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Photo: Matt Pendleton

Saturday March 17, 2012NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Press Conference Quotes

Bowling Green, Ohio

Photo: Matt Pendleton

Florida Head Coach Amanda Butler

On being prepared for the NCAA Tournament by playing in the SEC

“I think it makes our kids really confident. Our league is good year in and year out I don’t think there is any question about that. This year in particular there was great parity from top to bottom and the thing that makes the SEC so unique from some of the other power leagues is how we have a great top of our league but you can go middle and go past the middle on down to the bottom and your going find a team that is capable of playing with anyone any night. Our team takes great pride in preparing well and always having great respect for our opponents. A lot of that comes from what we face every Thursday and Sunday in league play. To steal Jordan’s word it does make you very battle tested regardless of what the outcomes are.”

 

On SEC defense…

“I think it is different. It would be silly for me to say it is better I just think it is different. There are just some different styles you see in the Big Ten some trends in that league and some trends you would see in the SEC. Again I think we have a great league that is very athletic that is very physical is very talented and well coached teams. And I think you do see a lot of teams that pride themselves on their defense and their pressure and the speed by which they play, not saying the Big Ten doesn’t.  But I think there are some differences and you put the two leagues side by side and look at the way the teams play. I think we tend to, as a league, play some pretty good defense and pretty aggressive defense. I think our teams, those two in particular reflect that pride.”

 

On playing at Bowling Green…

“Oh this place is beautiful. I haven’t gotten to be able to get out on the floor yet. But just driving past it last night and walking through the halls in getting to our locker room it is an amazing facility that Bowling Green should be proud of. A little different then the venue that I remember a few years back but we haven’t talked too much of the historic significance that was our first NCAA appearance and we were able to squeak out a win versus a very very good Bowling Green team. It is neat to get back here and I think this time of the year you want to play in a place where girls and women’s basketball is important and I think Bowling Green is one of the places and it makes it fun.”

 

On stopping Samantha Prahalis and Tayler Hill …

“I don’t know if you can wear her (Samantha) down or not. As much as I have watched her play that tends to go in the opposite direction that people get tired of keeping up with her and she’s got so many weapons but our approach is a team approach and it’s our team versus their team. You pay attention to who leads in scoring and who leads in rebounding, assists, and minutes and so on and so forth, and it’s no question that Tayler and Sammy both have been leaders for their team statistically and other categories that aren’t statistical. We are just going to take a team approach to try to defend those two as well as all of them because I think they have some outstanding individuals who don’t get as much of attention because Sammy and Tayler are their statistical leaders. You can’t overlook (Amber) Stokes. I think (Kalpana) Beach is playing great and played her best basketball toward the end of the season. (Ashley) Adams is a just a big woman that can affect the game in a lot of ways and they certainly have a lot of great players with (Raven) Ferguson coming off the bench. I don’t think we are going to make the mistake that if we stop Sammy or stop Tayler things are gonna go the way we want them to, we have to cover all our bases.”

 

On seeding between Florida and Ohio State…

“I think it is probably the best first round game out there. I think when you look at if teams are deserving of their seeds that’s not in our hands, when you got two teams with the numbers right beside each other I think it should be a good game and the thing that gets forgotten is there is so much hype and attention about who is numbers one and the number beside your name, and it’s not going to matter if our number was eight or nine, four, two or twelve -- it is going to be Ohio State versus Florida. Our seed doesn’t have anything to do with how good we are or aren’t and how good they are or aren’t, its going be how we play tomorrow and that’s what we are going to focus on.”

 

On Samantha Prahalis and her career…

“What do I think of her game? I think she is amazing. I have told our kids in trying to get to know them the only thing I don’t think we have seen Sammy do is post up. She probably can do that too. She handles probably better than anybody in the country. Great passer which is evidenced by all the records she has broken at Ohio State and in the Big Ten. She is just a great player and capable of taking over ball games whether you like her style or not. It is irrelevant. She is a ball player and a competitor.  Obviously I would have loved to coach her and we recruited her very very hard. She has had a tremendous career, and we know she is going to fight hard to not let that career be over tomorrow, in college at least. But I have great respect for her game and emotions and passion she plays with. I think when you look over her four year period I got a chance to coach Sammy a little bit -- I got a chance to be a part of her USA basketball teams she was with. I think she has matured a tremendous amount and really understands how important it is for her to lead and make an impact of other than just making highlight plays which she also very very capable of.”

 

#33 Jordan Jones, Sr., G

On facing Ohio State…

“Obviously a great team led by two great guards. They push the ball in transition. I mean, they are a lot different team than we are. I think something we are going to bring that they are not used to facing is the solid defense we play in the SEC as well as just Florida defense. That is really, hopefully going to give them some problems.”

 

On showing SEC defense…

“Pressure, really physical, tough. We want to make it a long 40 minutes for them.  There is not going to be anything easy, not any cuts, no easy shots. I don’t think the Big 10, in general, plays that kind of defense, so we are excited about giving them that challenge.”

 

On Samantha Prahalis…

“She is obviously a great player, one of the best point guards in the country. I’ve been telling people she plays a little bit cocky, maybe like an ‘And 1’ player. She tries to embarrass you a little bit. But, like I said, the guards, the pressure that she is going to face tomorrow is going to be a lot different than the pressure she has faced all season long.”

 

On seeding in the NCAA Tournament…

“I don’t think we were too worried about who we were going to play. Just seeing our name on the screen, that is what we were looking for. We were going to be ready for Ohio State, or whoever else it was going to be as the seed against us.”

 

On what Florida has learned from close losses…

“We are battle-tested. We have a lot of confidence in each other. With five seniors, especially and this being an NCAA tournament, this is our last go-around. Close losses or not, that has just tested us for where we are now. I think it had made us a lot closer as a team when you face that kind of adversity. So, we are definitely just excited to get out there and go at it one more time tomorrow.”

 

On hearing Florida was one of the last four teams in…

“Yeah, I heard the same thing you guys heard, I guess. But, like I tell people all along, our record is 19-12, but that is no indication of how good we are. We lost 10 games by six points or less. There is no doubt in my mind we are one of the Top 25 teams in the country. You hear a lot about Ohio State being a No.8 seed, but honestly, we are not a 9-seed. We are a 9-seed, but we are a lot better than that. So, it surprised me we were one of the last four in, but like I said, we are just glad to be in.”

 

#13 Azania Stewart, Sr., C

On Ohio State…

“For the post players, obviously we have been watching them just trying to get out in transition on the post players. But, like Jordan said, they are a great team and so we are just preparing for them.”

 

On making the NCAA Tournament…

“For myself, I was here my freshman year, so, for me, it was just trying to enthuse our team, get us ready. We knew that we were a good enough team to be here. Also, our losses were only by like four or five points. And playing in the toughest conference – the SEC -- it was such a big game every game. Tennessee, Kentucky, winning big games against Georgia. So, I think we did what we needed to do to prove to the Committee that we should be here, which we are.”

 

On playing Ohio State only a few hours from Columbus…

“I mean it is just exciting anyway. But, we have played at big arenas, big crowds so I don’t really think it’s going to affect us that much. So, playing at Tennessee in a packed house on Senior Night, I don’t think it is going to do anything for us.”

 

On if they’re looking ahead at Baylor…

“I mean, yeah, but if you don’t win your Ohio State game, then you don’t get there. So, basically for us, I think we have been focusing so much on Ohio State, we haven’t even thought about Baylor. We will get there once we get past Ohio State. So, if you don’t win that game, you don’t go on.”

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