Bethune-Cookman on Fri., Nov. 8 at 5:15 p.m. in the O’Connell Center. It’s the second game of a Gator Basketball double-header, with the men’s team facing North Florida at 3 p.m.
· Those events help kick-off the school’s annual football homecoming activities, with the Homecoming Parade starting at noon along University Avenue.
· The O’Connell Center parking lot will open at 1 p.m. following the parade to fans attending the basketball games. Details about the PARKING SHUTTLE are available at www.GatorZone.com.
· Gator Growl, the largest student-run pep rally in the nation, begins at 7 p.m. inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, with featured performances by The Fray, Sister Hazel and New Directions Veterans Choir.
· On Saturday, the Gator football team plays host to Vanderbilt at 12 Noon.
· The women’s hoops team will encourage Gator fans to keep their Orange & Blue spirit high – and hold onto their VANDERBILT football game ticket for FREE admission - and attend the basketball game on Sunday against North Florida at 2 p.m. to cap an event-filled weekend.
Bonds Honored for Joining 1,000-Point Club!
· Jaterra Bonds will be honored prior to Friday’s game for becoming the 22nd Gator to reach the 1,000-point soring plateau. Friday is UF’s first home game since she reached the milestone on March 8, 2013. The Gators played five road games in the Postseason WNIT to end the 2012-13 season.
· Bonds scored 18 points against Tennessee in the quarterfinals of the 2013 SEC Tournament and ended the game with exactly 1,008. The milestone point came when Bonds drilled a three-pointer at the 3:54 mark of the first half which put her career scoring total at exactly 1,000 points.
· Freshman Ronni Williams is scheduled to play her first collegiate game on Nov. 8, 2013, against Bethune-Cookman, the alma mater of her mother, Sherri Williams, who was “Miss Bethune-Cookman College” (now University) during the 1987-88 school year.
Fans Get their Money’s Worth!
· Florida has played 76 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!
Non-SEC Home Games
· The Gators boast an impressive 48-5 home record against non-conference teams under head coach Amanda Butler.
Gators vs. Florida Foes
· Florida has won its last two games against its fellow Sunshine State opponents.
· The Gators are scheduled to play at least 3 games this year versus instate foes: Bethune-Cookman, Nov. 8), North Florida (Nov. 10) and Florida State (Nov. 21); as well as a possible meeting against FIU (Dec. 21) that could come in the annual Gator Holiday Classic.
Notes by Numbers
· 9 - That’s the total number of healthy players on the Gator’s 2013-14 roster, as of Oct. 16! UF began preseason camp with 10, but Viktorija Dimaite tore her ACL on Oct. 5 and is out for the year and her absence left the Gators with just 9 players.
· 706 days - The last time Cassie Peoples suited up for a game was on December 4, 2011, when she saw 6 minutes of action playing with the University of Texas against the University of Tennessee. She was injuried in that game, redshirted the rest of the year before transferring to UF. Peoples then had to sit out the 2012-13 season per NCAA rules for transfers. There are 706 days between December 4, 2011 and the Gator’s 2013-14 season opener on Nov. 8, 2013
· 314 days - The last time Antoinette Bannister played an organized basketball game was on Dec. 30, 2012, when she suited up for the University of North Carolina for 6 minutes in its game at Clemson. Bannister transferred to UF after the fall 2012 semester. She had to sit out for the remainder of the basketball season, but the NCAA granted her eligibility to resume in the 2013 fall. There are 314 days between Dec. 30, 2012 and the Gator’s 2013-14 season opener on Nov. 8, 2013
· 14 - Not Typical Transfers - Transfers Antoinette Bannister and Cassie Peoples have a combined 14 games of collegiate experience under their respective belts entering the 2013-14 season. Bannister suited up for 8 games at UNC, while Peoples played 6 at Texas.
· 15 at home - The Gators enter the 2013-14 season having won 15 consecutive home games against non-conference opponents. It is the fourth-longest streak in program history. UF’s last loss was to Michigan 69-66 on Nov. 11, 2011.
· 2 - Redshirt-sophomore Viktorija Dimaite tore her left ACL during a non-contact drill during practice on Sat., Oct. 5. She was running down the court making a pass when the injury occurred. This is the second time she has injured her left knee - also last year six days prior to the start of the 2012-13 season.
· The last time Dimaite played an organized basketball game in the U.S.A. was on March 4, 2011, when she helped lead The Rock School to the 2011 NACA Division IA national championship. She scored 8 points with 8 rebounds and 6 blocked shots against Word of Life (Kansas) in Dayton, Tenn. There were 981 days between March 4, 2011 and the Gator’s 2013-14 season opener on Nov. 8, 2013
Quotes from the Court:
“Bethune-Cookman is a team that has a lot of seniors, a lot of athleticism and it a really, really good offensive rebounding team. They have a handful of players who can really get to the basket and attack off the bounce.” UF head coach Amanda Butler on Bethune-Cookman
“The biggest challenge is that we don’t really have a concrete idea of what they will be this year; what their team’s identity is and what they’ve been working on. We’re just really preparing a scout based off of last year’s information and last year’s statistics and we all know that a year can change things drastically.” – Coach Butler on how to prepare for the first game’s opponent
“It’s obvious that the focus has got to be on the Gators. We have tremendous respect for our opponent, Bethune-Cookman, but we can’t know for sure what they’re going to be bringing to the O’Dome so we have to be sure of what we’re bringing to the O’Dome on Friday.” – Coach Butler on preparing for a new opponent
“First and foremost, we want to make sure we win the ballgame. That trumps everything, no question. Aside from that, a level of consistent intensity and carryover from practice the things that we know we do well. We’ll find out a few extra things, I’m sure, that we do well in a game situation that we haven’t been able to see since we haven’t been on the game floor. I’d like to see us handle adversity because it’s going to come. They are going to challenge us in ways we haven’t seen so I really am excited to see how we step up and respond to those challenges, however they may present themselves.” – Coach Butler on what she wants to see from the Gators on Friday
“I want to see great energy. I want to see great communication. I want to see a team that’s running up and down the floor, defending in the half-court for each other. I want to see them making a big impact in this first opportunity to set the tone for a season.” – Coach Butler on other things she wants to see from her team
Bethune-Cookman (0-0) at Florida (0-0)
Stephen C. O’Connell Center (11,373)
Fri., Nov. 8, 2013 * 5:15 p.m. ET
Game Notes (PDF)
Game Coverage & More!
· Radio: LIVE on ESPN850 WRUF-AM in Gainesville with Adam Schick & Brittany Davis
· Internet Audio: LIVE thru www.Gatorzone.com (FREE) (http://www.gatorvision.tv//mediaPortal/player.dbml?&catid=0&DB_OEM_ID=6500)
· Internet Video: LIVE on www.Gatorvision.tv (subscription) (http://www.gatorvision.tv/liveEvents/liveEvents.dbml?&&DB_OEM_ID=6500)
· Internet Scoring: LIVE thru www.Gatorzone.com (FREE) (http://gatorzone.cstv.com/gametracker/launch/?event=1304235&school=fla&sport=wbaskbl)
· Television: none
· O’Connell Center Press Row: 352-367-1801
· Tickets: FREE to those with GATOR GROWL 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 (IMPORTANT info for Friday’s game with the Homecoming Parade, Men’s Basketball and Gator Growl occurring BEFORE the Women’s Basketball Game: (http://www.gatorzone.com/story.php?id=26656)
· this is the season-opener for both teams; 40th varsity season for UF
· Nov. 8 start date is the earliest season-opener in UF history (was Nov. 9, 2007 and 2012)
· UF has won 15 consecutive home games vs. non-conference teams (fourth-longest streak in UF history)
· UF is 22-17 all-time in season-openers, including 14-6 at home and 4-2 under Butler
· UF is 5-0 vs. B-CU; first meeting since Dec. 19, 2003
Additional Hoopla for Friday’s Game
· DOUBLEHEADER with UF men’s team
· Gator Growl Ticket Promotion - Any patron with a Gator Growl ticket will gain free admission to game
· Sun Sports Schedule Key Tag Giveaway – first 1,000 fans receive a free schedule key tag featuring Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball and Gymnastics courtesy of Sun Sports.
For all of the latest information on Florida women’s basketball:
Official Website: www.gatorzone.com/basketball/women
Twitter: @GatorZoneWBK and @CoachButlerUF