Solid Start In Gainesville

By Jeff Lippman - November 09, 2007

Last season the Florida Gators started 1-0, and then in their second game they lost, by 16 points, to Xavier. They would go on to finish the season 9-22 and have their coach Carolyn Peck fired.

The Amanda Butler Gators also have started 1-0, but there's a difference. Instead of an opener against a cupcake like North Florida - last year's opponent - Florida began 2007-08 against a very similar Xavier team and defeated the Musketeers by 11 points, 82-71, at the O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla.

Florida trialed by one at half but caught fire in the second frame, scoring 51 points to run away with the game. Senior guard Depree Bowden, who coach Butler has said will be the heart and soul of the team, shared the team lead in scoring with sophomore guard Brittaney Thomas, they each scored 17 points.

Thomas, who only averaged 2.4 points in 10 minutes per game as a freshman, is one of those players Butler was talking about when she said that the Gators roster was full of players who would step up and have huge nights even though they aren't getting a lot of media attention.

The Gators got 16 points from Sha Brooks, 14 from forward Marshae Dotson, who also had nine rebounds, and center Aneika Henry, making her Florida debut, scored six points, grabbed four boards and blocked three shots in 22 minutes. She went 3-for-4 from the field.

For Xavier, superstar freshman Ta'Shia Phillips didn't start in her first collegiate game, but she did play 30 minutes. Phillips finished with six points and six rebounds and shot 3-of-8.

Junior guard Jerri Taylor, who only averaged 4.6 points per game as a sophomore, scored 26 points to lead all scorers on 10-of-24 shooting including 3-of-6 from long range. Amber Harris chipped in 21 points for the Musketeers in the loss.

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 09:52 PM on November 09, 2007

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