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Photo: Matt Pendleton

Monday March 19, 2012NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Second Round Press Conference Quotes

Bowling Green, Ohio

Photo: Matt Pendleton

Florida Head Coach Amanda Butler

On seeing Baylor play last night…

“I got to spend some time with you guys right after our ball game so I didn’t get to get out there right at the beginning and so I missed the way things separated themselves.  But a lot of what we saw when we got back to the hotel and were able to get into their last few conference games and some of their significant nonconference games, they’re an aggressive team. They are well coached.  I think one of the things I like about their team so much is how Coach Mulkey makes it very simple. She puts her players in position for them to succeed. And they play their roles out very well within the structure (Mulkey) provides them, but no, I think that they looked like what you imagine when you close your eyes and imagine a one playing a sixteen and so I don’t think in that game we saw any secrets.  Nothing new was revealed yesterday.

 

On facing the No. 1 seed…

“Absolutely, I think if we do what we are supposed to do for the majority of the ball game and we can make it what we call a possession ballgame going into that home stretch, we can certainly be there.”

 

On Ohio State defending Jennifer George well…

“Certainly she was … We typically have a few different things we feel like we can go to try to get the ball in her hands and Ohio State had a little more size on us on the low block down there, but that’s not new to Jennifer. She is six foot, and she was six foot against 6’4” and 6’5” in all of our league play. We weren’t going to stop going to her just because she had missed a few.”

 

On being the underdog…

“Well, again, I want to echo what Jaterra said. I think that even in our league, our league is so good that it’s been dominated by a few teams for so long, we rarely have gone into match ups against the best teams without people writing in the headlines about our opponents. Typically we are reading the headlines about our competitors and what our chances are. I think that it is good mental preparation for that for tomorrow night’s game. Going into Ohio State there wasn’t a whole lot of talk about Florida except maybe how excited we were to be in the tournament. We were one of the last four in, and that is the headline we might have gotten. But it was like one of those sub headlines, it wasn’t the main headline, so it’s not a new role for us. Do we enjoy being the underdogs? I don’t think our kids focus on it. I think that they have a lot of pride in themselves and a lot of pride in their university. They take great pride in being Gators and if someone overlooks us and that’s a little extra fuel for our kids, then great.”

 

On pressure in the post…

“You can really take out just about anybody and you would have that sort of pressure. I don’t know how familiar you are with the SEC up here in these parts but Kentucky led the league, led the country in turnover margin this year and we got the pleasure of playing them three times. So, the pressure is in our perimeter players, and it’s something that they’re used to and it’s something that we practice. I think they are very talented and I think they take great pride in trying to pressure the ball and get it into the passing lanes and disrupt, but we have got to make sure we are paying attention to that, being really sharp making passes, and expecting what that is going to feel like.”

 

On facing teams similar to Baylor…

“Well I don’t think it’s as much putting in new stuff or that sort of thing. I think we try to get our players aware of what they face to this point and really confident that this is a great team that is very capable of bringing the heat on the perimeter. Its not our first second third or fifth or eighth time facing that when you play against teams like Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia is another one of those teams that is very long, making it very hard for you to see or reverse the ball sometimes, but I think we have more than anything tried to focus on what we have already experienced and generate confidence. Not one day, you have got to look back and maybe you follow this sort of plan before and how did we do, where did we fall short, where did we succeed, and lets draw some confidence from that past experience.”

 

#13 Azania Stewart, Sr., C

Opening Statement

“To start with, we obviously watched film on Baylor. We’ve got to get ready for them, and yeah we’re excited obviously.  We played a great game last night versus Ohio State.  I’m really proud of our team.  I think we executed the game plan very well.  I kind of think everyone underestimated us and got to see what Florida Basketball is all about yesterday.”

 

On Brittney Griner…

“Obviously watching film and seeing her, she is very mobile for a big player.  But, for me, I have played in the SEC and I’ve played overseas against Olympians who are just as big and just as skilled as her.  So I’ve had experience against players like that, so I’m confident and ready.  You have to be aggressive, you can’t go in there timid at all. And yeah, obviously I’ll be starting out on her.  I’m not worried about it.  I’ll try my best, and my teammates have complete faith in me.  I’m a very good defender, and I pride myself on that.  So, that’s what I’m going to do.”

 

On playing against similar-sized players to Griner…

“Well, I played against the Russians. They’re kind of big, but not any big names particularly that you would know of.  The Russians are (similar) - there is a 7 footer, 6 (foot) 6 very mobile players.  They play in and out from the start. So it’s kind of just like a Brittney Griner. The Germans play pretty big and the Lithuanians. So, I’ve had experience that maybe a lot of USA players haven’t had.”

 

On being the underdog…

“For me, I just think about yesterday just as an example.  I just think everyone was talking about Ohio State and really didn’t give us any credit for what we have done.  It was all about them.  I think it’s time to start talking about Florida - what they have done and what they are going to do.”

 

On playing close games…

“Even like Jaterra said, that kind of just relaxed me.  I even got girls together in the huddle and said ‘We’ve been here before and we know what it takes.’  And I think everyone just looked at each other and was like ‘We’re going to do this.’  And that confidence in each other just pulled it through for us, and we got the win.”

 

On expecting anything different on offense from Ohio State to Baylor…

“Not really. We’re going to play Florida defense.  We’re not really going to change it up.  We’ve seen that other teams have tried to double her, and it hasn’t really worked.  So, we haven’t done anything real major.  We kind of tweaked a couple of things here and there, but nothing too great because they have great guards in Simms, so we can’t change too much for her.  So, that’s what we had to do.”

 

#10 Jaterra Bonds, So., G

On seeing Baylor play last night…

“We watched the first half and maybe about five minutes of the second half, but they’re just like any other team that I watched play.  I didn’t see anything spectacular yesterday, but obviously they played a 16-seed.  So, it wasn’t anything special or out of the norm that I’d seen.”

 

On hitting free throws late in the game vs. Ohio State…

“We practice free throws.  We shoot hundreds of free throws every day-before practice, after practice.  I have a statement in my mind- I’m money in the clutch time.  I went down there and knocked down two free throws.  You can’t be too tense.  You’ve got to be calm because if you think you’re going to miss it, you’re going to miss.  So I went down there and knocked them down.”

 

On being the underdog…

“Honestly, since I’ve been here, we have been the underdog.  I feel like no one respects us, so we have to go out there and take the respect.”

 

On playing close games…

“We know how it feels to lose close games because we lost a few of those this year. Yesterday in the huddle, Coach Butler even said ‘We got this’.  When she said that, I looked around at everybody and was like ‘Oh yeah we got this.’  Because I feel like everybody believed that she (coach) believed in us, and we believed in each other.  So I think that statement made it even better for us to go out there and win the game and we had the confidence that we would [win].”

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