Butler's Gators Show the Nation

The Florida women's basketball program took a big step towards national prominence Sunday evening with a stunning win over Tennessee. Florida welcomed legendary coach Pat Summit and the Lady Vols to the O'Dome and sent them back to Rocky Top two games out of first in the SEC.

Florida's victory put Amanda Butler's team into a share of first place in the SEC at 8-1 and virtually assured the Gators a return to the NCAA tournament.

The win is more than just a victory over an elite program and the greatest coach in the history of the women's game. It was a statement that this Gator team is for real, that they are a contender and that this is a team no one will be all that excited to play come tournament time. It didn't hurt the program that they made that statement on national television where high school players are sure to be taking notice.

Senior guard Sha Brooks led the way as the Gators rallied from down seven to outscore Tennessee 23-7 over the final 7:31 to post just their third win over Tennessee in the history of the program. It was Florida's 22nd win in 24 outings and should propel the Gators into the nation's top ten when the new rankings come out.

Florida has just five games remaining in the regular season and is now playing for an SEC Championship. That Butler is doing that in just her second season is to me another statement. She may not have been Florida's first choice to lead this program; but she was definitely the right choice.

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