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The Gators are going dancing! (photo: Matt Pendleton)

Monday March 17, 2014Gators Receive NCAA Tournament Berth, Play Dayton Flyers in First Round

The Gators are going dancing! (photo: Matt Pendleton)

The University of Florida women’s basketball team received an at-large berth into the 2014 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament, where the Gators earned the No. 11 seed and will face sixth-seeded Dayton (23-7) on Sunday, March 23, at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa. Tip-off between the Gators and Flyers is set for 3 p.m. ET and will be televised live on ESPN.

 

·         WATCH the excitement of when the Gators learned they had earned an NCAA Tournament berth:

·         http://www.gatorvision.tv/mediaPortal/player.dbml?id=3224509&db_oem_id=6500

 

The winner of that first round contest advances to the NCAA second round to play the winner of the game between No. 3 seed Penn State (22-7) and 14th-seeded Wichita State (26-6), which will tip off at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN2 prior to the Gators vs. Flyers match-up. That second round contest will be held on March 25.

 

This is the 14th time Florida (19-12) has earned a bid to compete in the NCAA Championship, with the most recent selection coming in 2012 when the Gators lost to overall No. 1-seed and eventual national champion Baylor in the second round played in Bowling Green, Ohio.


Monday’s announcement placed Florida in a postseason tournament for the 20th time in the last 22 years, including all seven seasons under head coach Amanda Butler, who became the first-ever Gator coach to guide the program to a postseason appearance in each of their first seven years.

The Gators are 1-0 all-time against the Flyers, having last taken to the court against the team at Dayton in 2000. The UF women’s hoops squad is 1-1 against Penn State and 1-0 against Wichita State.

Florida in the 2014 NCAA Tournament at a Glance

·         The 2014 NCAA berth is Florida’s 21st postseason berth in program history (14 NCAA, 7 WNIT & NWIT)

·         Florida’s 20th postseason appearance in the last 22 years.

·         Florida played 13 games against 10 different teams that earned an NCAA Tournament berth in 2014, posting a 5-8 record against those teams.

·         The Gators played four games against 3 teams that will be competing in the Postseason WNIT, logging a 3-1 record.

·         Florida sports an 11-13 all-time record in NCAA play, with the best showing a Regional Final appearance in 1997.

·         Amanda Butler is the eighth different full-time head coach in the 40-year history of the Florida women’s basketball program and she is ...

o    the ONLY coach to lead UF to postseason play in each of her first seven years;

o    the FIRST to guide the Gators to a postseason berth in each of her first two years;

o    the FIRST to lead the Gators to a postseason bid (WNIT) in her first year with the Gators.

 

NCAA Interactive Bracket:

http://www.ncaa.com/interactive-bracket/basketball-women/d1

 

The official website of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship:

http://www.ncaa.com/sports/basketball-women

 

Stay posted to GatorZone.com for more details as they become available!

 

Florida is Going Dancing! | Quotes from Amanda Butler and Players

Florida Head Coach Amanda Butler

Opening statement:

“We’re excited. This is what we expected to happen. It still feels really good to see your name pop up there, and in our case, hear your name – we didn’t see it at first, but we heard it and that was pretty much all we needed. It was a really, really exciting moment; a great moment to be able to share with such a special team and support group that was there with us.”

 

On if there was confusion (with ESPN saying Florida vs. Dayton, but not showing on the bracket at first):

“We did not hear Dayton, actually. We heard Florida Gators and the room erupted. We had to circle back around and find out who we were playing – a fantastic team in Dayton – and where we were going, what day we’re playing and all that. That type of excitement is what makes this time of year so special. There’s just not any other moment you have throughout your basketball season where you feel the way you do when you hear your name called on Selection Monday.”

 

On her nerves as Florida was one of the later teams to be announced on the Selection Show:

“I was confident. There was not any question in my mind, and I have a pretty discriminating mind with these sort of things; we deserved to be in. It would have been a great injustice if we weren’t, but I wasn’t dwelling on that. I was confident we were going to be in. You can’t help but start to feel the ‘what ifs’ a little bit, but luckily we didn’t have to wait to be the last name called or something crazy like that.”

 

On if the team had any projections on who they would play in the NCAA Tournament – and if Dayton was one of the teams:

“I didn’t look at any projections. The only thing I was projecting this week was: How good can Florida be at the end of the week. That was the only thing I was concerned about. The rest of that is speculation; it’s fun. To me it’s fun when it’s somebody else, it’s not fun when it’s us. I really didn’t look at any of the bracketology or spend much time on what people thought we would be or if we were in and where; none of those things really mattered.”

 

On starting a ‘new season’ and having a fresh start for the NCAA Tournament:

“This time of year is when you really rely on your leadership to have that perspective; that it really doesn’t matter, especially now, in this moment (what happened in the regular-season). Maybe it mattered an hour or two ago (before the selection announcement), when wins and losses are weighing heavy on you, but it really just doesn’t matter at all now. I think our leaders, our upperclassmen, will do a great job of making sure that, collectively, we’re right where we need to be, that we’re thinking of what’s important today, what’s important in practice, what we’re focusing on. Any of that other stuff at this point is just entertainment – it doesn’t matter. It’s about going out right now and proving right now that you deserve to be in this field.”

 

On having two players who have ever played in a NCAA Tournament game:

“I think a lot of people will be dwelling on their experience, but the other side of that coin is the type of eagerness that you have when you have only done something once in your career, or twice in your career, or if it’s the first time in your career. Either way, you’re going to have two really, really good teams that are going to be very excited about their opportunity. I think some of those circumstantial things like that are going to go away as soon as we hit the floor.”

 

On preparation for Dayton and where the coaches begin:

“(We begin) watching film. I have a little bit of knowledge of Dayton just from the past when I coached at Charlotte and had a chance to coach against Jim Jabir’s teams then. He does an amazing job, a really, really good coach. He’s a guy that year in and year out recruits players away from people and doesn’t necessarily dominate the league, but is always at the top in the league and is always a postseason contender. It’s going to be a tough match up. You have to hit the fast forward button in terms of preparation from a coaches’ standpoint. Kind of like what we’ve been going through the past two months. Even though you have some time to prepare, at this time of year your stuff and what you do well has to be more important than what your opponent does.”

 

On how UF’s deep run in the 2013 WNIT may help the Gators this year:

“I think there is a little bit of that experience that’s generated by an expectation to keep on playing and just the understanding of that do-or-die mentality; survival mode. There are so many different clichés to describe it, but again, just like I opened up with, I think our leadership is going to be really important. Our leadership is why we’re in the position we’re in right now and I’d expect those guys to be carrying out the messages that need to be carried out in our locker room and setting the tone in practice, off the court at training table, when they are walking to class together in the morning. I fully expect that to happen.”

 

On her expectations of the team this NCAA Tournament:

“I think our team is going to play great. I think we’re going to play the best basketball that we’ve played all year. Our team has been excited and motivated through this hard week of practice when you don’t know (who you’re playing), but know you have the chance to play again and be in that field of 64. I expect to see our best basketball.”

 

On two of the top seeds being from the SEC and how that’s prepared Florida for the NCAA Tourney:

“I think it’s huge preparation for us. It’s a huge boost for our confidence, what we’ve gone through in January, February and March to this point and knowing the competition that we were facing every Thursday and Sunday and then in the SEC Tournament was basically the best that was out there. Every week we were challenged in a way that most other conferences weren’t. Certainly to make that matter, you have to show up and play, there’s no question, but I think our league was the best in the country this year – you don’t have two No. 1 seeds without that and as many teams as we had in. Now you have to prove that it wasn’t just the committee’s opinion or something that was happening in January or February, but that it’s something that’s going to also show up now in the most important part of the year.”

 

On Dayton and Florida having one common opponent in Vandy this season:

“That’s non-conference, so long ago. I think it’s less of a statement about Dayton and more of a statement about Vanderbilt, how good of a team that they are and how good of a team they are at home – I believe that game was played at home for Vandy. We don’t put much stock into that at all.”

 

#10 Jaterra Bonds | Senior | Guard

On heading to the NCAA Tournament:

“Right now I’m just very, very happy. I haven’t been this happy in a long time. We haven’t been back (to the NCAA Tournament) in two years since my sophomore year. I’m at a loss for words, but I’m ready to get back in the gym and start preparing for Dayton and this journey we’re going to be on. I’m just so happy for us right now.”

 

#13 Cassie Peoples | RS-Sophomore | Guard

On heading to the NCAA Tournament:

“I’m a little bit relieved, but at the same time I had a lot of confidence in our season this year and how we played. I’m ready to play now. We’ve been waiting about a week now – since the last time we played – and I think everyone else is ready to play as well.”

 

On her first time going dancing in NCAA Tournament:

“This will be my first time playing (in the NCAA Tournament) and first, I’m just honored to be in the NCAA Tournament. To see that your hard work paid off is a nice feeling as well. It’s good to know that what we did in the summer, and the time that I put in this summer to get healthy and ready to play, actually paid off.”

 

#3 January Miller | Sophomore | Guard

On heading to the NCAA Tournament:

“I was excited. I knew we were going to be in, but I was nervous when it started to get later in the show; I was really happy then.”

 

On her excitement not only getting into the NCAA Tournament, but urge to advance:

“It feels pretty good. Looking at the matchups, we think, ‘We can do it.’ It motivates us to want to play harder.”

 

On playing in her first NCAA Tournament:

“It’s different because it’s unchartered waters for me. I haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament yet, so it’s a little different not knowing who we play, but now that we know it’s exciting, I’m ready to go.”

 

On what the team has been working on during the week between SEC Tournament and NCAA announcement:

“We’ve been working on fundamentals, getting back to the basics, almost like preseason practice. We’re working on ourselves – we didn’t know who we’d be playing.”

 

 

For all of the latest information on Florida women’s basketball:

Official Website: www.gatorzone.com/basketball/women

Facebook: www.facebook.com/FloridaWomensBasketball

Twitter: @GatorZoneWBK  and  @CoachButlerUF 

 

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