Gators to Open Season at Grambling State Tuesday

University of Florida women’s basketball begins its 2019-20 season with a road test when it travels Grambling State Tuesday, Nov. 5 for a matchup with the Tigers of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Tipoff from Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center is slated for 7 p.m. ET as the teams meet for the first time.
The contest will air live on ESPN 98.1 FM/850 AM. With Kyle Crooks and Brittany Davis handling the broadcast duties.

Date:Tuesday, Nov. 5
Time:7 p.m. ET
Opponent:Grambling State (0-0)
Location:Grambling, La. | Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center
Radio:WRUF ESPN 98.1 FM/850 AM 
Live Stats:TBA
Live Stream:TBA
Game Notes:Florida

For the first time since the 2008-09 season, Florida has an exhibition game under its belt before opening the regular season. The Gators knocked off Valdosta State 84-38 this past Wednesday, Oct. 30.
Four finished in double figures in the preseason tilt, paced by Kiki Smith’s 20-point effort. After both teams struggled a bit to find an offensive rhythm in the first half, Smith spearheaded a strong third quarter, pouring in 11 points and helping the Gators pull away. Backcourt mate Ariel Johnson also finished the night with a double-figure point total, tallying 13 to go with 10 rebounds and five assists.
Florida’s five newcomers, Brylee BartramLavender BriggsFaith DutEmer Nichols and Nina Rickards combined for 33 points.
Nichols, who will play in her first official game with UF when she takes the court against Grambling, transferred in from Texas A&M and sat out the entire 2018-19 campaign. The 6-foot-5 center made her presence known against Valdosta State, posting 10 points and seven boards.
Briggs, the most heralded of the new wave of Gators, started in the exhibition and scored nine points.
Redshirt-senior Zada Williams, who started 13 games a season ago, appeared in UF’s starting lineup on Wednesday and tallied 13 points.
For the third time in the last four seasons Florida will open its season away from Gainesville as it takes on its first of four first-time opponents.
This year’s Gator club features much more depth than it has in past seasons, and that depth will be tested Tuesday as the Gators will be without redshirt-junior Danielle Rainey who sustained a season-ending knee injury in a recent preseason scrimmage. Rainey averaged 8.2 points per game a season ago.
Grambling State, selected to finish sixth in the SWAC’s preseason poll, returns seven from last season’s squad that finished 16-16 (12-6 in the SWAC). The Tigers lost prolific guard Shakyla Hill to graduation. Hill burst onto the national scene by recording two quadruple-doubles, an achievement that hadn’t been accomplished in 25 years in women’s basketball. Hill’s name was in the conversation for the WNBA Draft but she went undrafted and now plays with ZKK Kraljevo in Serbia.
Baton Rouge native Justice Coleman is Grambling’s leading returning scorer after recording 6.4 points per game as a sophomore. Grambling is under the direction of third-year head coach Freddie Murray. Murray guided the team to a victory over SEC foe Ole Miss in the 2016-17 NIT and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017-18.
Following Tuesday’s tussle with the Tigers, Florida returns to host its 2019-20 home opener Sunday, Nov. 10 against Longwood. The Gators are set to tip off at 3:30 p.m. ET, following men’s basketball’s contest vs. FSU. In addition to watching the Gators for the first time at home this season, fans are also invited to join the team for Sunday Sundaes following the game and to enjoy Mutts Gone Nuts, a canine comedy show, during the halftime break.

  • Florida and Grambling State will meet for the first time in their respective program histories Tuesday.
  • The Gators are set to take on four first-time opponents; Presbyterian, Xavier and Davidson are the others.
  • The Gators will travel to a pair of SWAC schools this year. In addition to their season opener at Grambling State, the Gators also visit Prairie View A&M on Dec. 5.
  • When UF battles Grambling State on Tuesday, it will be the first time since the 2014-15 campaign that the Gators have played a SWAC program. Florida defeated Southern in Gainesville, 78-49 in December of 2014. 
  • Florida limited Valdosta State to just 22 percent shooting and forced it into 22 turnovers as the Gators earned the lop-sided win.
  • The Gators host six-straight home games from Nov. 10 – Dec. 1. Their six-game homestand is the team’s longest since the 2005-06 season when it hosted eight consecutive games.
  • All seven returning letterwinners for UF started at least one game a season ago. UF, Ole Miss and Alabama are the only teams in the SEC with every returner having started a game the season prior.
  • Florida finished the 2018-19 season winning two of its final three games, including its first road win (at Vanderbilt) and an SEC Tournament win (Ole Miss).
  • Of Florida’s 12 scholarship players, eight of them are underclassmen. Of the four upperclassmen, the group has 34 starts and 160 games of experience at the Division I level.
  • The 2019 class, third year head coach Cam Newbauer‘s most highly lauded cohort, features three guards, one forward — and one four-star ranking via ProspectsNation. The cohort is headlined by wing player Lavender Briggs who earned a five-star rank via ESPN and became the first in program history to play in the Jordan Brand All-Star game back in April.

·         Season tickets are on sale now with packages starting as low as just $45 and single game tickets are also available. Click here for ticket information.


·         Florida women’s basketball will host its second annual Field Trip Day on Monday, Nov. 18. Tipoff is set for 10:30 a.m. ET as local schools are invited to checkout the Gators battle Presbyterian College. Admission will be FREE for all local elementary students, teachers, administrators, and chaperones who register for the game online prior to the Nov. 11 deadline. Register here


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