Nov. 15, 2008
The Opening Tip – What You Need to Know:
A Look at the Eagles
Last year, Florida Gulf Coast registered the best conference record (13-3) of teams in their first year of membership in the Atlantic Sun. The Eagles’ stellar play led to an automatic bid to the 2008 Postseason WNIT. FGCU head coach Karl Smesko must make another adjustment this year too, however, as he must replace four starters and nine letter winners.
Eagles Have Already Started
Sunday’s ballgame isn’t the first of the season for Florida Gulf Coast as the Eagles defeated the University of Florida 88-86 Friday night in Ft. Myers.
Seminoles Tip Off Year No. 12 Under Semrau
Head coach Sue Semrau embark’s on her 12th year at the helm of the Seminole program Sunday when FSU hosts FGCU. Semrau became FSU’s winningest coach in her ninth season on Feb. 19, 2006 when the Seminoles defeated Clemson 80-72 in overtime. Semrau has a 179-152 career record at FSU. She has guided the Seminoles to double-digit victories in nine straight season and to four straight NCAA Tournaments.
Florida State Looks To Keep Streak Alive
Getting off on the right foot has become almost automatic for the Seminoles as they have won their last 14 season-openers, including a 93-53 win at Florida Gulf Coast last year. Overall, FSU is 26-8 on opening night since 1980-81 with its last season-opening defeat being an 86-85 loss to UT-Chattanooga on November 26, 1993. FSU is 24-4 in home-openers since the 1980-81 season. Sue Semrau-coached FSU teams are a perfect 11-0 in season-openers and 9-1 in home-openers.
Under Sue Semrau’s direction, FSU has averaged 91.6 points per game in its 11 previous season-openers and have scored 93 points in each of the last two season-openers. The Seminole defense has held opponents to 59.3 points per game in the last 11 season-openers.
Familiar Foe … Sort Of
Sunday’s showdown with FGCU will mark the second consecutive season in which FSU opens its schedule against the Eagles. Last season, the ‘Noles defeated the Eagles 93-53 on FGCU’s home court in Fort Myers, Fla., in what was the Eagles’ first Division I game.
Seminoles Own The Sunshine State
Florida State has a 164-73 record vs. teams from the state of Florida and is riding a 13-game winning streak against Sunshine State foes. The last time the Seminoles fell to an in-state foe was January 2, 2006 at Florida. After leading 30-25 at halftime, the Seminoles fell 72-62 to the Gators.
Back to Home Sweet Home
Prior to last season’s opener at Florida Gulf Coast, Florida State hadn’t played a season-opener in enemy territory since the 1998-99 season when the Seminoles defeated Tulsa in the Golden Hurricane’s home gym. During the stretch prior to last season, FSU hosted seven home-openers and the eighth was played on a neutral court against Saint Mary’s.
FSU to Face a Host of Preseason Favorites This Year
The Seminoles have a tough slate of games this season that features seven teams that are all ranked in the top 25 of the AP and USA Today/ESPN preseason polls. Leading the way is No. 1 UConn, a squad that FSU will face in the Caribbean Classic in December. Conference foes No. 6/4 North Carolina, No. 3/5 Maryland, No. 8/8 Duke, and No. 15/15 Virginia are among the nation’s Top 15 in both polls. Among FSU’s non-conference slate, the Seminoles play at No. 24/22 LSU in December and welcome No. 11/10 Texas A&M to the Donald L. Tucker Center in early January. (AP ranking is first)
Seminoles Stay Perfect in the Preseason
Florida State participated in two exhibition contests at the Donald L. Tucker Center in recent weeks and won both contests easily. First, the Seminoles handed Premier Players an 84-68 defeat on Nov. 2 and then followed that up with an 82-53 win over DT3 on Nov. 10. DT3, a team comprised of former standout women’s college basketball players, defeated the University of Florida 71-62 in an exhibition contest against the Gators on Nov. 7. (boxscores later in this release)
Seminoles Seniors on the Verge of History
Florida State‘s lone seniors, guards Mara Freshour and Tanae Davis-Cain, both have the opportunity this season to put their respective stamps in the Seminole record books. Currently, former ‘Nole Wendy Hampton holds the school record for most 3-pointers in a season with 134 but Davis-Cain and Freshour are within a shooter’s distance. Davis-Cain currently boasts 121 career triples and Freshour has 117. Davis-Cain also owns the lead in the race to 1,000 career points with 829 while Freshour has 755.
Monroe Also Approaching a Milestone
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. Monroe enters the 2008-09 season with 141 career blocked shots – just 68 swats shy of Brooke Wyckoff’s all-time record of 209 she set from 1997-2001.
FSU Earns Back-to-Back Preseason National Rankings
After earning a preseason ranking in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches and Associated Press polls for the first time in program history last season, FSU followed up that achievement by earning another lofty preseason ranking this year. The Seminoles enter the 2008-09 season ranked No. 21 in the Associated Press and No. 24 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ preseason polls.
Seminoles Welcome Four Talented Freshman
Head coach Sue Semrau and her staff have always had an eye for talent and this recruiting season was no different. FSU’s 2008 recruiting class was ranked No. 8 in the nation thanks to a group that included center Cierra Bravard, forward Kayli Keough and guards Chasity Clayton and Alexa Deluzio. Bravard started both exhibition contests for the Seminoles this year while Keough and Clayton earned minutes coming off the bench. Deluzio suffered a torn ACL in preseason practice and will redshirt this year.
Ward Has Talented Shoes to Fill
Sophomore Courtney Ward has officially been handed the keys to the Seminole offense as the Montgomery, Ala, native is FSU’s No. 1 point guard this season. Ward earned significant minutes as a true freshman last season playing behind – and sometimes alongside – redshirt senior Shante Williams, who has since graduated. Williams left FSU as the all-time career leader in assists with 451.
News and Notes
Six degrees of Sue Semrau: FGCU assistant coach Ericka Haney played at Notre Dame for assistant Carole Owens, who played for Semrau at Northern Illinois … FGCU head coach Karl Smesko is 1-2 in his career against Florida State while as an assistant at Maryland during the 1998-99 season and last year as head coach of the Eagles … Semrau has said that in addition to Alexa Deluzio, fellow true freshman Chasity Clayton likely will also take a redshirt … Junior forward Jacinta Monroe scored a career-high 29 points against Premier Players in the Seminoles’ first exhibition game … Senior guard Mara Freshour missed most of the second half of FSU’s exhibition contest against DT3 with a knee injury but practiced this week.