Hampton, VA - The Gators conclude their hectic pre-final exam schedule traveling 617 miles to the state of Virginia to play at Hampton on Friday, when tip-off from the HU Convocation Center is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET.
Since the Thanksgiving holiday, Florida (8-2) has traveled 4,646 miles
during the span prior to Friday’s road swing with trips to Maine and
Following the game at Hampton, UF will take a break from competition for final exams and not return to the court until Dec. 20.
Including the one-way 617-mile flight to Hampton, the Gators will have
logged 5,263 travel miles during the last 15 days. Florida traveled
2,072 miles round trip to compete at the Brown BEAR Basketball Classic, Dec. 3-5, in Providence, R.I., after having spent the Thanksgiving weekend in Maine, where the team traveled 2,574 miles round trip to compete in and win the Dead River Company Classic hosted by the University of Maine, Nov. 26-27.
Florida earned a solid 86-65 victory over Harvard on Tuesday, bouncing
back from its stunning and disappointing 56-50 loss at Brown on Sunday, when the Gators shot a season-low 30.6 percent (22-72) from the field. That loss snapped Florida’s five-game winning streak, the team’s longest since the 2008-09 season when the squad rattled off a program-record 16-game win streak.
“We’re coming off our most complete performance of the year, offensively and defensively, and we have to understand what made us good in that game against Harvard,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “We had really solid preparation the day before. The tempo of the game was in our favor and a tempo that we generated. That’s going to be a key for us.”
Friday will be the third game this year when the Gators are playing a
true road game on their opponent’s home court. Florida is 0-2 when
playing on an opponent’s home turf this season, falling 74-73 at DePaul
and 56-50 at Brown.
Jordan Jones is the only Gator averaging a double-figure scoring effort
in UF’s balanced offensive attack, recording 10.3 points per game,
hitting a team-leading 21 three-pointers and playing 33.3 minutes per
outing. Azania Stewart is Florida’s leading rebounder with 7.5 per game,
as she also leads the club with a 53.2 percent field goal mark and 16
blocked shots and is second on the team with 8.2 points per game. Lanita Bartley is dishing 3.7 assists and 2.0 steals, while finding her way to the free throw a team-best 37 times.
Seven different Gators have emerged as the team’s leading game scorer - or tied as the leading scorer: Jordan Jones (4), Jaterra Bonds (2), Kayla Lewis (2), Jennifer George (1), Azania Stewart (1), Ndidi Madu (1) and Brittany Shine (1).
In the last three games, Jones is averaging a team-best 11.0 points,
with 19 of her 33 points coming in the victory against Providence. Ndidi
Madu recorded the first two double-doubles of her career in two of UF’s
last three games, when she has contributed 10.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, while hitting 53.8 percent (14-26) of her shots. Freshman Deaundra Young also charted her first double-double in the Gators during the last three-game span, when she is averaging 8.3 points and a team-leading 7.7 rebounds, while hitting 55.0 percent (11-20) from the field and swatting seven shots.
During the last five games, Florida is holding its opponents to 55.0
points per game and hitting 37.6 percent from the floor. The Gators have
enjoyed a +8.6 rebounding margin during the span and have held four of
the five opponents to less than 56 points. Harvard scored 65, but
Florida put up 86 in the win. Friday will be just the second meeting between the Gators and Lady Pirates. Florida earned the 92-55 victory on Dec. 30, 1997, in the its home tournament. Current Gator assistant coach Murriel Page was in her senior season playing for the Orange & Blue in that game and scored a game-high 21 points with 11 rebounds leading UF to the win.
The Lady Pirates (4-4) sport a three-game winning streak entering
Friday’s affair, having earned wins at Radford (52-51) and Howard
(68-52) and most recently at East Carolina (69-63).
Senior forward Quanneisha Perry leads Hampton’s offensive attack,
averaging 15.0 points per game, while collecting 6.9 rebounds, also a
team-best mark. Perry exploded in the season-opening win against James Madison in the first round of the WNIT with 28 points. Jericka Jenkins, who led Hampton with 22 points in Wednesday’s road win at East Carolina, also adds 15.0 points per game, and has dished a team-best 19 assists. Five different Lady Pirates average 30 minutes or more of playing time.
“This first thing that stands out about Hampton is that they were an
NCAA Tournament team last year, returning four out of five players that
were part of that squad so there is a level of experience that is a
concern,” Butler said. “Beyond that, they have a really dynamic scorer
in Quanneisha Perry. They have some players who cause difficult matchups for us, a little smaller in the post. They face the basket and are a little slippery. They are really, really aggressive.”
Eight of Florida’s 10 games this season have been decided by 10 points
or fewer, with four being six-point or less differences.