Oct. 27, 2003
There were a whole lot of questions for Florida State head coach Sue Semrau and the Seminoles at Women’s Basketball Media Day on Friday, October 24th. What Semrau said to the media was that after one week of practice, she can’t tell them a whole lot about her team yet. But she did tell them what she expects from her players.
“Everyone needs to understand what we expect,” Semrau said. “When a standard is set, people rise to it. Without a doubt, we want to be a team that gets after it on the defensive end, but runs in transition. We’ve got enough players to do that. I told them today, if you don’t want to run, then you can just sit next to me because we have plenty of players that can run the floor and run with a purpose.”
A player who has always played with a purpose is senior wing Tasheika Allen. Allen, formerly Tasheika Morris, not only returns for her final season with a new name after marrying longtime boyfriend Ben Allen on August 1st, but perhaps a new, expanded role on the team. She’s always been considered a dominant scorer for the Seminoles. As she explained to the media, now she wants to be more of a complete player.
“Last year, I did feel like I had to focus on shooting so much,” Allen said. “I feel like this year I can do a little of everything as far as rebounding and generating offense. This year I hope to still do that (score), but I want to be able to other things at the same time. I am working a lot on jumpers, a lot of mid-range shots, a lot of posts up things. Since I am a bigger guard out there, I feel like I can post up. You probably won’t see me shoot as many three-point shots as I used to. Coach Sue wants me to challenge myself to get a better shot.”
According to Semrau, Allen, a team captain along with teammate Lauren Bradley, has matured on and off the court and marriage definitely seems to be agreeing with her.
“She’s just so calm,” Semrau said about Allen. “She’s not so hard on herself. She’s much more settled. Everyone says that the first year of marriage is so hard, but it has been a great thing for Tasheika.”
Having the depth that Florida State has at every position this season will, without doubt, give the Seminoles a different look and different options.
“We’ll have one and two guards who will be interchangeable,” Semrau said. “Both Quint (Neely) and Shante (Williams) will be the most interchangeable. Shante comes in with an abundance of talent and it will be fun to watch her grow over the next four years. She is very comfortable at either the point or two spot. She isn’t as much of a vocal leader as she wants to be at that one spot and that’s where playing and learning from Holly (Johnson) is really going to enhance that part of her game. Those two on the court together see the floor so well and that will be an option for us that we really like.”
Semrau said she also expects these options to result into offense – a lot of it. Under Semrau’s direction, Florida State teams have always been strong defensively. Where the Seminoles have struggled at times was generating offense and having some experience at the point should make the difference.
“We had a freshman point guard last year and I think that made a lot of difference,” Semrau said. “Holly is a year older and now when she touches the ball, she can get up the court quickly. We’re going to run so that if the ball goes to the right side, there will be a one or two guard on that side that gets it and we go. If the ball goes to this side, with the one or two guard, we’re gone. We don’t have to get the ball into Holly’s hands and have her get the ball into whomever’s hands. Now I think we have the personnel. Even if someone is out a couple of games, with a turned ankle or something, our system can remain.”
Bradley and fellow senior Trinetta Moore will be the cornerstone of the post game, an area that Semrau feels is the most veteran position that Florida State will have in 2003-04. Bradley agrees.
“We have a lot of experience in the post and we are planning on going to the post a lot,” Bradley said. “It’s going to fun. I am so glad that I decided to come back and that Trinetta decided to come back and I am glad we are playing together. I think mentally is where our experience is going to make the biggest difference. Anybody can go out and play a physical game, but you have to know the game, you have to be smart. That’s half of it. I am not the quickest person in the world, but you have to be smart and know positioning, where you want the ball, know your personnel. That’s most of it.”
While after the first week of practice Semrau is still trying to see where her team is at, senior Angela Sutton likes what she sees already and she likes the role she and her fellow seniors are so willing to take on.
“I think we are looking really good after the first week of practice,” Sutton said. “This is a completely different team. We had a good team last year, but we are on a completely different level this year. I don’t think there’s a whole lot of teams that are going to have the experience that we have. As far as the seniors go, we’re not people who haven’t played. We’ve been a part of this program and we know what it is like to be out on the court and playing in this conference as opposed to not seeing a lot of minutes. So we can transfer our experiences to be able to help the freshmen to adjust and help them learn what to expect, especially in this conference. This is not high school any more, it’s a completely different ball game now. The game’s a lot faster, the players are a lot stronger. We need every single person on this team to do what they need to do to help this team go further.”
FSU fans will have an early opportunity to see how the Seminoles have progressed when the team hosts Premier Players in exhibition action on Sunday, November 2nd at 2 p.m. at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center. Not only will there be great basketball action, but Fan Day festivities will also surround the contest.