Coming off an extended road trip that ended with a letdown in a loss at Pacific, the Florida Gators women’s basketball team has introduced new rules moving forward. In the middle of an 11-day break, the team finds itself in a place it does not want to be.
Within the Southeastern Conference, the Gators have just the 10th-best winning percentage. At 7-3, the team decided it was time for a change.
“After this road trip to California, we’ve changed a lot of things,” senior Jordan Jones said. “We’ve made a lot of new rules, as in team stuff. No phones out in the locker room, we have to wear the same color socks and just little things like that to make us more disciplined.”
Before Southeastern Conference play begins against Kentucky on New Year’s Day, the Gators will host the 21st Annual Gator Holiday Classic. They’ll open the tournament against Charleston Southern at 7 p.m. on Dec. 20.
Jones admitted the team is not where it wanted to be coming back from the California trip. The Gators are not happy with being unranked or their collective mindset.
“You find out a lot over a long road trip, where you see kind of how undisciplined you are. Maybe showing up to the bus a few minutes late or everyone not wearing the same warm ups that you’re supposed to be wearing, little things like that is something,” Jones said. “You don’t think it could contribute to losses, but obviously something is making us lose these games, so we are starting there.”
The break is a welcome sight for this team. It means time to get back to Florida basketball and nothing else.
“It’s something that we have really, really been looking forward to because you get into the groove of games and you get so focused on game planning and you get so focused on your opponent a lot of times, especially when you have those quick turnarounds, that the opportunity to improve yourselves is somewhat lost in that,” coach Amanda Butler said. “This really gives us an opportunity to just focus on us. We haven’t even started on Charleston Southern yet.”
Defense, the supposed pride of the team, is something no one on the team is proud of. Therefore, it has been a major focus in practice this week.
The Gators are giving up just 63.1 points per game, a number that on paper, looks pretty good. In addition, the team has had some very strong games both from individuals, as well as a collective group.
The consistency just needs to be more prevalent.
“We want some consistency in our best being prevalent,” Butler said. “The further you get into the season, there’s so many things to distract you from your best.”
The team has been having two-a-days to get to where they want to be. Between facing an increased level in competition and teams having seen them on film multiple times by now, the team will have to continue to work to adjust to the competition.
No better way to adjust and get a leg up on the competition than watch the competition.
Jordan Jones and Jennifer George spoke about watching both Tennessee and LSU on TV. Looking at tendencies and trends of these teams could prove fruitful later in the year.
Coach Butler echoed that statement.
“As a coach, you are watching those games more so trying to get ideas or trying to look at the way a team trends,” she said. “I love watching the last play before halftime or first play out of a timeout. Different things like that.”