Sophomore Shine(s) on West Coast trip

After a 78-73 road loss against Pacific, Florida’s women’s basketball team was deflated, to say the least. On Tuesday, the Gators (7-3) will have an opportunity to rebound from the loss when they host Charleston Southern (6-2, 0-0) in the O’Connell Center at 7 p.m.

Even after a heart-breaking loss against Pacific (4-4), there was at least one Florida Gators player still happy to play in California, regardless of the outcome, and that was sophomore guard Brittany Shine.

Shine was born and raised in Sacramento, Calif., which is less than an hour away from where the game was played in Stockton, Calif. She attended Sacramento High before signing with the Gators and moving to Gainesville. So Shine’s homecoming of sorts was obviously a memorable experience.

“It was unbelievable,” Shine said.  “To see everybody that came out, it felt like there were a ton of people there. It felt good.”

An added benefit for Shine was getting the chance to play against Pacific senior forward/center Christina Thompson.

“I got to play against my best friend, Christina Thompson on the college level,” Shine said. “We played against each other in high school, so it was crazy to be playing her on even a higher level than high school.”

Both had average games, but Shine had eight points while Thompson had four. Of course, Thompson’s team won, so she’ll have the ultimate bragging rights the next time these two friends trade texts.

The Gators also beat San Francisco during the two-game road trip and Shine had a healthy-sized cheering section for that game as well. It included many friends, teammates, coaches and, of course, family.

“The main thing was seeing my mom and dad,” Shine said. “They raised me to get to this point, and I’ve brought the experiences they taught with me and applied them to basketball and everything else in my life.”

Against Pacific, Shine said she had about 100 fans there rooting for her and the Gators. When she ran on to the court three minutes into the game, radio listeners were even able to hear the crowd chanting, “Brittany! Brittany!”

Coming off the bench, Shine averaged 7.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game over the two games on the West Coast.

“I just feel really good,” Shine said. “I feel blessed to have such a good support system behind me, so it makes me want to go that much harder to make those people happy.

“I got to represent my city.”