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Sunday March 23, 2008Women's Basketball Hosts Florida Gulf Coast in WNIT Second Round on Monday

Gainesville, FL

 

The University of Florida women's basketball team plays host to Florida Gulf Coast on Monday, March 24 in the second round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament beginning at 7 p.m. in the O'Connell Center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gator Game Day: WNIT Second Round

What: Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) Second Round

Who: Florida (18-13) vs. Florida Gulf Coast University (22-8)

When: Monday, March 24 at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Gainesville, Fla. * O’Connell Center (12,000)

Radio: LIVE on WRUF-AM850 in Gainesville - audio simulcast on Cox Channel 96 with Steve Babik & Steve Russell

Internet Audio: LIVE thru GatorZone.com (FREE of charge)

GatorVision Online: LIVE thru GatorVision.tv

Television: none

Post-Game Satellite Feed: March 24, 10:45-11 p.m. ET

        KU Band Digital Feed  -  Galaxy 11, Transponder 19K, Slot A

        Downlink Freq.: 12066.5 Horizontal ... Symbol Rate: 3.9787

        Data Rate: 5.5  ... FEC: 3/4  ...  Sat Truck Trouble #: 352-392-8043

Tickets: $5 for Adults; $3 for Senior Citizens & Youth Age 12 & Under; FREE for UF students with a valid ID

 

 

Game Day Gator Tales

Postseason women’s basketball returns to Gainesville and the O’Connell Center for the first time since March 18, 2001, when Florida played host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The Gators lost their second-round game to Washington, 86-75, as the Huskies handed Florida its first-ever postseason home loss with the Gators falling to 6-1 all-time at home in postseason action.

 

Florida has played host to the postseason WNIT one other time - on March 21, 2000, when the Gators defeated Maryland, 77-57, in the quarterfinal round.

 

Postseason Streaks

Florida has lost its last three postseason games, beginning with its NCAA second-round setback to Baylor in 2004. The Gators then lost to USF in the first round of the 2005 WNIT, before bowing out in the opening round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament to New Mexico.

 

 

Florida vs. Florida Gulf Coast

Florida and FGCU will meet for the second time this season (and all-time).

 

The Gators claimed the Dec. 4 affair in Gainesville, 78-52, with Aneika Henry scoring a career-high 17 points to lead four Gators in double-figures.

 

 

Scouting Florida Gulf Coast

FGCU enters the WNIT second-round game riding an eight-game win streak and have won 17 of its last 18 games.

 

The Eagles are in their first season of Division I competition, beginning a four-year reclassification period, but don’t let the change of NCAA competition fool you! Florida Gulf Coast reached the 2007 NCAA Division II National Championship game last season, falling to Southern Connecticut, 61-45, in the title game. That loss was FGCU’s only one of the year, entering the championship game riding a 34-game win streak.

 

FGCU gained membership into the 12-team Atlantic Sun Conference, where the team was picked in the preseason polls to finish No. 6 by the media and No. 10 by the league’s coaches ... and more than exceeded expectations by finishing second in the league with a 12-3 conference record.

 

Senior Delia De La Torre and sophomore Adrianne McNally are the team’s leading returning scorers and rebounders from last year’s magical season and, as expected, appear at the top of this season’s stat sheet. De La Torre is the Eagles’ top scorer with 14.7 points per game, while McNally chips in 11.0 points. Senior Chelsea Dermyer joins them in the double-digits category, netting 10.9 per game, with the bulk of her scoring coming from the 3-point arc where she hits 37.6 percent (47-125) and headlines a dangerous three-point attack that has nailed 238 from behind the arc this season at a 34.8 percent clip! Dermyer also averages 5.0 assists per game, while committing less than two turnovers per outing.

 

 

FGCU defeats USF in WNIT First Round

FGCU’s three-point prowess made all the difference in its 67-65 WNIT first-round win over USF. Despite being out-rebounded 49-30 (giving up 20 offensive boards) and being out-scored 38-12 in the paint by the Bulls, the Eagles hit 12 three-pointers and committed just nine turnovers.

 

De La Torre led FGCU’s scoring with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Dermyer and Haegele added 19 and 14, respectively, combining to hit 9-of-19 from behind the three-point arc.

 

The team’s 12 treys increased the FGCU’s total to 250 from behind the arc this season.

 

 

Hit a Three ... Give a Three

With its second of eight 3-pointers in the SEC Tournament quarterfinal game against Tennessee (March 7), the 2007-08 Gator squad became the most prolific three-point shooting team in program history, topping the 169 treys sank by the 2004-05 group. Florida enters the WNIT with 176 three-pointers to its credit.

 

During that same SEC Tournament game, the Gators had allowed its 2007-08 opponents to move into second place in the record books for the most treys against Florida, trailing only the 194 sank by foes during the 1996-97 season. Florida has allowed 178 three-pointers entering the 2008 WNIT.

 

 

Lean on Postseason Experience

As opposed to Florida Gulf Coast, which reached the NCAA Division II national championship game last season and already has one WNIT victory under its belt, the Gators don’t feature a very experienced postseason roster.

 

Only four players - Depree Bowden, Sha Brooks, Marshae Dotson and Kim Critton - have ever played in a postseason game and only Bowden has experienced two games of action totaling 18 minutes.

 

In fact, head coach Amanda Butler logged more postseason games and combined minutes during her days as a Gator letterwinner than the current quartet. Butler helped Florida reach the 1993 NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history during her junior season and followed it with a second trip her senior year.

 

 

Butler & the Postseason

Head Coach Amanda Butler is no stranger to postseason play.

 

During her time as a Gator letterwinner, Butler helped Florida earn its first-ever NCAA Tournament berth (1993) and followed that with another her senior year (1994).

 

During her two years as an assistant coach at UF, Butler was on staff when the Gators earned an NCAA bid both seasons, including the 1997 run into the Elight Eight.

 

In her fourth and final year as an assistant coach at Austin Peay State University, the 2001 Lady Govs earned just the second-ever NCAA bid in program history and the first since 1996.

 

In her last five years with UNC Charlotte, the 49ers competed in the postseason, earning an NCAA bid in 2003 and a WNIT in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, the final two of those coming when Butler served as the head coach of the program.

 

 

Who’s Hot?

Senior Depree Bowden is swishing shots until her hoops career is finished! She’s upped her scoring average down the stretch, as she led the Gators two-game run at the SEC Tournament, where she contributed a team-high 18.0 points, hitting 7-of-11 from the three-point arc (63.6%) and 14-of-24 shots overall (58.3%). Bowden also dished eight assists with just two turnovers in the league’s postseason event.

 

 

Who Else is Hot?

Sha Brooks has scored in double-figures in 10 consecutive games entering Monday’s WNIT second-round game. During that span, she is averaging a team-best 15.6 points per game, connecting on 37.5 percent (21-56) from the three-point arc, while dishing 29 assists and collecting 22 steals, also team-highs.

 

 

Nine IS Divine

Florida enters its WNIT second-round game already having won NINE more games than the team compiled last season (9). The nine-game improvement made by Amanda Butler and her staff is tied for the most by a Gator head coach in their first year in Gainesville. Debbie Yow also led her inaugural Florida team to an eight-game improvement, posting a 19-9 record during the 1983-84 season after inheriting a team that finished 11-16 the previous year.

 

 

Gator Postseason Tournament Talk

*The 2008 WNIT is Florida’s 14th postseason appearance in the last 16 years.

 

*Amanda Butler is the eighth different full-time head coach in the 34-year history of the Florida women’s basketball program ... and the FIRST to guide the Gators to a postseason berth in their first year with the Gators!

 

*The Gators played six different teams that are competing in the 2008 Postseason WNIT, logging a 5-3 record against those squads (Florida Gulf Coast, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Prairie View A&M, South Carolina & TCU).

 

*Florida played 11 different teams that earned an NCAA Tournament berth in 2008, posting a 4-9 record against those foes (Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Louisville, Nebraska, Robert Morris, Temple, Tennessee, Vanderbilt & Xavier).

 

*Tonya Washington’s 39-point effort against Dayton in the first round of the 2000 WNIT is UF’s all-time record for most points scored in a postseason game (UF’s NCAA Record: Murriel Page’s 35-point performance versus Southern Cal in the second round of the 1997 NCAA Tournament).

 

 

 

Quoting Florida Head Coach Amanda Butler

On it being helpful to have played FGCU during the regular season:

"I think it's very helpful. The score of that game doesn't really give you an indication at all of the nature of that ballgame. There was never really a comfortable moment until the last five or six minutes and we were able to open it up. I have a lot of respect for their program and the way they play. They play hard. They fully embrace what they're not good at and do a great job of covering it up. They are obviously very, very well coached. You just have a stand up and pay attention when they have a win like they did last night against South Florida."

 

On having to play a team twice:

"I truly believe that in the postseason the teams that are more confident and generally the ones that continue to advance, that's just something you can never over-look. They are clearly playing with a ton of confidence. They are amazing at home. We feel so fortunate that our administration got that game here because their gym is a very, very tough place to play. You can't underestimate that level of confidence. They are a team full of seniors so they have a lot of experience. They also have a lot of postseason experience on their side, as well, with the run they made in the Division II tournament."

 

On learning that FGCU defeated USF by two points in the WNIT First Round:

"I wasn't surprised at all. You have to respect what Florida Gulf Coast has done on their home floor. It has got to be one of the more dangerous places to play in the country, especially when you combine it with all of the other factors they have going for them, great coaching, a senior-led team, great balance and the style that they play. Florida Gulf Coast is operating at a very high level right now, playing with tremendous confidence and that's a huge key to postseason success."

 

On Florida's postseason preparation:

"I've been so impressed with the maturity of this team in this postseason preparation phase that we've been in and how good our practices have been. They've been really intense and really competitive. I've said all year long that this is a team that responds very positively to time off. When we've had a chance to practice and more than two days to get ready for our next opponent, I have liked how our team has responded. Clearly we didn't know who our opponent was going to be since our loss to Tennessee (in the SEC Tournament), but we've taken full advantage of the practice time."

 

END OF REPORT

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