For Amanda Butler and the Gator women's basketball team, that is.
Florida's first year coach inherited a 9-22 team from a year ago, and despite not getting much from newcomers has molded this team into a 17-12 unit as it heads to the SEC Tournament in Nashville. Florida will play South Carolina Thursday with the winner "rewarded" with a second round game against the powerful Tennessee Vols.
Florida has not only improved by eight wins this season, they are four wins better (6-8) in SEC play. That's no small accomplishment in the most difficult and competitive conference in the country. Florida has made that improvement even though the top three players, Marshae Dotson, Sha Brooks and Depree Bowden have combined for fewer points (39.4) than they did last year (42.6).
Two Gators who have stepped up their play and helped this team improved are Sharielle Smith and Jennifer Mossor. The sophomores combined by 8.4 points last year, but have more than doubled their productivity (16.9) this season. The one newcomer who has helped, Aneika Henry has contributed almost five points and six rebounds a contest.
But the biggest improvement has been in effort and attitude. Butler's team plays hard just about every time out. They have shown resiliency as evidenced by rallying from 17 down to beat Ole Miss on Sunday. They have shown unselfishness as evidenced by the top three players sharing the ball more. Butler and her staff have also been much more visible in the world of high school basketball in Florida.
The Gators have an excellent chance of getting to play host in the NIT which would be another positive step. The future also looks encouraging since Florida will add five players for next season, which will make the Gators a taller, deeper and more athletic team in 2008-09. the way things look right now, an NIT bid this season could be just the beginning.
Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel
NIT Likely, Worth Celebrating
Fightin Gators Top Stories
Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; March 28A few thoughts to jump start your Tuesday morning...
Fightin Gators9:14 PM
Chris Rumph defines his linemenWhen Clemson came calling for Chris Rumph in the offseason it was for good reason. The Gators’ defensive line coach and now co-defensive coordinator is as good as they get in the…
Fightin Gators8:38 PM
Gators' offense making strides in scrimmageAgenda number one for Jim McElwain and the Florida Gator staff is to get the Florida offense in gear in 2017. Several years in and around the 100’s in total offense have got to…
Fightin Gators10:47 AM
Gators come up short against the GamecocksThere were no more miracles in Florida’s bag of tricks Sunday afternoon. In reality, the Gators didn’t need a miracle. A few 3-pointers in the second half would have sufficed.
Fightin GatorsYesterday at 5:13 PM
Hard work, perseverance described this teamBefore the season started, nobody thought the Florida Gators would get this far. When the tournament started, nobody thought the Florida Gators would get this far. It was a common…
Fightin GatorsYesterday at 4:54 PM