The Florida Women’s basketball team will make its season debut on Monday, Nov. 6, against North Florida in their home arena, the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
The Gators brought in the new addition of Atlanta Dream Guard Rhyne Howard onto the coaching staff as the assistant coach. Howard returned home to her mother’s alma mater, where her mother, Rhyvonja Avery, played for Florida from 1987 to 1991. Avery was captain of the team her senior year and still to this day ranks in the top 10 in several categories, which includes career steals at 192 and a field goal percentage of .521.
The former Kentucky Wildcat was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 WNBA draft. Howard averaged 16.2 points as a rookie with the Atlanta Dream, which further led her to being named the 2022 WNBA All-Star team and Rookie of the Year.
Howard and the team’s first contest occurred Wednesday, Nov. 1, against Florida Southern in an exhibition game. The Gators showcased their 93-43 offensive skills, and with a slow start in the first half, UF shot 32 percent from the court.
The Gators led by double in the second quarter as they outscored the Mocs 22 to 8. UF fueled in the final 50 points to close out the second half.
Texas transfer senior guard Aliyah Matharu made her Gator debut, scoring a team-high 20 points in Wednesday’s exhibition match. UF senior guard Leilani Correa, a transfer from St. John’s, was welcomed by Gator Nation in the 2022 season and played a crucial role in Florida’s success last season.
Correa played in 27 games in her first year in the swamp. She became a pivotal player for Florida when she earned a career-high as a Gator in a single game to score 24 points; she hit this record twice during the season.
Correa proved to be healthy for the season and ready to dominate as she recorded 18 points against the Mocs, which included her shooting 7 for 12 inside the arc. Florida proves to be on the right foot for the season with healthy players and a fired-up Gator Nation.