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Saturday March 21, 2009The Gators Met with the Media on Saturday

Storrs, CT

 

The Florida women’s basketball team participated in its first practice at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn., on Saturday. Head coach Amanda Butler and players addressed the media before the one-hour open practice, speaking about Sunday’s NCAA First Round match-up with Temple.

 

FLORIDA HEAD COACH AMANDA BUTLER

“We’re excited to be here. We’re really anxious to start playing. It seems like we’ve had a long time since we’ve had a game. We’ve had a lot of great days of practice and opportunities to really get ourselves better. Most recently, we finally have someone in particular to focus on. I’m excited about the match-up with Temple. We know they’re a very strong team out of the A-10 every year and we know about the challenges they’ll pose to us. It’s been a great season for us thus far with fantastic leadership by these three that are sitting here with me [Sha Brooks, Marshae Dotson and Steffi Sorensen]. It has been a tremendous year of team success that we will hopefully be able to continue here.”

 

On the possibility of UConn fans pulling for Temple due to head coach Tonya Cardoza

“There’s definitely going to be a few Husky fans rooting for Temple, but this isn’t Temple’s home court. We’re not in Philadelphia and this isn’t the court they practice on all year long or play ballgames on all year long. I think that’s a lot more important than who the crowd is rooting for. We play in the toughest conference in the country and we think with that some of the places we have been this year  - like Vanderbilt and Auburn – we’ve played in some pretty tough places already this year where it’s been pretty hostile. I think it has been great preparation for what we will face tomorrow.”

 

On how playing in the SEC prepares Florida for the NCAA Tournament …

“I think it’s tremendous preparation. Our team draws a lot of confidence from that fact that no matter who it was that we were playing on those Thursdays or Sundays, it was someone that we knew was very capable of being in this tournament and, obviously we’ve been very well represented. When you’re tested like that on a weekly basis, I think it only makes you more confident for what you’re going to face here. In a lot of respects, I think it really gives you an upper hand because you’re playing against a lot of postseason teams, like we mentioned already, not on your home court. You’re having to go and beat tough people in tough places every single week. I think, mentally, the preparation is probably the biggest advantage. It’s something you can look back on and talk about as a team, and know we’ve faced some of the toughest teams in the nation already. We feel good about where we are and what we’ve done with those opportunities leading to now.”

 

On her thoughts about Vermont after facing the team this past December…

“I was very impressed with them and thought that they were very well coached. The one thing I remember is that each individual knew what they had to do for their group collectively to be successful. I think from a coaching standpoint, if someone describes your team that way then you’re doing a really good job. I suppose you could say they have the toughest draw in the entire tournament, but I also think what an exciting opportunity. I’m sure that’s the way Vermont is looking at it and I’m sure that’s the mentality of their team and what their coaches have been drilling into them for the past four or five days.”

 

 

 

SENIOR GUARD SHA BROOKS

On having not played a game since the SEC Tournament Quarterfinals two weeks ago …

“I feel like we play games everyday. Especially in practice, we go hard against each other. We have one squad orange and one squad blue and we basically put ourselves in a game situation, so it really wouldn’t bother us to go out there and have it seem like we haven’t played in forever, because we play everyday in practice.”

 

SENIOR FORWARD MARSHAE DOTSON

Sha and I know that this could possibly be our last game. We don’t want it to be and we have to put it all out there when we play Temple tomorrow. We’ve had some pretty good practices the past few weeks.”

 

JUNIOR GUARD STEFFI SORENSEN

On having not played a game since the SEC Tournament Quarterfinals two weeks ago …

 “I’d say that playing in front of a crowd is probably the only difference. We’ve been going hard and playing games in practice.”

 

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