Wednesday January 1, 2014Gators Host Mississippi State in SEC Opener on Thursday
The Gators carry a six-game win streak into the start of the SEC season.
The Gators carry a six-game win streak into the start of the SEC season.
Florida wrapped up its non-conference slate with a 10-3 record, including a 6-0 mark in the month of December and now the Gators turn their attention solely to Southeastern Conference action and begin the 16-game league slate on Thur., Jan. 2, when the team plays host to Mississippi State at 7 p.m. in the O’Connell Center.
VIDEO UPDATE: Sophomores Carlie Needles and Cassie Peoples - http://youtu.be/CuuWgG3UCik
Streaking Into the SEC
· Florida and Mississippi State both boast respective six-game winning streaks entering Thursday’s game.
· The Gators last won six straight last year entering their SEC opener, but lost at Kentucky to halt the run.
· The last time Florida won seven consecutive games was during the 2008-09 season and it took place early in its SEC schedule. That also was the last time the Gators and MSU Lady Bulldogs met in the SEC opener.
Breaking Down UF’s Six-Game Streak
· During the six-game winning streak, UF is averaging 87.5 points per game and winning by a margin of 19.2 per game.
· 5 different Gators have been the team’s leading game scorer in the six games: Bonds, Mercer, Lewis, Peoples and Miller
· 5 Gators are averaging a double-figure scoring effort, paced by Jaterra Bonds’ 15.7 ppg.
· Kayla Lewis averages 10.3 points and 10.8 rebounds, while shooting 62.9 percent from the floor
· The Gators average 27 free throw attempts per game, while limiting opponents to 17 tries per game (important with MSU hitting 72.3 percent from the line)
· The SEC schedule for women’s basketball is a single round robin with one permanent opponent and two random opponents resulting in a 16-game slate. The permanent opponents are: Alabama – Auburn; Arkansas – Missouri; Florida – Georgia; Kentucky – South Carolina; LSU – Texas A&M; Ole Miss – Mississippi State; and Tennessee – Vanderbilt. The random opponents will change annually.
· In addition to Georgia, Florida will play Arkansas and Kentucky in a home-and-home series during the 2013-14 season.
Last Year’s Gripping Gators
· Eleven of the Gator’s 16 SEC games last year were decided by eight points or less.
You Want SEC Thrillers? We Play Them!
· Florida’s last meeting against 11 of the 13 other teams from the SEC has been decided by 10 points or less.
· The only two that were not were each decided by 11 points: the 11-point loss at South Carolina on March 3 (67-56) and the 11-point loss to Vanderbilt on Feb. 21 (68-57).
· The Gators capped the month of December with a 6-0 record, the first perfect record in December since the 2008-09 squad went 7-0.
The Series vs. Mississippi State
· 41-Game Series: UF leads 23-18 (UF at Home: 12-6; Away: 8-10; Neutral: 3-2)
· Florida has won the last 7 meetings in the series, including last year’s 61-55 decision in Starkville.
· Four of the last six meetings have been decided by 7 points or less.
· UF’s last loss in the series was an 83-71 setback on Feb. 10, 2008 in Starkville.
· MSU’s last win in Gainesville was a 79-74 final on Feb. 11, 2007.
Quick Scout - Mississippi State
· The 13-1 record is the best start in Lady Bulldog history.
· MSU opened the season winning its first seven games.
· It’s only loss this year was a 62-48 decision to Middle Tennessee in the Gulf Coast Showcase held in Naples, Fla., and the Lady Bulldogs followed that with their current six-game winning streak
· MSU leads the SEC in turnover margin (+10.9) and ranks second for steals (12.6 pg).
· Junior center Martha Alwal ranks No. 3 in the SEC for scoring (17.0 ppg), No. 2 for blocked shots (2.4 pg), No. 2 for field goal percentage (59.4%) and No. 5 for rebounding (8.8 rpg).
· Senior Jaterra Bonds scored a career-high 26 points and gave Florida its first lead of the game three seconds into overtime as the Gators overcame a 16-point halftime deficit and completed the fourth-largest comeback win in program history with a 67-65 victory against Georgetown on Dec. 28 in the O’Connell Center.
· Six Lady Bulldogs scored in double-figures in MSU’s 98-58 win against Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 30 that concluded the team’s non-conference schedule.
· Florida plays at No. 6 Kentucky on Sun., Jan. 5 at 3 p.m. ET. It will be the Gator’s first game against a ranked opponent this season, as well as its first road game since Dec. 4 at Troy.
· Mississippi State plays host to Auburn
Bonds, Jaterra Bonds
· Senior Jaterra Bonds is doing it all in her final collegiate season. She leads the Gators in scoring (16.7 ppg), assists (4.7 apg), made free throws (76) and free throw attempts (94), while hitting 45.1 percent of her shots from the floor and collecting 1.9 steals per game.
· Five Gators enter Thursday’s game averaging a double-figure scoring effort. In addition to Bonds’ mark, January Miller contributes 12.2 points per game along with a team-leading 25 steals, Christin Mercer is averaging 1.8 points and 6.3 rebounds, Cassie Peoples is netting 10.8 points and Kayla Lewis is tallying 10.2 points and a team-leading 8.5 rebounds per game.
· Kayla Lewis has logged a double-figure REBOUNDING effort in 5 of the last 6 games and is averaging 10.3 points and 10.8 rebounds during the last six games.
· Cassie Peoples has scored double-figures in the last six games - the longest active streak by a Gator - and is averaging 15.5 points during that span.
· In the last five games, Carlie Needles has knocked down 9 of her 14 three-pointers this year, sinking 34.6 percent of her tries during the run. In the first seven games, she went 5-30 (16.7%) from deep.
Peoples Relishes Starting Assignment
· Since Cassie Peoples was inserted into the starting lineup on Dec. 4 at Troy, the sophomore is averaging a team-leading 16.6 points, while connecting on 44.6 percent overall from the floor, including 41.7 percent (10-24) from the three-point arc.
Quotes from the Court
“Mississippi State has had a fantastic and successful non-conference season playing really good basketball. They have a lot of team speed and have a very aggressive personality that (head coach) Vic (Schaefer) gives to them. They also have really, really good size. They are playing with a tremendous amount of confidence and it’s going to be important for us to do all the little things on the ground for us to be successful.” – UF head coach Amanda Butler on Mississippi State
“Not really. Mississippi State is a team that plays with a pretty simple but very effective approach and that’s to be aggressive. We just have to be really smart. We have to play a very smart personnel game defensively. We have to make rebounding something that’s an advantage for us as opposed to a disadvantage which will be a challenge coming off our last game that we did not handle the size of Georgetown very well.” – Butler on any specific keys to the game
“We’ve focused on rebounding in practice because that’s a strength of Mississippi State and it’s something we have to overcome in the win against Georgetown.” – Butler on the team’s focus in the last couple practices
“We learned the things that we needed to learn about ourselves. We were really challenged and sometimes we didn’t live up to the challenge but I think that we grew from that. We will always put together what we feel is one of the most challenging schedules because we feel that best prepares us for what the SEC has for us.” – Butler on what the team learned from its non-conference schedule
Mississippi St. (13-1, 0-0 SEC) at Florida (10-3, 0-0 SEC)
Stephen C. O’Connell Center (11,373) * Gainesville, Fla.
Thu., January 2 * 7 p.m.
Florida (PDF): http://bit.ly/1cmznYq
Mississippi State (PDF): http://bit.ly/1cYaHM4
Game Coverage & More!
· Radio: LIVE on ESPN850 WRUF-AM in Gainesville with Adam Schick & Brittany Davis
· Internet Audio: LIVE thru www.Gatorzone.com (FREE)
· Television: SunSports (Cox Ch. 48/1048; DirecTV 653 in North Florida territory; FS Florida (DirecTV 654) in South Florida territory; with Mick Hubert and Mark Wise
· Internet Video: LIVE on Gatorvision.tv (subscription)
· Internet Scoring: LIVE thru GatorZone.com (FREE)
· 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
· Thursday’s game is the SEC-opener for both teams
· Both teams enter the game on a six-game win streak
· Gators are playing their final game of a five-game homestand
· During UF’s six-game win streak, 5 Gators are averaging a double-figure scoring effort
· In 9 of UF’s 13 games, every Gator who suited up to play, scored
· UF’s Jaterra Bonds is the reining SEC Player of the Week
Additional Hoopla for Thursday’s Game
· All Wristband giveaway: The first 250 fans receive “It’s great to be Rowdy” wristband.
For all of the latest information on Florida women’s basketball:
Official Website: www.gatorzone.com/basketball/women
Twitter: @GatorZoneWBK and @CoachButlerUF