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The Gators defeated the Dayton Flyers, 83-69, Sunday to advance the NCAA Second Round vs. Penn State

Sunday March 23, 2014Gators Down Dayton in NCAA First Round to Set Up Penn State-Florida Clash Tuesday


The Gators defeated the Dayton Flyers, 83-69, Sunday to advance the NCAA Second Round vs. Penn State

The Florida women’s basketball squad put together a stellar second half against Dayton Sunday, downing the Flyers, 83-69, in the NCAA Tournament First Round at the Bryce Jordan Center on the Penn State campus to advance to the NCAA Second Round for the ninth time in program history.


The Gators’ victory sets up with a clash with third-seeded Penn State Tuesday, March 25, at 7 p.m. The Lady Lions (23-7) defeated No. 14 seed Wichita State, 62-56, in the first game of the day Sunday to advance to the second round.


CELEBRATION! Gator locker room celebration

WATCH: Carlie Needles, Cassie Peoples & Ronni Williams reaction to the Gators' NCAA Tourney win

QUOTES: Coach Amanda Butler, Cassie Peoples and Jaterra Bonds at Postgame Press Conference

VIDEO: Postgame Press Conference

PHOTO GALLERY: Florida vs. Dayton (by Matt Pendleton) | Facebook Gallery


UF used a fiery second half against Dayton to improve to 20-12 on the year, the fourth-straight 20-win campaign for the Gators and the fifth under head coach Amanda Butler, as well as the 14th in program history.


Florida redshirt sophomore Cassie Peoples led the charge for Orange and Blue with 21 points, her most since January 12, while five Gators put up double-digit scoring efforts in the win over the Flyers. Junior Kayla Lewis posted a double-double with 11 points and boards, her 12th career double-dip, while freshman Ronni Williams tied her second-best scoring output of the season with 15 points. Jaterra Bonds and Carlie Needles chipped in 15 and 11 points, respectively, Needles with three treys in the second half that proved to be daggers for the Flyers en route to UF’s 12th all-time NCAA Tournament win.


With the score 32-29 in favor of Dayton at the half, Florida put together a rally in the second to mount its first halftime deficit since overcoming a 16-point hole against Georgetown Dec. 28. The Orange and Blue out-rebounded Dayton, 41-26, including three straight defensive rebounds – two from Lewis – and six Peoples free throws to seal the deal for the Gators in the final minute of play.


Florida’s +15 rebound margin was the teams largest of the season and only its second double-figure advantage this year (+13 in a loss at Arkansas, Feb. 6)


Florida entered Sunday’s tilt 2-9 when trailing at half this season, but defied the odds and flipped the table with thrilling play and passionate effort down the stretch despite a 12-point Flyer advantage, 48-36, with 15 minutes to play.


A Williams lay up followed by five straight points from Bonds, six from Peoples and two free-throw successes from Lewis countered two Dayton layups in a span of five minutes for a 15-6 Florida run through the heart of the second half. The UF run pulled the Gators within three, 54-51, with just under 10 minutes remaining and provided a spark of momentum that allowed Florida to charge ahead and never look back.


Two Dayton free throws made it 56-51, Flyers, but Peoples poured it on with four-straight points on a jumper and layup, while a Needles steal transitioned to a Lewis layup that gave the Gators a 57-56 advantage with 8:52 remaining and lead they wouldn’t relinquish.


Florida held Dayton to just six points for the remainder of the game and tacked on 26 more, thanks in part to three Needles treys and a layup – all 11 of her points – in the last eight minutes of play. UF capitalized on five three-point plays Sunday and a was a perfect 13-for-13 from the charity stripe in the second half to pave the way to the Gators’ 14-point margin of victory and  trip to the NCAA Second Round vs. Penn State.


Updated Records from Happy Valley

Florida 20-12 | Dayton: 23-8

Penn State: 23-7


NCAA Tourney Quick Hits

·         The Gators advance to the NCAA Second Round for the ninth time in program history with their 20th win of the season, marking UF’s 14th 20-win season in program history

·         UF’s 20-win campaign is its fourth straight and the fifth under head coach Amanda Butler. UF’s NCAA First Round victory gave Butler her 140th win in seven years at UF

·         In all seven trips to the postseason under coach Amanda Butler, the Gators have won at least their first round game

·         Florida now sports a 12-13 all-time record in NCAA play, with the best showing a Regional Final appearance in 1997

·         Last season Florida won a program-record four postseason games en route to the WNIT semifinals

·         Florida in the NCAA Tournament

o    All-Time: 12-13

o    First Round: 9-5

o    Second Round: 2-6

·         While Florida has made six previous trips to the postseason, the current group of Gators was a bit lean on postseason experience of any kind entering 2014. Only Jaterra Bonds and Lily Svete have played in an NCAA game


Florida vs. Penn State

·         The Gators and Lady Lions have twice met in the history of the series. Florida and Penn State have split the two meetings in the series, with each winning on its home court.

·         The two teams could have met this season in the Bahamas, but the Gators lost in the first round of the Junkanoo Jam, while the Lady Lions reached the title game and captured the crown

·         The last time the teams met was on Dec. 3, 2000, when the Gators upset the Lady Lions 92-79

·         The Gators are 6-15 all-time vs. Big Ten opponents and Penn State is 24-30 vs. SEC foes


Second is the Best -- Half, that is

·         Before Sunday’s contest, Florida was 2-9 this season when trailing at the half

·         Florida faced its largest deficit of the game (12 points) with just over 15 minutes remaining and UF mounted its first halftime comeback since Dec. 28 vs. Georgetown

·         Trailing Dayton 54-45 with 11:53 to play, the Gators finished the game on a 38-15 run

·         Florida shot 51.4 percent  (19-37) from the floor, 25 percent from behind the arc (3-12) and 100 percent (13-13) from the charity stripe to step up its game from the first half

·         Gator redshirt sophomore Carlie Needles had all 11 of her points in the final 7:46 to play in the second half. Needles nailed three from behind the arc and added a layup to help Florida to victory down the stretch


Even First Half

·         There were six lead changes and four tied scores in the first half, with Dayton taking a 32-29 lead into the locker room at the half

·         Tit for tat: both Florida and Dayton had 16 points in the paint in the first half. The Gators had 10 points off turnovers, while Dayton had 11. UF had five second-chance points, Dayton four. The Flyers posted eight fast-break points, while the Gators had four. Lastly, UF’s bench had the advantage, chipping in eight points to Dayton’s on

·         Dayton went on a 6-0 run to end the first half as the Gators led, 29-26, with 5:25 remaining in the first

·         Freshman Ronni Williams led the Orange and Blue with seven first-half points (3-5 FG, 1-1 FT)

·         UF shot 40.7 percent (11-27) in the first half, while Dayton hit 51.9 percent (14-32) from the field. Both squads were 50 percent from the charity stripe


Three’s a Charm

·         Florida converted five three-point plays in the win against Dayton, paced by three from the true freshman Ronni Williams, while Kayla Lewis and Jaterra Bonds each had successful three-point plays against Dayton


Doubling Up

·         Five Gators notched double-digit point efforts Sunday and UF was led by Cassie Peoples, who put up 21 points, her most since January 12 when she had 22. For Peoples, it was her 17th career and fourth consecutive double-figure scoring game. Peoples was UF’s leading scorer for the fourth time in her Gator career and hit the 20-point mark for the fourth time this season

·         Junior Kayla Lewis posted a double-double with 11 points and boards, her 12th career double-dip, 36th career double-digit scoring game and 18th double-figure rebounding game

·         Freshman Ronni Williams tied her second-best scoring output of the season with 15 points. Jaterra Bonds and Carlie Needles contributed 15 and 11points, respectively

·         For Needles and Williams the double-digit efforts were their 14th career outputs, while Bonds notched her 83rd


Games Played

·         Seniors Jaterra Bonds & Lily Svete both played in the 136th game of their respective careers, the MOST in UF history. Bonds and Svete bumped former Gator great Jennifer George (2009-13) to No. 2 (135)

·         Bonds additionally started her 115th career game at Florida, tying Talatha Bingham  (1996-99) at the No. 4 spot in the Gator record book


Moving on Up in the Gator Record Book

·         Jaterra Bonds took sole possession of seventh place on UF’s all-time career scoring chart. Bonds finished the game with 15 points and now has 1,588 (No. 6 is 1,798 by Quientella Bonner, 1976-81)

·         Gators’ Kayla Lewis surpassed the 750 career-points mark in Sunday’s contest, as the Florida junior posted 11 against Dayton


Numbers Watch

·         January Miller eclipsed career rebound 175 Sunday, finishing the day with five. Miller now has 180 career rebounds for UF

·         Ronni Williams notched six boards against Dayton to also eclipse career rebound 175. She has 177 career boards

·         Jaterra Bonds dished out two assists against the Flyers, giving her 433 career assists and sole possession of fourth place in the category in the UF record book

·         Bonds additionally now has 537 career free-throw attempts, which ties for third all-time with Gator great DeLisha Milton


Streaks and Stuff

·         Sunday marked 57 consecutive games scoring by Jaterra Bonds, the longest active streak by a current Gator

·         Bonds additionally started her 102nd game as a Gator, the third-longest streak in program history (2nd is 109 by Murriel Page, 1994-98)

·         January Miller, Carlie Needles & Cassie Peoples all hit treys against Dayton, giving UF 130 consecutive games with a 3-pointer


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