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Monday March 16, 2009Women's Basketball Receives NCAA Tournament Berth, Plays Temple in First Round

Gainesville, Fla.

The University of Florida received an at-large berth into the 2009 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament, where the Gators earned the No. 8 seed and will face ninth-seeded Temple (21-9) on March 22 at the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn. Tip-off is set for approximately 2:30 ET and will be televised live on ESPN and ESPNU.

 

The winner of that first round contest advances to the second round to play the winner of the game between top-seeded Connecticut (33-0) and 16th-seeded Vermont (21-11), which play at noon ET. That second round contest will be held on March 24 at a time to be announced later.

 

This is the 12th time Florida (23-7) has earned a bid to compete in the NCAA Championship, with the most recent selection coming in 2006 when the Gators lost to New Mexico in the opening round played in Tucson, Ariz. Florida sports a 9-11 all-time record in NCAA play, with the best showing a Regional Final appearance in 1996.

 

 

Ticket Information

The Gator Ticket Office will begin accepting orders Tuesday morning for ONLY the sessions involving Florida. If future-round tickets are purchased and the Gators do not advance, fans will receive a refund for those tickets.

 

First and second round ticket packages are priced at $35 for adults and $24 for seniors/youth for the Sunday-Tuesday sessions at the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion which seats 10,027. Single game tickets are also available and cost $22 for adults and $15 for seniors/youth.

 

Fans can call the Gator Ticket Office at 352-375-4683, ext 6800 Tuesday starting at 8:30 a.m. or visit www.Gatorzone.com/tickets.

 

 

NCAA Tournament Television Coverage

All 63 NCAA Tournament Games on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU & ESPN360.com

 

For the seventh consecutive year, the ESPN networks will combine to present all 63 games from the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship. During the first two rounds, ESPN and ESPN2 will present the 48 games within 12 telecast windows in a whip-around format with home market protection. ESPN360.com will offer complete game telecasts of all 63 games, while ESPNU will offer select ESPN and ESPN2 early-round games in their entirety. The final 15 games (regional semifinals on) will have national telecast windows on ESPN or ESPN2.

 

 

Quotes from Head Coach Amanda Butler, senior point guard Sha Brooks and freshman center Azania Stewart:

 

Florida head coach Amanda Butler

 

On being selected to participate in the NCAA Tournament …

“It’s tremendous. To have a chance to sit here not wondering if you’re going to be in or not, but knowing that you’re going to be in the tournament and just waiting to find out who you’re going to play and where you’re going to play is exciting. It speaks a lot to how far this program has come in such a short period of time. I have to give credit to this group of young women for how hard they have worked.”

 

On Florida receiving a No. 8 seed in the tournament …

“Seeding doesn’t matter at this point. All that matters is that we have to beat Temple and move on to our next opponent.”

 

On the team’s NCAA First Round opponent Temple

“We played them last year at their place and it’s a team with a lot of familiar names and faces. They have a first year coach in Tonya Cardoza, who has done a phenomenal job. They are obviously a very well-coached team with a lot of experienced players. I got to see a little bit of their game against Charlotte in the conference tournament this year. They are a very physical team and that’s the way Temple has always played.”

 

On a possible second-round match up with Connecticut

“All we’re worried about at this point is Temple.”

 

On Florida’s region being one of the toughest in the field …

“I think anybody thinks that their region is one of the hardest. There are a lot of good teams in the tournament. We’re not concerned about our region, we’re just concerned about our first round opponent.”

 

On her plan for preparing the team for the NCAA Tournament …

“We’ve just got to go back and get ready to beat Temple. We have to see how we can come up with a game plan that we feel we can be confident to carry out and be successful.”

 

On what she told her team prior to the selection show …

“Prior to tonight, we just wanted to come in here and see what happened. We wanted to get together in an intimate gathering with those who have been down in the trenches this season, and appreciate the moment.”

 

On the Southeastern Conference getting seven teams into the NCAA field …

“No one in our league is surprised at that. All the talk going into this season was that the SEC was going to be down this year, but you look at these teams and you can’t find any weakness in any of the 12 teams night in and night out. This is the best league in the country every single year. I think that’s true and I think you see that by the SEC getting seven teams in the tournament.”

 

On the team’s practices this past week …

“We just got to just focus on ourselves this week and the weaknesses that we saw in the conference tournament. We got the opportunity to just battle and compete against ourselves. I think the things that are so special about this team is our depth and the level of competitiveness we have in practice. I thought it was a fantastic week of practice for our team.”

 

 

Senior guard Sha Brooks

On the team’s selection to the NCAA Tournament …

“It’s very exciting for me. To see our team work so hard in the off-season and to make the NCAA Tournament my senior year is really special. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

 

On a possible second-round match-up with No. 1 Connecticut

“We’re only taking it one game at a time. Temple is the team we need to beat right now. You can’t look past a team because, once you do that, then you get beat and don’t move on. We’ve just got to focus on beating Temple right now.”

 

On watching Florida’s name come up on the screen in the NCAA Tournament selection show …

“I was really excited. We have worked so hard to get these wins this season and then, to be able to see your name on TV in the NCAA Tournament, is really exciting.”

 

 

Freshman center Azania Stewart

On making her first career NCAA Tournament appearance …

“It’s really exciting to be in the NCAA Tournament. It was kind of a long wait with us being announced in the last bracket tonight, but basically it’s just really exciting for me.”

 

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