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It's 'We Back Week' and the Gators will be at Tennessee on Thursday during the SEC's week-long initiative.

Wednesday January 22, 2014Gators and Tennessee Clash on Thursday in 50th Series Meeting

Knoxville, TN

It's 'We Back Week' and the Gators will be at Tennessee on Thursday during the SEC's week-long initiative.

Florida travels to Knoxville to play nationally-ranked Tennessee on Thursday at Thompson-Boling Arena, where tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET.


The game will be televised live by SportSouth (DirecTV 646), FS Southwest (DirecTV 676), FS Midwest (DirecTV 671), SunSports (Cox Ch. 48/1048; DirecTV 653); FS Florida (Cox Ch. 70/1070; DirecTV 654) with Dave Neal and Stephanie Ready and calling the action.


The Gators are 2-1 this season against ranked opponents, earning wins at then-No. 6 Kentucky on Jan. 5 and then-No. 25 Arkansas on Jan. 9 before falling at No. 11/12 LSU in Baton Rouge on Jan. 12.


Tennessee is ranked No. 11 in this week’s Associated Press poll and No. 12 in the ESPN-USA Today Coaches poll.



·         UF head coach Amanda Butler:

·         Senior Jaterra Bonds and sophomores Carlie Needles and Antoinette Bannister:


Stop That Streak!

·         After winning nine consecutive games, the Gators have lost back-to-back games for the first time this season, falling at No. 12/13 LSU (82-68) on Jan. 12 and to Georgia (68-62) on Sunday.


Last TimeOut

·         Jaterra Bonds’ team-high 16 points wasn’t enough to hold off a late Georgia rally in a 68-62 home loss.

·         The Gators led for the first 31:26 of the game and by as many as 10 points with 7:32 remaining in the first half, but Georgia’s Krista Donald tied the game at 43 with 10:52 left and there were two tied scores and three lead changes the rest of the way.

·         The Gators did manage to get within two points, 64-62, as late as 46 seconds remaining and held possession, but couldn’t take advantage, as Georgia continued to dominate the boards, winning the rebound battle, 47-27.


Just One Time

·         Thursday’s game will be the lone regular-season meeting this year between the Gators and Lady Vols.


Preseason Chatter

·         The SEC coaches and members of the media both selected Florida to finish 10th in the league standings in their respective preseason polls.

·         Tennessee was picked to win the league by the coaches and sixth by media.


Gator Watch

·         Three eligible Gators average a double-figure scoring effort: Jaterra Bonds (16.7 ppg), January Miller (11.4 ppg) and Cassie Peoples (11.1 ppg).

·         Kayla Lewis has been the top Gator on the boards, pulling down 8.4 per game, followed by Ronni Williams’ 6.4 per game mark.

·         Bonds is dishing 4.1 assists per game, with Peoples handing out 3.8.

·         Five different eligible Gators have recorded at least 20 steals en route to the team’s 10.7 per game average, with Peoples collecting 32, Bonds 30, Miller 29, Carlie Needles 24 and Lewis 22.


The Series vs. Tennessee

·         The 49-game series is the sixth-longest versus one opponent in UF history (70 games vs. Florida State).

·         Tennessee holds a dominating 46-3 lead in the series against Florida, including a 20-1 record in Knoxville.

·         The Lady Vols have won nine in the series, including both meetings last year that involved a 78-75 overtime decision in Gainesville and an 82-73 final in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals.

·         Each of UF’s three wins in the series has come under the direction of a different Gator head coach, with Carol Ross collecting the first-ever UF win (71-62 on Jan. 21, 1997), Carolyn Peck earning the team’s first-ever win in Knoxville (95-93 OT, Feb. 26, 2006) and Amanda Butler (66-57, Feb. 8, 2009).


Local Flavor

·         Head coach Amanda Butler is a native of the Volunteer State, with her hometown of Mt. Juliet, located 145 miles West of Knoxville.

·         Gator signee Brooke Copeland is a native of Cleveland and is enjoying her senior season at Bradley Central High School, located just 76 miles from Knoxville. The Bears were 14-5 overall and 6-1 in the district entering the Jan. 21 home game and the Jan. 24 road game.


School Spirit

·         Florida’s Amanda Butler and Tennessee’s Holly Warlick are the two head coaches in the SEC who are guiding their respective alma maters.

·         Butler was a four-year starter for the Gators from 1990-94

·         Warlick was an All-American guard for the Lady Vols from 1976-80


Battling the Boards

·         Not only has Florida lost its last two games, but the Gators have faced their largest two rebounding deficits of the season in those games. LSU won the battle of the boards, 50-29, while Georgia claimed the 47-27 margin.

·         Tennessee, whose roster features six players standing at least 6-feet tall, is outrebounding its opponents by 13.9 per game, the third largest rebound margin in the country.


Quick Scout - Tennessee

·         Tennessee leads the SEC (and ranked No. 3 in the country) in rebound margin, at +13.9 per game.

·         UT also leads the SEC in assists (17.4 pg) and ranks second in scoring offense (81.7 ppg).

·         Senior guard Meighan Simmons was voted preseason SEC Player of the Year by the league’s coaches and the media.

·         Simmons leads UT with 13.8 points per game, hitting a team-best 33 three-point field goals. She is one of four Lady Vols who average double-figure scoring.

·         Junior center Isabelle Harrison averages nearly a double-double with 13.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, while hitting 55.8 percent of her shots.


Just Fine with Seven or Eight or Nine

·         The Gators have dressed nine players in just one game this season (vs. Florida State, Nov. 21).

·         Just seven players dressed in one game (at LSU, Jan. 12).

·         Eight Gators have suited up in the other games.


59-Day Break

·         Antoinette Bannister checked into the Jan. 19 game against Georgia at the 13:37 mark of the first half, seeing her first game action since Nov. 21 vs. Florida - 59 days ago.

·         She had surgery on Dec. 5 on her right hand to repair damages incurred during a freak play in practice on Nov. 24. Bannister had played in each of the first five games prior to the injury.

·         Bannister scored in the Jan. 19 game against Georgia, converting a layup with 2:15 remaining in the first half - her first points since the Nov. 17 game against Kennesaw State, when she putback an offensive rebound with 41 seconds remaining in the opening period.


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 (4.1 apg),

·         made free throws (110) and

·         free throw attempts (132),

·         while hitting 44.2 percent of her shots from the floor and collecting 1.7 steals.


Quick Shots

In the last three games, Kayla Lewis is averaging 10.3 points and 10.0 rebounds, while hitting 11-of-18 (61.1%) of her shots from the floor.

In the last 11 games, Carlie Needles has knocked down 17 of her 22 three-pointers this year, sinking 38.6 percent (17-44) of her tries during the run. In the first seven games, she went 5-30 (16.7%) from deep.



Quotes from the Court:

UF Head Coach Amanda Butler on what she took from Sunday’s home loss to Georgia:

“It was pretty cut and dry. We didn’t play very good defense in the second half all the way around, in particular, scouting-report type items. We let them start the second half with Khaalidah Miller hitting a three-pointer. We knew she was going to come out and really try to make a difference because she hadn’t scored in the first half. I definitely liked our fight, I liked our effort, but we just weren’t always fighting as aggressively without gaps as we needed to to be successful against such a good team.”


Butler on rebounding against a team with the height that Tennessee has:

“That’s the game plan. We’re going to try and box them out. We have to play smarter earlier. I thought we defended the post really well against Georgia, but we didn’t finish the play. That’s really where the emphasis has to fall. We’re doing a lot of good things early, but then we have to finish a play on the offensive end. Against a great team like Tennessee, it’s going to be very difficult to win the rebounding war, but we just can’t let that be a game factor. Maybe we can’t outrebound them by 10, but we’ve go to try to neutralize that part of their game in terms of how effective it is and the impact it has on the outcome.”


Butler on fatigue with the small roster:

“I don’t think so. I thought there were times against Georgia where we didn’t play with as much energy we needed to, but I didn’t feel like it was a physical thing. We felt a little sorry for ourselves, in particular in the second half when they hit big shots or made big plays or we’d given up another rebound. We can’t let those mental things impact how we’re producing physically.”


Butler on Tennessee’s field goal percentage defense (34.8%):

“They impose their style really well at home. The first thing we have to do is be ready for that environment. It’s going to be loud. There are going to be a whole lot of people there. It’s ‘We Back Pat’ week and Pat (Summitt) will be there, so that adds to the energy. We’ve got to be mentally ready for all of those things and still make what we’re doing and our agenda more important. We’re not putting in new offenses or anything. We’re just focused on our execution and our fight and the little things we know we have to do to be a great team.”


Butler on preparing the team to play in Knoxville (only three current Gators have played in Knoxville):

“I’ll probably sign ‘Rocky Top’ while they are shooting free throws and some other things just to try to mess them up. We’ve got to talk about it. It’s really one of those instances where you have to rely on your leadership. They have to convey to Ronni (Williams) and Cassie (Peoples) and some of the younger ones that haven’t been in that environment yet about what it’s going to be like and what it’s going to take as a team and as a unit. Our huddles will be important, our timeouts will be important. We have to try and block out the things that don’t have anything to do with us.”


Butler on if Tennessee’s loss on Monday to Notre Dame makes them more dangerous:

“I think their danger-level is fairly high whether they had won or lost. We know it’s a great challenge. Will they be fired up? Absolutely. I think they will be fired up to paly because they are playing another SEC opponent more so than having come off a loss.”


Stat Row:


·         Points Per Game: 78.1

·         Scoring Defense: 69.1

·         Scoring Margin: +9.0

·         Rebounding Margin: -3.2

·         FG%: 44.1%

·         3FG%: 29.8%

·         FT%: 71.0%

Gator Leaders

·         Scoring: Jaterra Bonds, 16.7

·         Rebounding: Kayla Lewis, 8.4

·         Assists: Jaterra Bonds, 4.1



·         Points Per Game: 81.7

·         Scoring Defense: 63.7

·         Scoring Margin: +17.9

·         Rebounding Margin: +13.9

·         FG%: 45.5%

·         3FG%: 35.3%

·         FT%: 70.0%

Lady Vols Leaders

·         Scoring: Meighan Simmons, 13.8 ppg

·         Rebounding: Isabelle Harrison, 9.2 rpg

·         Assists: Ariel Massengale, 6.0 apg



Florida (13-5, 3-2 SEC) at #11/12 Tennessee (14-4, 3-2 SEC)

Thompson-Boling Arena (21,678) * Knoxville, Tenn.

Thurs., January 23 * 6:30 p.m. ET


Game Notes:

·         Florida (PDF):

·         Tennessee:



Game Coverage & More!

·         Radio: LIVE on ESPN850 WRUF-AM in Gainesville with Adam Schick & Brittany Davis

·         Internet Audio: LIVE thru (FREE) []

·         Television: SportSouth (DirecTV 646), FS Southwest (DirecTV 676), FS Midwest (DirecTV 671), SunSports (Cox Ch. 48/1048; DirecTV 653); FS Florida (Cox Ch. 70/1070; DirecTV 654) with Dave Neal and Stephanie Ready

·         Internet Video: ESPN3 []

·         Internet Scoring: LIVE thru (FREE) []


Opening Tip

·         This will be the 50th meeting between UF and UT

·         UT has won the last nine games vs. UF, including both last year

·         The last two games in the series have been decided by a combined 12 points

·         Four of UF’s five SEC games have been decided by 10 points or less (3-1)

·         Nine of UF’s last 14 games have been decided by 10 points or less (6-3 record in those games).

·         In 12 of UF’s 18 games, every Gator who suited up to play, scored



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

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Twitter: @GatorZoneWBK  and  @CoachButlerUF 



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