March 22, 2005
GAME: No. 6 Florida State (24-7) vs. No. 3 Connecticut (24-7).
REGIONAL: Kansas City, second round.
TIME: Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST.
SITE: Gampel Pavilion; Storrs, Conn.
Connecticut’s last NCAA tournament loss came in Missouri. One more victory
and the Huskies are headed back to that state.
The third-seeded Huskies seek their 20th straight NCAA tournament victory
when they face No. 6 seed Florida State in the second round of the Kansas City
Connecticut ran its NCAA tournament winning streak to 19 with a 95-47
victory over Dartmouth on Sunday. The Huskies, who won the last three national
championships, haven’t lost in the postseason since falling to Notre Dame in
the 2001 Final Four in St. Louis.
To return to Missouri with a spot in the regional semifinals, the Huskies
must beat a Florida State team that was very impressive in the first round.
Ganiyat Adeduntan had 19 points to lead five starters in double figures and
the Seminoles shot 56.3 percent from the field in an 87-54 win over No. 11
Richmond on Sunday.
Florida State lost to Connecticut in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, but
knows it has a chance to eliminate UConn if it plays the way it did Sunday. The
Seminoles turned 18 Richmond turnovers into 25 points and got plenty of easy
baskets, scoring 40 points in the paint.
“I think we just need to come out and play the same game that we played
tonight, come out with the same defensive intensity, and execute well on
offense, and I think we should be fine,” said guard Roneeka Hodges, who had 18
It is hard to do all those things against UConn, especially at this time of
year in Gampel Pavilion. The Huskies are 26-1 and have won 25 straight games in
the NCAA tournament at their campus arena.
Many Huskies making their NCAA tournament debuts helped key Sunday’s
victory. Freshmen Mel Thomas scored 13 points and fellow rookie Charde Houston
added 10. Another freshman, Ketia Swanier, contributed a team-high seven
“We’ve been there and done that before, gone to the Final Four and played
in the national championship,” junior forward Barbara Turner said. “But it’s
going to be important for (the freshmen) to establish themselves in the
Florida State will have to contend with UConn’s height advantage. Only one
of the Seminoles’ five starters – all listed as guards – is taller than
5-foot-11, while four UConn starters are 6-foot or taller.
“We’ll have to rebound the ball well,” Seminoles coach Sue Semrau said on
Florida State’s Web site. “They’re a lot bigger and longer than we are so we
are going to have to do a good job of keeping them off the boards.”
The Huskies are trying for a 12th straight appearance in the regional
semifinals. They haven’t been eliminated before the round of 16 since falling
in the first round in 1993.
PROBABLE STARTERS: Florida State – F Linnea Liljestrand (8.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg),
G Hodges (18.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg); G Holly Johnson (8.7 ppg, 3.9 apg); G Alicia
Gladden (12.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg); G Adeduntan (11.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg). Connecticut – F
Turner (10.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg), C Jessica Moore (8.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg), G Nicole Wolff
(4.2 ppg, 2.2 apg), G Ann Strother (13.0 ppg, 3.2 apg), G Ashley Valley (2.8
ppg, 1.5 rpg).
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Florida State – At-large berth, ACC; beat No. 11 Richmond
87-54, first round. Connecticut – Automatic bid, Big East tournament champion;
beat No. 14 Dartmouth 95-47, first round.
ALL-TIME TOURNAMENT RECORD: Florida State – 3-4, 5 years. Connecticut –
54-11, 17 years.