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Quotes from UF's NCAA First Round victory over the Dayton Flyers

Sunday March 23, 2014NCAA First Round Press Conference Quotes: Florida 83, Dayton 69

Quotes from UF's NCAA First Round victory over the Dayton Flyers

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- 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 the Orange and Blue 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 Nittany Lions defeated No. 14 seed Wichita State, 62-56, in the first game of the day Sunday to advance to the second round.


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.




UF Head Coach Amanda Butler

Opening Statement: We’re excited to be going second today in the media because that means that we won, but Dayton is a great team, Jim [Jabir] is a great coach. It’s a fantastic win for us. I love our team spirit and the amount of resilience that we play with. It’s really kind of what defines this team. Whenever the chips are down or things don’t look like they’re supposed to go our way, they find a way to make them go our way. They just play tough and hard and for each other. I’m very proud of them and very excited for our next challenge.


Q: What did you say at halftime that sparked this change in the second half?
A: Well, a lot of what Jaterra [Butler] said. We just weren’t pleased with the way that we played because it just wasn’t who we were and I think Dayton had a great game….a lot more two-three than we have seen them play. We expected Jim [Jabir] to have a great game planned and his staff ready for us. We needed an adjustment to our energy. We needed an adjustment to our expectation on possession. We just weren’t going into every possession to win it no matter what so we were accepting -- not bad shots, but not the shots that we wanted. Defensively, we weren’t making a stand and being active and paying as overachievers like we often do. It wasn’t that long of a conversation, -- a lot of challenges directly at them to step up and play like the Gators.


Q: How important was it to see them start to attack the basket there with about 12 minutes to go, it seemed like they were more intent on getting to the rim and through the rest of the game?
A: Definitely important. Cassie [Peoples] led that charge and it was just something…the light bulb clicked on all of the sudden and she just said, ‘this is what I’m going to do and I’m going to do it every single time’. I was really proud of her to be that resilient and have that type of confidence at that point of the ball game because it was certainly the turning point. Everything else just fell in place for them. Carlie [Needles] knocked down big threes and we started playing defensively the way that we wanted to on the other end. Again, I think Cassie [Peoples] just took advantage of what was there and it just kind of snowballed. Once it worked once or twice, I think her confidence grew, her teammates’ confidence in her grew and they were trying to find her more and scream for her more and they were all ready for her because she’s a great passer with great vision. We’re ready for those dump-down passes that cause rotation.

Q: The players saw Penn State today. Match-ups aside, what are you going to say about the second round at the opposing team’s home gym on Tuesday? How are you going to approach that based on what you saw with this atmosphere today?
A: Oh, they have a great atmosphere in here and I think our kids are going to be so excited about it. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s a really talented team, they’re huge. They’re going to be really ready. Maggie Lucas is one of the best scorers in the country. There’s a lot of positives for us to get excited about and I think this is also another opportunity for us to really draw some confidence from our conference schedule and some of the arenas that we have gone into and the amount of energy that is not directed in your favor when you’re on some else’s home court. All those things are things that I think our team strives on so, I think it’s going to be an amazing atmosphere, a great match up. Two really, really good basketball teams going at it.


Jaterra Bonds, Florida, #10 Guard
Q: How does it differ for both of you to get the win today and to advance to play Penn State?
A: It feels good to win, but that is not what we came here for. We did not come here to just beat Dayton. We came here to get that round two win and then advance to the Sweet Sixteen. We feel good, but we have to go back and prepare for Penn State now.


Q: [Carlie] Needles shot some threes. What does it feel like to see those threes go down when you are trying to hold against Dayton?
A: Our whole motto is that we love lay-ups and we love threes. We expect Carlie [Needles] and Lily [Svete] to knock those threes down. You are not supposed to turn down those good looks, and she knocked them down for us when it was crunch time and in moments when we needed that extra edge. I am not surprised that she made those two threes. We have a lot of confidence in her. Like I said, we love to get to the rim first but we love threes.


Q: During halftime, what did you guys focus on to improve in the second half?
A: The first half we did not play our basketball. We were settling for jump shots and quick threes. We did not stick to the game plan, which was laid out in front of us. We were not finishing in the sides. So in the second half, we felt like it was a brand new start. We were down three but the score got to be 0-0. We had to come out and do what we had been practicing and preparing for all week long. We had to get to the rim and finish it then get back and get consecutive shots.


Q: Do you guys think of yourselves as underdogs? If you did, did that mentality help or hurt you today?
A: We are usually the underdogs; that is how it is projected. We do not think of ourselves as underdogs. Do not get me wrong, Dayton is a very good team, but in our minds we think that we are always supposed to win. Seeding at this time does not really matter. It comes down to who wants it more, who is going to fight for it more and who has more heart.


Q: Did you guys get a chance to watch the Penn State game? If so, what did you take away from it?
A: We watched maybe about seven minutes of it. We will go back and get more in depth with it in film later on tonight.


Cassie Peoples, Florida, #13 Guard
Q: Cassie, in the second half when you guys started to make your run, you seemed to be attacking the basket more. What did you see them doing that made you make that adjustment?
A: I just saw the gaps. I did my best to try to get into those gaps. My teammates were ready to make plays. I think that served us greatly. It did a great deal for us.


Q: How does it differ for both of you to get the win today and to advance to play Penn State?
A: It feels great. I know that everyone in the locker room has their first game jitters out the way. We are all focused for game two, then for game three to five or however long we keep going.


Q: [Carlie] Needles shot some threes. What does it feel like to see those threes go down when you are trying to hold against Dayton?
A: Carlie hitting those threes really gave us a lot of momentum. It really gave us that confidence to seal that game off. It really put a dagger in them when Carlie was hitting those threes. I am really grateful that she was still confident enough to take those threes even when we were 2-8.


Q: Do you guys think of yourselves as underdogs? If you did, did that mentality help or hurt you today?
A: I do not think each team member goes into the game thinking that we are the underdog or that we are going to come up short. I think we think that we are ready to fight and ready to make runs. That is what you need: runs. Their team is going to make runs and our team has to respond and make runs.




Dayton Head Coach Jim Jabir

Opening Statement: I want to congratulate Florida. They played a heck of a game and I'm very disappointed about that five-to-six minute span in the second half that defined the end of our season. We've had trouble all year playing consistently tough in stretches and it did us really hard today at a really inopportune time.


Q: How disappointing is it to see the season come to an end when, like you said yesterday, you guys are trying to take that step to get to the second round?
A: I know we all worked hard for the sixth seed and we felt that if we played assertively and passionately on both ends that we'd have a fair shot at winning the game and for a lot of the game it looked like that and then - we can't be fair weathered. When things start to go wrong and we make some mistakes, we don't have that intestinal fortitude to fight through it. Florida - if you look at just the rebounding difference, you look at our size versus them and then you look at the difference - we got beat on the boards. That tells you everything you want to know and that's something we have to address. Florida is a very talented team, but they play with a lot of passion and they wanted this game very, very badly. I think our guys wanted it but when push comes to shove we have to learn how to fight through situations that we found ourselves in today. This is something that happened at Fordham in our championship game in the conference. It happened again, and I thought we kind of got through it. The first three quarters of the game it looked like we were in control and we were playing pretty well and then we hit a bump and we lost our composure. That's on me - I need to figure out how to fix that because we're not going to go to the second weekend if I can't fix that, so we have to find a way.


Q: On the defensive end, is there anything you saw that you guys could have changed when they started to attack the basket? What made them so effective and you guys not being able to adjust when they started to attack?
A: Our plan was to commit and then once I realized they were playing four guards and they were a lot quicker than they looked on film, I didn't feel comfortable that we could play man against them. I thought it would be worse if we tried playing man and I thought for a while that the zone looked good. I think again it comes back to a matter of toughness and being able to keep that guy in front of you and we haven't played any zone two, three all year so maybe that inexperience hurt us as well. We didn't adjust. We didn't close gaps when they drove. We stepped up at the wrong time. The forward didn't help the center. It was a lot of little things, but I think it comes back to their guy has the ball, throws a fake, drives the lane, and our guy is not there to take them on. It's just not good enough. We gave them wide-open lanes and that's not acceptable.


Q: With the younger team that you have, do you think the inexperience contributed to it at all? Do you think this experience will help these players as they come back for future NCAA appearances?
A: I'm never the one to talk about our inexperience and use it as an excuse and I'm not going to start now. We have to get tougher and better. You hope that every experience you have makes you better. If you're going to make mistakes, it should be used in a positive manner to improve and the mistakes are fine as long as you get better. This is two games in a row where we've made the same errors so, yes, we are young but I don't care. We were up nine and we're young and then we're down and we're young and then we lose and we're young. If we were good enough to be up nine then we should be good enough to maintain. We have to figure out a lot of stuff. But I want to credit Florida. I think they are a very well-coached team and I was very impressed with what they did to us today.


Andrea Hoover, Dayton #24, Position: Guard
Q: Offensively you guys came out strong in the second half. You built that nine-point lead. What changed there in the final 12 minutes when Florida started making their run?
A: I think we kind of went away from what we were doing so well, which was driving to the basket and getting to the free throw line, and really forcing plays in the paint. I think we started to settle for jump shots, which we were taking bad shots in the transition offense. So, I think that's what really contributed to that little run they had.


Q: Did your offense affect your defense when they started to attack the basket more, when they went on that run over four minutes and they started to erase your lead? Did you defense kind of suffer then from the offense?
A: Yeah, our transition defense kind of went away there for a little bit, and that's when they really started to attack the basket and we were really having a hard time containing their guards. They were getting to the paint and really creating for their post players and we've had this happen in the past and we just can't have that happen. We have to be a tougher team and we can't keep making the same mistakes over and over again or we won't get far.


Amber Deane, Dayton #1, Position: Guard
A: I definitely agree. We started to get a little bit stagnant, a little bit passive. Like you said, we were so assertive coming out of halftime, and we just got away from our game and we started letting Florida take control instead of being in control like we were in the first place.

Q: Did your offense affect your defense when they started to attack the basket more, when they run on that run over four minutes, and they started to erase your lead? Did you defense kind of suffer then from the offense?
A: We definitely got away from defensive assertiveness just like on offense. There was a lot of miscommunication, and their guards just took it to us and we kind of backed down and let them control the tempo and the game.

Cassie Sant, Dayton #33, Position Center

Q: Can you describe the factors that led to the game getting away from your team late in the second half?
A: I mean, they killed us on the boards and that's really hard to come back from. They went on a run and we just couldn't answer. We were missing some shots and Ally and I both got into foul trouble, so it just kind of killed the momentum a little bit. They got the better of us today.


Q: Coming into this game you had said that you expected Florida to be a physical team. Did that pan out the way you had envisioned?
A: Yeah. They were definitely a really physical team and they just drove it into us and got our posts into foul trouble really early. We just didn't answer as best as we could today and they capitalized.


Q: What do you think your team did well today, especially in the first half?
A: In the first half, I thought we were really attacking the basket well. We were crashing the boards just trying to keep the ball alive and attacked from the inside out. Second half we kind of got away from that and starting jacking up threes and they weren't hitting.


Amber Deane, Dayton #2, Position: Guard
Q: The game got away from your team in the second half... what do you think led to that?
A: Well, we came out really strong and we were assertive and aggressive and we kind of controlled the game and once we got away from that, they just took over and started playing their game. We took bad shots and we were stagnant on offense and they got a lot of run outs and transitions and they got their confidence going. Once they had that, they just took over the game.


Q: What can you say about the physicality of Florida's team?
A: We knew going in that they were going to be really physical with us. Size-wise, we are a lot bigger than them so we could've taken advantage of that, but they were so tough mentally and physically. They pushed us around and, like I said, they took control of the game in every way they could.


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