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Photo: Matt Pendleton

Sunday March 18, 2012Florida's NCAA Tournament First Round: Post-Game

Bowling Green, Ohio

Photo: Matt Pendleton




Florida Head Coach Amanda Butler

Opening Statement

“Just really, really proud of all aspects of this ball game, you know, starting with our preparation. I think that our team has experienced a lot of emotions this past week from the excitement of being in, to then having such a tough draw and then generating the confidence that they did in practice which obviously culminated with today's performance, but, you know, just a lot of fight, a lot of determination and hustle, which I think are the defining qualities of this team. Just really, really proud of the way they played for 40 minutes, even though some of those minutes didn't go quite so well. I thought we were resilient and just wouldn't give in or give up and fought the good fight all the way to the end.”

 

On having faster players than Ohio State, especially at center…

“No, that wasn't a surprise at all. We take great pride in the tempo that we like to play with, and our post players are -- our guards drive it but your post players have to finish it. It was definitely an area we thought we had an advantage, and we just wanted to get up and down as much as we could and try and make Adams or Moore or Beach or whoever was in there to try and run with us. For the most part they did a pretty good job, but that wasn't a surprise.”

 

On one thing that won the game for the Gators…

“I would definitely choose the all of the above answer. If I had to choose one though I would say our defense because our defense was what I felt like contributed to the quick start, and we felt really good going into the offensive end when we've done a good job on the defensive end. Our team takes great pride in that, and that's a big part of their personality is what happened on the defensive end.”

 

On going to Jennifer George late in the game…

“At the end of the game, Jennifer's a great player and it was a tough match up for her once the ball got into the half court, and I used all those words and tangibles to describe our team, but I think Jennifer really described those as well, a lot of fight, a lot of toughness. She got her shot blocked, stuffed a lot, and she just kept going back out and, again, I think showed a lot of resilience, you know, just a great deal of determination, but, you know, you -- we're fortunate enough to have great balance that we can do a lot of different things to try and score, but she's been the most consistent factor in our half court offense all year so we wanted to put the ball in her hands.”

 

On what she said during Ohio State’s late surge…

“Well, we were talking about our defensive playing and we just wanted to keep doing the things that we're confident about doing and pass the ball better. I didn't feel like the turnovers were because of anything defensively they had done to us. We just didn't do a good job of making decisions with the ball, so we just wanted to calm down, get our bearings, let's not freak out, we've got a lead, we're in good position. Just like Jordan said, either fortunately or unfortunately we've been in that position many, many times this year. So at the end of the huddle after you give all those instructions or whatever, I just said look at me, we're going to win, we got this, and the looks back were very confident. So at that moment, I did have a little bit of a sigh of relief just because of the way that they looked. The confidence that was in their eyes was undeniable, and, again, they just really believed in each other and game playing and all the things that we've been practicing for -- you know, I think we had 97, 98 practices this year, and that's what they did, they did the things that make us good.”

 

On having a game plan to stop Samantha Prahalis

“Yeah, definitely. It wasn't just one plan. I have great respect for Sammy. I hugged her after the ball game and told her she's the best guard in the country this year, congratulated her on her career. I think she's an amazing player, but we had a lot of different plans from who was going to be on her to whether we should switch, and we had so much respect for Sammy and Ohio State for that matter, you know, that we game planned -- we didn't say we're going to do this one thing because we knew they would adjust, we knew that she would -- and Tayler would overcome whatever we were trying to do and, you know, we just wanted to have another answer, and I think it was subtle, some of the changes that our kids were able to make, but, you know, we played them a couple of different ways, and, you know, she also just missed a few spots. Sometimes we didn't play great defense, sometimes she just didn't hit, but again, in particular in the second half, her not scoring, I think we just had some really, really good individual effort.”

 

On Ohio State waiting to take first timeout…

“I even said this to my staff afterwards when we were just talking in the locker room before we came in here, that in all of the game films and I feel like I've watched all of their games because we have such a long time to prepare, I don't recall him calling any timeouts early in games, but I don't think there were a lot of teams that had jumped out on him like we did. So he hasn’t been in that position maybe as much, but I think that’s just a reflection of how much confidence he has in his players, and his guards in particular. I’m really proud of my kids for coming out, throwing the first punch and really setting the tone.”

 

On taking three pointers…

“I think when you look at our team, you can kind of maybe not predict but have a feeling of here's some folks that they might take a step off of and here's who they're going to really try and pressure up, and just like Nita said, we just encouraged everybody to take the shots that they felt good about taking. We had a big conversation last week in practice as we were getting ready about what each individual's job was, and everybody's job is to able to knock down an open shot if you're not guarded, and our kids just really did a great job of looking for each other and taking advantage of those opportunities when they didn't have a hand in the face.”

 

On Baylor…

“I haven't looked at them in terms of scouting them at all.          I like I think maybe every other woman's basketball fan in the country have admired the season that they've had, and just the way that they've played and, you know, Coach Mulkey, how she's done such a great job of making sure that team came out ready with a high level of consistency because they've had a giant target on their back, obviously,

but I haven't had any preparation really breaking them down, we’ll get out there and take a look at them and my two assistants that have been working on the scout, they’ll tell me what they’ve got and we’ll go with a game plan and see what we can do. It won’t be much different from this one. We’re going to try to play tough Florida defense.”

 

#33 Jordan Jones, Sr., G

On the difference in winning this close game vs. losing others

“Knowing that you lose and you go home, I think that was a big part of it, especially having five seniors. You know, we were constantly reminding ourselves in the huddles this is not going to be our last game, we want to put these jerseys on one more time, and all those close losses during the season makes this all worth it. I think we definitely learned from that and it makes us all more resilient.”

 

On Florida’s defense shutting down Ohio State early…

“Oh, it's huge. Honestly, all week long is we've heard was Ohio State this, Ohio State that, their guards average this, their post players do this, they run a transition, and honestly we took that to heart, and we felt -- I know Ohio Stated talked a lot about being disrespected, but we felt a little disrespected, because I don't think people realize how good our defense is, and I knew that Ohio State hadn't faced anything like it, and I think it showed in the first four minutes and throughout the ball game.”

 

On seeding…

“We didn't care. We'll play anyone, we'll play anyone anywhere, it doesn't matter. We just saw our name come up on the screen, and I know there's a video online. We were ecstatic. It didn't matter. You know, I've said it before, we could have been playing the Lakers and we still would have been jumping for joy and hugging and tears of joy so definitely just happy to be able to continue our season in the NCAA tournament.”

 

On playing close games…

“We've been there before. We've talked about it. 10 of our 12 losses were by six points or less, so a close -- you know, looking up and seeing a close score isn't anything that's going to phase us. I think definitely that's the sign of a tough team, and like I've said, I think we've all used the word resilient a million times. The bottom line is that we were tough, it didn't matter how close they got, we knew we had to answer,

and a different person stepped up each time.”

 

On Baylor…

“I think all of us have watched them play multiple times. You know, they're on ESPN it seems like once a week. They're obviously a great team, seeded Number 1 overall for a season. Obviously they have a great post player and a great point guard, so I'm sure we're going to watch this game right here and watch a lot of film tonight and be ready to play in two days.”

 

On never giving up…

“If you look at our team, we're never going to be the most talented team, especially on Tuesday. We're never going to be the tallest or the fastest, so I think a big part of who we are is making the little plays and the hustle plays. You see we all wear knee pads. That's a big part of who we are is not being afraid to jump on the floor and do whatever it takes to get loose balls. I mean, that’s the little things that can separate you when there’s a talent differential.”

 

#3 Lanita Bartley, Sr., G

On defending Samantha Prahalis…

“We just knew we had to stop the ball as soon as they caught it because they were real good in transition, and we practiced that the whole practice, so we made sure somebody was stopping the ball and somebody was getting back and our post was back to help us.”

 

On three-pointers in the first half…

“We just made sure when they weren't guarding us, because they really didn't pressure us, that we was going to shoot the ball, and Butler made sure, she said just shoot it if you're wide open, so we made sure we did that and we knocked down shots.”

 

On Bartley and Jaterra Bonds being more aggressive…

“We just knew we had to come out and be aggressive because they weren't expecting it, so we just made sure whoever was close to the ball needed to get out and go, and then in the second half we needed to slow it down and run the offense and we did it.”

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