January 7, 2009 - by
After Historic Win, FSU Opens Conference Slate With Tough Matchup at Virginia Tech

Jan. 7, 2009


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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Looking to build off its impressive win over then No. 3-ranked Texas A&M this past Monday night, the Florida State women’s basketball team heads to Blacksburg, Va. to open Atlantic Coast Conference play with a showdown against Virginia Tech (8-5) Thursday at 7 p.m.


The Seminoles (12-4) are riding a three-game winning streak after beating LSU, UCF and the previously undefeated Aggies in successive contests.



In her 12th season as head coach of the Florida State women’s basketball program, Sue Semrau will always remember the win that put her within single digits of 200 career victories. That’s because career win No. 191 occurred against third-ranked Texas A&M and will go down as one of the greatest comebacks in Seminole history. Semrau is used to making magic happen at FSU as she became the program’s winningest coach in her ninth season on Feb. 19, 2006 when the Seminoles defeated Clemson 80-72 in overtime. She has guided the Seminoles to double-digit victories in nine-straight seasons and to four-straight NCAA Tournaments and five overall. 



The Seminoles enter Thursday’s conference opener against Virginia Tech with a 15-9 all-time advantage over the Hokies in the history of the two programs. The Seminoles have dominated the Hokies while playing at home in Tallahassee, Fla. as they are 10-2 on their home floor. But on the road has been another story as FSU is 5-5 all-time playing in Blacksburg, Va. Florida State is, however, 2-0 on the Virginia Tech campus since the Hokies joined the Atlantic Coast Conference after making the switch from the Big East. The Seminoles have won the last two games against the Hokies and 10 of the last 11.



FSU……………………………. PER GAME…………………………….. VT

70.7……………………………….. POINTS…………………………….. 61.6

.432 ………………………………… FG%……………………………….. .414

.354……………………………….. 3 FG%……………………………… .327

.667…………………………………. FT%……………………………….. .593

42.3……………………………. REBOUNDS…………………………… 39.8

13.1………………………………. ASSISTS…………………………….. 14.5

19.3…………………………… TURNOVERS………………………….. 17.3

8.7…………………………………. STEALS………………………………… 6.8

4.3………………………………… BLOCKS………………………………. 4.0



Just like this year, the Seminoles began their conference schedule with a matchup against Virginia Tech. In last year’s game, FSU earned a 67-63 victory at the Donald L. Tucker Center as then-senior point guard Shante Williams dished out six assists to officially become the program’s all-time assists leader. The Seminoles were led offensively by three players that figure to play a prominent role in this year’s edition of the FSU-VT showdown. Alysha Harvin led all FSU players with 16 points while Jacinta Monroe and Mara Freshour added 15 and 13, respectively. Courtney Ward also had eight points and Cayla Moore had four in the victory.



Under head coach Sue Semrau, the FSU women’s basketball team is 5-6 in Atlantic Coast Conference openers. The Seminoles are currently riding a two-game winning streak in conference openers after defeating Virginia Tech 67-63 last season and beating Boston College the year before by a score of 72-53.



Florida State’s upset victory over No. 3 Texas A&M Monday night marked the first time FSU has defeated a ranked opponent since beating then-No. 25 Ohio State last year. The Seminoles’ last win over a top-five-ranked team occurred in the 2007 NCAA Tournament when they upset then-No. 5 Stanford. The victory over the Aggies also marked the Seminoles’ first win over a top-three program since downing then-No. 2 Duke in 2004. With Monday’s win, FSU now has three victories all-time against top-three-ranked teams.


Seminoles undefeated on the road

Despite a 2-3 record away from home while playing in in-season tournament games, the Seminoles are a perfect 3-0 on the road this season in their opponents’ home gym. The Seminoles have had road games at North Florida, Temple and LSU and were victorious in each of those games and wil be looking to keep that trend going when they travel to Blacksburg, Va. for a showdown against Virginia Tech.



The Seminoles have historically struggled in their first games on the new calendar year during the Sue Semrau era. Through 11 seasons, FSU was just 3-8 in their first game after New Year’s Day entering Monday’s showdown with Texas A&M but is now 4-8 in those types of games after earning the upset.



Through the game’s first 20 minutes, it looked like the Seminoles wouldn’t have much chance against a stingy Texas A&M defense. But after a quick timeout by head coach Sue Semrau early in the second half, FSU went on a tear. The Seminoles went on an incredible 34-10 run to close out the game. FSU did this by making timely shots on the offensive end and limiting the Aggies’ playmakers on the defensive end. After shooting just over 20 percent in the first half, FSU shot just over 62 percent in the second half. And perhaps more importantly, the Seminoles limited Texas A&M’s stellar guard Takia Starks as she finished with just six points – well  below her average – on just 3-for-18 shooting. She was also 0-for-8 from 3-point range. For the game, FSU scored 41 points in te second half compared to just 24 by the Aggies.  The Seminoles wound up nailing 15 of their 22 shot attempts in the final 20 minutes.


Sticking with the starting five that works

Head coach Sue Semrau unveiled a new starting lineup against UCF and after that victory the same five got the nod against the third-ranked Aggies. FSU’s five starters for the past two games have been: point guard Courtney Ward, guards Tanae Davis-Cain and Mara Freshour, and forwards Alysha Harvin and Jacinta Monroe.



Trailing by 17 points with 13 minutes remaining in the game against Texas A&M, hope seemed to be lost for the Seminoles. But after chipping away at the Aggies lead and cutting the deficit to just six points with around five minutes remaining in regulation, things got even more exciting for everyone wearing garnet and gold at the Donald L. Tucker Center. The frenzy all started when Tanae Davis-Cain drilled a 3-pointer with 4:42 remaining in the ballgame to cut Texas A&M’s lead to just 50-47. Davis-Cain’s fist-pumping to the crowd and chest bumping with her teammates then led to a lay-up by Angel Gray and a couple of Cierra Bravard free-throws that gave FSU a 51-50 lead with just over four minutes remaining. Courtney Ward then converted a lay-up and hit a 3-pointer to put the Seminoles on top at 56-50 and FSU never looked back.



Monday’s upset victory over Texas A&M marked the first time this season that the Seminoles earned a victory despite trailing at the halftime break. The Aggies boasted a 29-19 advantage at the game’s intermission.



Florida State’s victory despite trailing by as many as 17 points in the second half marked the squad’s biggest comeback of the 2008-09 season.



Seminoles leading scorer Jacinta Monroe hadn’t been herself for two-straight games but found her offensive groove again versus UCF. After combining for just 13 points on 4-for-16 shooting in games against No. 1 UConn and LSU, the junior forward exploded for 17 points against the Knights on 7-for-10 shooting from the field. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla. native then followed up that performance with a team-high 14-point effort in helping guide FSU past previously unbeaten Texas A&M. Monroe has now scored in double figures in 13 of FSU’s 16 games this year.



Senior guard Tanae Davis-Cain already made a little bit of history this season by officially becoming FSU’s career leader in 3-pointers made and against UCF she became the 22nd player in Seminoles history to score at least 1,000 points in a career. With 19 points in the win over the Knights and 13 more against No. 3 Texas A&M, the Dawson, Ga. native now has 1,014 points in her stellar career. Senior guard Mara Freshour also has the opportunity to leave her name in the 3-pointer record books as she moved into sole position of second place on the all-time 3-pointers made list with one against LSU. She currently has 136 career triples while Davis-Cain currently has 153 after making three against UCF and one against the Aggies. In addition to moving up the career list for 3-pointers, Freshour also could reach the 1,000-point mark in her final season at FSU, too. The updated totals are:


Career 3-Pointers

Career Record:            

Tanae Davis-Cain       153

Mara Freshour            136

Wendy Hampton          134


1,000-Point Club

Tanae Davis-Cain: 1,014

Mara Freshour: 890



A game after turning the ball over a season-low 12 times in the win at LSU, the Seminoles had 20 giveaways in the victorious effort at home against UCF and then 19 in the win over Texas A&M.  The Seminoles are now averaging 19.3 turnovers per game. In the Sue Semrau era, FSU averaged 20+ turnovers per contest in her first three seasons. In each of her NCAA Tournament seasons, FSU has averaged no more than 18.3 turnovers per game and that was last season.


FSU Turnovers Per Game In Semrau Era

2008-09           19.3

2007-08           18.3     NCAA Tournament

2006-07           16.9     NCAA Tournament

2005-06           15.7     NCAA Tournament

2004-05           16.5     NCAA Tournament

2003-04           17.1

2002-03           18.5

2001-02           17.8

2000-01           17.8     NCAA Tournament

1999-00           21.6

1998-99           21.0

1997-98           24.6    



Junior forward Jacinta Monroe has led the Seminoles in blocked shots over the past two seasons and has steadily climbed the ranks as one of the greatest shot blockers in program history. With a game-high three blocks in the upset victory over Texas A&M, Monroe has a team-high 34 swats this season. Monroe now has 175 career blocked shots and is just 34 shy of Brooke Wyckoff’s all-time record of 209 she set from 1997-2001.  Monroe is averaging 2.1 blocks per game this season and if she stays on this pace will have 213 career blocked shots after the first game of the ACC Tournament.  She will likely, however, better that pace as she has already recorded three or more blocks in five games this season including a season-high six against Mercer.



FSU’s victory over UCF featured terrific performances by several Seminoles. Sophomore point guard Courtney Ward returned to the starting lineup to tie her season high in assists with seven. Junior forward Alysha Harvin contributed a season- and career-high two blocks, as well. And senior guard Mara Freshour dished out a season-high six assists.



True freshman center Cierra Bravard had started every game of her career prior to the game with UCF but because of lineup matchups versus the Knights, the Sandusky, Ohio native came off the bench in that game. Her first time coming off the sidelines in her college career saw her score eight points and grab seven rebounds – her highest total of boards in four games.



Junior guard Angel Gray has become FSU’s defensive stopper this year and has also made it a habit of grabbing lose balls and securing rebounds. That was her specialty against UCF as the Jonesboro, Ga. native achieved a new career high in rebounds with 11 boards in that victory.



After leading 35-23 at halftime against UCF and then earning the victory at game’s end, FSU is a perfect 11-0 in games this year when leading after the game’s first 20 minutes.



In the Sue Semrau era, the Seminoles are now 7-5 all-time in their first game after the Christmas holidays after defeating LSU 61-57 on Dec. 28.


Monroe Leads FSU in THREE Different Categories

Junior Jacinta Monroe currently leads the team in scoring (14.1 ppg), rebounding (7.1 rpg) and blocked shots (2.1 bpg). Monroe has shown she is capable of earning a double-double. In the loss to Florida, Monroe registered the 11th double-double of her career and third of the season with team-highs in points (18) and rebounds (10). She turned in five double-doubles as a freshman and had three last season during her sophomore campaign.



After being held scoreless in two-straight games against Washington and UConn in Cancun, Mexico at the Caribbean Classic, junior guard Angel Gray ended her scoring drought by posting four points against LSU. She followed that up with six points against UCF. Gray is currently averaging 5.6 points on the offensive end while starring on the defensive end for the Seminoles as she leads FSU with 28 total steals this year.



With the loss to No. 1-ranked UConn in the final game for both teams at the Caribbean Classic in Cancun, Mexico, FSU is now 0-8 all-time against teams that boast the nation’s top ranking. Prior to the trip to the Caribbean, the Seminoles had not faced a No. 1-ranked squad since the 2003-04 season when they fell to then top-ranked Duke, 73-60. In fact, the Seminoles have faced off against Duke on three separate occasions when the Blue Devils were ranked No. 1. The Seminoles first-ever game against a top-ranked opponent occurred during the 1983-84 season when No. 1 Texas earned an 89-43 win over FSU. Interestingly enough, FSU and UConn have played against one another in the past when the Huskies possessed a No. 1 ranking. No. 1 UConn defeated FSU 81-53 during the 2003-04 season. FSU is also now just 3-20 all-time against ranked opponents at a neutral site.



There’s no doubting that No. 1-ranked UConn is the best team in the country and one of the better women’s college basketball teams ever assembled. But credit the Seminoles with not ever giving up against the nation’s top team. After falling behind 13-0 early on in the showdown between the two programs in Cancun, Mexico, FSU came out strong after the halftime break and actually outscored the Huskies 42-40 in the game’s final 20 minutes.



The Seminoles journey to Cancun, Mexico to take part in the Caribbean Classic along with Connecticut, Northern Colorado and Washington marked the second time this season in which FSU competed in an in-season tournament. Earlier this season, the Seminoles competed in the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational on the campus of Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo. during the Thanksgiving holiday. In that tournament, FSU defeated Murray State 85-50 in the opening game but fell to Valparaiso 80-74 in the tournament’s championship contest. After going 1-1 in Colorado and then are 1-2 in Mexico after beating Northern Colorado and losing to Washington and UConn, the Seminoles are 27-12 during in-season tournaments in the Sue Semrau era (since 1997-98 season). The Seminoles have won seven in-season tournaments during Semrau’s tenure – including two during the 2004-05 season.



FSU has played in 24 games now during the week leading up to the Christmas holiday (Dec. 18 to Dec. 25) in the Sue Semrau era and are 12-13 all-time in those games after a win and two losses in Cancun, Mexico.



FSU’s journey to Cancun, Mexico to compete in the Caribbean Classic was just the third time ever that the Seminoles have traveled outside the Continental United States to play basketball during the regular season. Both of FSU’s previous trips across country lines were to San Juan Puerto Rico to compete in the San Juan Shootout during the 1994-95 and 2004-05 seasons. The Seminoles competed in three games during that in-season tournament in 1994 and lost each contest to Texas Tech, Southern Illinois and Michigan State. FSU then bounced back in a big way 10 years later when it won all three games against Fordham, Towson and UNC-Charlotte during the San Juan Shootout in 2004. FSU is now 4-6 in games played outside of the United States.



The 86 points scored against Temple was the highest offensive output by the Seminoles this season, edging past the 85 that FSU scored in the victory over Murray State. The Seminoles have scored over 80 four times this season and all of those contests resulted in FSU victories.  The 86 points is the most by FSU since the Seminoles’ 94-42 win over Alabama State on December 16, 2007.  In the 2007-08 season, FSU recorded 80 or more points in six games total and went 5-1 in those games.



The Florida State women’s basketball program defeated Penn State 73-60 as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 3. The victory over the Lady Lions was keyed by a tough FSU defense and double-digit scoring by junior forwards Jacinta Monroe (18 points) and Alysha Harvin (then season-high 14 points) as well as true freshman center Cierra Bravard (15 points).  The ACC captured its second straight ACC/Big Ten Challenge victory with a 7-4 record in the annual series.


 Best Defensive Performance of the Season

Bouncing back after a poor showing against the University of Florida, the FSU defense did its job in the win against Southeast Missouri State. The mere 31 points allowed by the Seminoles against the Redhawks was the lowest point total scored by an FSU opponent since the ‘Noles held Savannah State to just 28 points in a 107-28 romp on Nov. 23, 2003. The fewest amount of points that FSU has ever allowed in a game was 26 when the Clemson Tigers posted that many in an 80-26 loss during the 1993-94 season.


This is the Team

This year’s squad is one of FSU’s most experienced as the Seminoles return 83 percent of its scoring and 89 percent of its rebounding from a year ago. The four newcomers make up the eighth-ranked recruiting class in the country. All four incoming freshman have earned All-America honors with center Cierra Bravard ranked as the No. 7 player in the country and wing Chasity Clayton was rated 32nd in the nation.


Antionette Howard Leaves Team

Sophomore forward Antionette Howard has decided to not play basketball at FSU and has left the team.  She will finish the academic semester at Florida State.


FSU Picked to Finish Fifth in the ACC

Florida State has been picked to finish fifth this season in the very competitive Atlantic Coast Conference. The ACC Preseason Poll was selected by the newly-formed Blue Ribbon Panel, which consists of national and local media members as well as school representatives.


2008-09 ACC Preseason Poll

1. North Carolina (15 first place votes)

2. Maryland (11 first place votes)

3. Duke (14 first place votes)

4. Virginia (two first place votes)

5. Florida State

6. Georgia Tech

7. Boston College

8. NC State

9. Clemson

10. Virginia Tech

11. Miami

12. Wake Forest


Florida State Women’s Basketball Program Signs Talented 2009 Prospect

A year after signing the best recruiting class in the history of the program, the Florida State women’s basketball staff has picked up right where it left off.  FSU head coach Sue Semrau announced Tuesday the signing of 6-foot-3 forward Chelsea Davis, a talented post player from Middletown, Delaware, to a national letter of intent.


Davis has been one of the top girl’s high school basketball players in the entire northeast since she burst onto the scene two years ago.  She will enter her senior season as a three-year starter and has recorded 1,257 career points and 744 career rebounds.  She averaged 21.4 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game as a junior on her way to leading the team in points, rebounds, steals and blocks per game.


A three-time all-state honoree, including first team honors in each of the last two seasons and honorable mention honors as a freshman, Davis has earned first team all-conference honors the last three seasons and has also been named the MVP of her team three straight years. 

Davis is ranked as the 35th-best post-player prospect in the entire country, according to Hoopgurlz.

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