GAINESVILLE — Freshman Jaterra Bonds had 15 points in her Florida debut, and the Gators tied a school record with 14 blocks to beat UCF 77-67 on Saturday in the opening round of the Preseason WNIT in front of 3,124 at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.
First-year transfer Lanita Bartley and Ndidi Madu had 12 points each and Azania Stewart had nine points and four blocks for Florida, whose 22-point lead was trimmed to five with less than 21/2 minutes left. The Gators held on at the free-throw line to improve to 25-0 against UCF, 14-0 in Gainesville.
"I was really proud that we sustained good effort throughout the game," Florida coach Amanda Butler said. "Our performance was very inconsistent, but I thought our effort was consistent throughout. UCF did a great job getting ready for us and had every expectation of beating us. We had a slow start, but we did a good job of bouncing back and maintaining our composure."
Another newcomer, freshman Kayla Lewis, had nine points and three blocks for Florida. Aisha Patrick had 19 points and D'Nay Daniels 14 points and seven rebounds for the Knights.
"I thought we started the game well and then hit a lull midway through the first half up to about the 12-minute mark of the second half," UCF coach Joi Williams said. "We knew that they were great shot-blockers coming into the game, and to have 14 blocks, that's pretty incredible."
Florida faces Charlotte at 7 p.m. Monday in the second round. Butler will be looking for her 100th career victory while facing the school she coached from 2005 to 2007.
NO. 2 BAYLOR 93, MONTANA ST. 56: Melissa Jones had 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead six players in double figures, and the host Bears (2-0) overcame a slow start. Preseason All-American Brittney Griner added 15 points and seven rebounds for Baylor.
NO. 6 DUKE 69, BYU 54: Karima Christmas had 20 points, and the host Blue Devils overcame a slow start to pull away in their season opener.
NO. 10 OKLAHOMA 76, WIS.-MILWAUKEE 59: Danielle Robinson scored 16 of her 20 in the second half to lead the visiting Sooners in their season opener.
NO. 13 G'TOWN 79, AUGUSTA ST. 41: Sugar Rodgers had 13 points and matched her career high with six steals for the host Hoyas in their season opener.
KANSAS ST. 64, NO. 14 ST. JOHN'S 53: Mariah White had a career-high 17 points and nine rebounds to lead the host Wildcats over the Red Storm (1-1) in the title game of the Commerce Bank Wildcat Classic.
NO. 20 IOWA ST. 58, W. ILL. 32: Kelsey Bolte made all six of her 3-pointers and scored 25, and the host Cyclones pulled away in the second half in their season opener.
NO. 21 MARYLAND 73, MONMOUTH, N.J. 40: Freshman Laurin Mincy had 15 points, 12 in the first half, for the host Terrapins in their season opener.
NO. 22 IOWA 50, ARKANSAS ST. 47: Kamille Wahlin had 14 points and Kachine Alexander 12 for the Hawkeyes (2-0) in the Islander Tip-Off tournament championship game in Corpus Christi, Texas.
NO. 25 MICH. ST. 90, IPFW 62: Porsche Poole had 12 points to lead a balanced attack for the host Spartans in a season-opening victory.
TRANSGENDER PLAYER SCORELESS: Kye Allums' first game since publicly coming out as a transgender male turned out to be just another game.
The George Washington junior was scoreless in the Colonials' 75-51 loss to Wisconsin-Green Bay in the Best Buy Classic. He played nine minutes and had one assist and one turnover without attempting a shot.
Allums is believed to be the first transgender male to play Division I college basketball.