Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Chemistry Experiment Awaits Peck This Season; Gators Coach Needs Four Seniors to Help Harness Talent of Freshman Class

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Chemistry Experiment Awaits Peck This Season; Gators Coach Needs Four Seniors to Help Harness Talent of Freshman Class

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL DIROCCO

GAINESVILLE -- Florida's 2005-2006 women's basketball season will depend on how well coach Carolyn Peck's first recruiting class meshes with her latest.

The first four-year class under Peck enters its senior season in Gainesville, and tagging along is a six-member freshmen class that was rated as one of the best in the country and has the potential to be one of the best groups in school history.

Victories will depend on their harmony.

"We're looking forward to this year because we do have so many freshmen," junior guard Kim Dye said. "It's kind of like a whole new team, and we'll have a whole new dynamic on the court. I'm just looking forward to getting the season started off."

Dye is one of only three players on the roster who isn't a freshman or senior. The Gators have four seniors -- forward Brittany Davis, forward Dalila Eshe, guard Sarah Lowe and guard Danielle Santos -- and they are the first four-year class under Peck, who was hired in 2002. They combined to average 24.2 points and 15.4 rebounds last season.

But the success of the season might ride upon the six freshmen -- whom Women's Basketball Magazine ranked as the No. 5 recruiting class and Blue Star ranked No. 9.

That's why the upperclassmen are so important, Peck said. They must provide leadership to help Sha Brooks, LaToya Bullard, Brooke Cornish, Kim Critton, Marshae Dotson and Jessica Jackson make the transition.

"I think they're going to make an impact right away," Davis said. "The fact that there's six of them is going to help them a lot. Our seniors can provide them with great leadership. This can be a special year."

The group includes three players who were finalists for the 2005 McDonald's All-American game. Four of them are from Tennessee, and all but two are guards.

"We made a good transition," Dotson said. "It was tough, and we complained, but it really wasn't that hard. We got through the tough part, which is preseason, and now we're looking ahead to the regular season."

That begins Friday, Nov. 18 against St. Francis (N.Y.) at the Seton Hall Basketball Classic in South Orange, N.J. Peck likes what she has seen so far.

"This team has come together well," she said. …

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