- Associated Press - Sunday, March 23, 2014

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Cassie Peoples had so much fun leading Florida to an upset tournament win, she wants to keep the good times rolling.

“We’re all focused for game two,” she said, “but for games three, four and five. However long we keep going.”

That sounds like a plan for the Gators.

Peoples scored 21 points and all five Florida starters scored in double figures, leading the Gators past Dayton 83-69 Sunday in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

The 11th-seeded Gators (20-12) will play Penn State on Tuesday night in the Stanford Regional.

In a first round full of lopsided victories by the heavy favorites, the Gators became the 29th 11th-seeded team to win a tournament game. Jaterra Bonds and Ronni Williams each had 15 points for Florida.

“That’s not what we came here for, to just beat Dayton,” Bonds said. “We came to get that Round 2 win. We want to get to the Sweet 16.”

Andrea Hoover led the Flyers (23-8) with 22 points and Celeste Edwards scored 15 points. Hoover and Edwards helped the Flyers storm to a double-digit lead in the second before Florida started to rally.

The Gators shot 51 percent in the second half to wipe out the deficit and stun Dayton.

The Flyers appeared to put the sting of losing to Fordham in the A-10 tournament championship game behind in a hurry. Hoover and Saicha Allen-Grant hit early 3s in the second half helped push Dayton’s lead to 11.

The Gators stormed back and wiped it out with 8:44 left in the half. Peoples scored a layup, Florida forced on a turnover, and Kayla Lewis went inside for a bucket for a 57-56 lead.

Carlie Needles first 3 of the game made it 60-56. The Flyers kept creeping within a bucket of tying the game, only to get pushed back with a score on the other end. Needles, a 5-foot-6 guard who averaged only six points a game this season, swished another 3 for a 67-60 lead that finally gave the Gators the breathing room they needed.

“Carlie hitting the 3s really gave us that confidence to seal the game off,” Peoples said. “It really put a dagger in them when Carlie was hitting those 3s. We’re all just grateful she still had the confidence to take them after (a slow start).”

Dayton’s Celeste Edwards missed a layup that could have made it a three-point game, Florida grabbed the rebound and Needles completed the fastbreak layup for a 69-63 lead.

Hoover, who led Dayton this season in points, assists and 3-point shooting, didn’t have enough left for one more rally. She made 4 of 8 3-pointers and chipped in four rebounds.

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