By: Zach Morgan, Contributing Writer
UNF women’s basketball will look to stay in the conference race Feb. 9-11 as it takes to the road and plays two Atlantic Sun foes.
The Ospreys travel to Spartanburg, S.C., Feb. 9 to face University of South Carolina Upstate. The Ospreys lost a nail-biter the last time they played the Spartans, 58-57 in a home match-up Jan. 14.
The Spartans trail the fifth-place Ospreys by a half-game, and UNF only has five games remaining to earn a spot in the A-Sun tournament. The ninth-place team is Lipscomb, which holds a 3-9 record in conference play. The Ospreys know it’s time to make a move, and even with hurdles in place before them, they believe they’re ready to make that jump.
“I think our biggest hurdle is always mental toughness. We’re in shape, the skill is there,” senior guard Brittany Kirkland said. “All we have to do is come with the mindset to want to win and the mindset to want to stay in there.”
Following USC Upstate, the Ospreys travel to take on East Tennessee State University Feb. 11. UNF beat ETSU in a tight 70-67 game Jan. 12.
UNF (9-15, 6-7) ended its three-game losing streak Feb. 4, when it defeated the Stetson Hatters (19-6, 10-3). The Hatters are second in the Atlantic Sun standings. The Ospreys out-rebounded the Hatters 39-31 and scored 36 points in the paint to notch their first “W” in their last four tries. Junior foward Larkira Jones led the Ospreys with 14 points and eight rebounds, while Kirkland recorded eight points, eight assists and two steals.
North Florida badly needed a win against Stetson, and it took everything the team had to claw out a win against a quality opponent, who has only lost three games against Atlantic Sun opponents all season long.
“We’ve got a little bit shorter rotation at the guard spot, but the freshmen and sophomores are really giving us quality minutes and in-pressure positions,” Coach Tappmeyer said.
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