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NCAA Women's Basketball First Round Postgame Quotes - Florida

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March 23, 2014


First Round · News Conference
Bryce Jordan Center · University Park, Pa.
Sunday, March 23

Amanda Butler, Florida Head Coach:
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.

Jateera 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






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