Florida women’s basketball player Antoinette Bannister charged with credit card theft and fraud

By Adam Silverstein
January 18, 2015

Antoinette Bannister, a junior guard on the Florida Gators women’s basketball team, was arrested on Friday and charged with theft and fraud after taking a teammate’s credit card and using it at multiple locations throughout Gainesville, Florida.

According to The Gainesville Sun’s Cindy Swirko, the card Bannister stole on Jan. 11 belonged to redshirt junior center Viktorija Dimaite.

Bannister, who used the card at five separate locations and even signed her own name on shopping receipts, admitted to police on Friday that she shopped with the card but noted that she found it outside the Florida Basketball Practice Complex and not inside the women’s locker room of the facility as the police report originally stated.

The Independent Florida Alligator‘s Graham Hall reported early Sunday that Bannister has been kicked off the women’s basketball team. OnlyGators.com confirmed Bannister’s status Sunday evening. Her name remains present on Florida’s roster, however.

One of UF’s primary reserves, Bannister played 17.1 minutes per game over 13 contests with three starts this season. She was efficient at the charity stripe, hitting 76.5 percent of her free throws, while averaging 6.2 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.

Currently 9-9 with a 1-4 record in league play, Florida is 149-104 (52-61 SEC) under head coach Amanda Butler over the last nine seasons. UF has not advanced past the second round of the NCAA Tournament nor the Round of 16 in the WNIT under Butler.

The Gators women’s basketball team has not been without its share of controversy over the last year as former forward Christin Mercer – Florida’s best shooter and second-leading scorer at the time – was arrested in Jan. 2014 for allegedly taking part in a home invasion robbery that occurred in May 2013.

OnlyGators.com first reported Mercer’s arrest and subsequent legal battle last year. Per the police report, she confessed to serving as a getaway driver but accepted a plea deal for a reduced charge of conspiracy and punishments of monitoring and probation.

Mercer was indefinitely suspended and eventually dismissed from the program. She transferred to Jacksonville after the season and is currently sitting out the 2014-15 campaign due to NCAA transfer rules.


  1. Michael Jones says:

    Something about being a “college kid” committing home invasions or stealing credit cards just doesn’t go together. This isn’t college high jinx or anything that should ever even cross the mind of a “college student.” These are some pretty hardcore kids.

    I’m wondering how steep a price we have to pay in order to satisfy our obsession with sports. I for one am tired of infiltrating our colleges with thugs and the thug mentality in order to win a few games.

    It’s sickening.

  2. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Wow, not exactly a mensa candidate here. I personally like Amanda Butler, but she does not seem to have the recruiting cachet necessary to build a team to compete in the SEC. I have to wonder how long the UAA will accept mediocrity in women”s basketball, especially in conference.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      The one glaring failure of Jeremy Foley is never having been able to do anything with WBB. Sticking with Butler for 9 years really makes no sense at all. Look at what Dawn Staley is doing at SC after just a couple of years. UF should be able to find someone that can put something better than SC can put together. And as a matter of history, I don’t think UF has ever made it out of the 2nd round in general, unless there was a sweet 16 appearance I am not recalling which is entirely possible. Sure they have never made it past that, however, which is kind of embarassing

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