TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State women’s basketball team returns to the court after seven days in between games in observance of finals week to face Mercer at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
The Seminoles (9-2) enter Sunday’s matchup with the Bears (5-2) following an impressive 86-67 victory at Temple on Dec. 7. In that game, senior guard Tanae Davis-Cain connected on all four of her 3-point attempts to move to No. 1 all-time in the FSU record books for most 3-pointers made in a career.
Sunday’s contest will be the final home game before the Christmas holiday as FSU will travel to Cancun, Mexico next week to take part in the Caribbean Classic along with UConn, Northern Colorado and Washington.
Seminoles fans that cannot attend the game against Mercer are encouraged to watch an online broadcast of all the action at www.ACCSelect.com.
Year No. 12 Under Semrau
Head coach Sue Semrau is in her 12th season at the helm of the Seminole program. 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 186-154 career record at FSU. She has guided the Seminoles to double-digit victories in nine straight seasons and to four straight NCAA Tournaments.
A Look at Mercer
The Bears travel south from Macon, Ga., after upsetting defending Atlantic Sun Conference champion ETSU on Dec. 5 by a score of 77-61. The victory propelled the Bears to the top of the conference standings and boosted their overall record to 5-2. Junior LaToya Jackson led the way for Mercer in the victory as she posted 21 points and was a staggering 12-for-14 from the free-throw line in the win. The Mercer Bears already have more wins (5) than they did all of last season (4).
Scouting the Bears
FSU (7-2)…………… PER GAME…………… (5-2) MU
70.2……………………… POINTS……………………. 73.0
.434 ………………………. FG%……………………… .468
.291………………………. 3 FG%…………………….. .345
.630……………………….. FT%……………………… .691
42.1…………………… REBOUNDS…………………… 32.4
12.8…………………….. ASSISTS……………………. 11.9
19.9…………………… TURNOVERS………………….. 19.9
9.5……………………….. STEALS…………………….. 10.3
3.6……………………….. BLOCKS……………………… 2.1
Florida State vs. MErcer, The Series
FSU and Mercer are slated to meet for the 10th time in the history of both programs Sunday but the first time since the 2000-01 season. It is the Bears that boast the series advantage as they are 6-3 against FSU all time. In fact, Mercer is the only school in the Atlantic Sun Conference that the Seminoles have a losing record against. The Seminoles have turned things around over the past few years however. Mercer actually won the first six meetings in the series but FSU has won the last three in a row.
HOME…. AWAY.. NEUTRAL
2-2 ……. 1-2…………… 0-2
1973-74 ………… L…….. 45-64 ………… (N)
1976-77 ………… L…….. 53-96 ………… (A)
1978-79 ………… L…….. 73-83 ………… (H)
1979-80 ………… L……. 86-100 ………. (A)
…………………… L ……. 75-84 ………… (N)
1980-81 ………… L ……. 76-80 ………… (H)
1983-84………… W…….. 66-57…………. (H)
1999-00………… W…….. 74-62…………. (A)
2000-01………… W…….. 69-43 ……….. (H)
FSU vs. the ATLANTIC Sun conference
The matchup against Mercer will be the third game this year in which the Seminoles will play against an Atlantic Sun Conference foe. FSU has already played Florida Gulf Coast and North Florida this year and earned victories over both programs. Counting this two games, Sunday’s showdown with the Bears will be the 36th time an FSU women’s basketball team will face off against a squad currently in the Atlantic Sun. All together, FSU is 24-10 in the history of the program against those teams.
DAVIS-CAIN makes history
Senior guard Tanae Davis-Cain made a little bit of history in the Seminoles’ win over Temple. The Dawson, Ga., native entered that contest just one 3-pointer shy of tying Wendy Hampton’s school-record 134 career 3-pointers and two from breaking it. It only took Davis-Cain until late in the first half of the game against the Owls to hit two and officially set the record. She went on to connect on all four of her 3-point attempts to move to 137 3-pointers made in her stellar career. Senior guard Mara Freshour also has the opportunity to leave her name in the 3-pointer record books as she is third on the list in career 3-pointers made. With her one 3-pointer against Temple, Freshour now has 130 treys in her career. In addition to moving up the career list for 3-pointers, both Davis-Cain and Freshour are steadily climbing in their respective quests to reach 1,000 career-points. The updated totals are:
Career Record: Tanae Davis-Cain 137
Wendy Hampton 134
Mara Freshour 130
Tanae Davis-Cain: 921
Mara Freshour: 842
Seminoles even it out
Against Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 25, the FSU women’s basketball team earned program win No. 500. Against Temple, the Seminoles achieved another feat by evening out the all-time record of the program 503-503 all-time in FSU history. FSU head coach Sue Semrau has a lot to do with the Seminoles’ improved record through the years. When she began her tenure in time for the 1997-98 season, FSU was 32 games below .500 in the history of the program at 317-349.
HARVIN’s on a roll
Florida State junior Alysha Harvin showed against Penn State that she can bounce back from a less-than-stellar effort and then she showed against Temple that she can sustain a high level of play. Harvin entered the Dec. 3 contest against the Lady Lions after struggling in the loss to Valparaiso. In the Valparaiso game, Harvin battled with foul trouble and was held out of the scoring chart as she was 0-for-4 from the field. But against Penn State, the Dania, Fla., native played very well as she finished with what was then a season-high 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting. She was also 3-for-4 from the free-throw line. The junior then followed up that performance with arguably the best 40 minutes of basketball of her FSU career. In the win over the Owls, Harvin registered a career-high 20 points and was a perfect 9-for-9 from the free-throw line. She also nabbed a career-high nine rebounds.
PICKING UP THE SLACK
All season long FSU has been guided by a pair of players in the middle. Junior forward Jacinta Monroe and freshman center Cierra Bravard entered the game against Temple averaging a combined 29.3 points per game. But the contest in Philadelphia, Pa., against the Owls turned out to be a struggle for FSU’s pair of 6-foot-4 post-players. Together the two combined for a season-low seven points and battled foul trouble all afternoon. Their teammates rose to the challenge, however, as seniors Tanae Davis-Cain and Mara Freshour and junior Alysha Harvin combined for 56 of the team’s 86 points in the victorious effort.
SLUMP? WHAT SLUMP?
In addition to making history against Temple, senior guard Tanae Davis-Cain appeared to have bounced back from a shooting slump that had drastically cut down on her minutes played in previous games. The 5-foot-10 guard, whose mother lives in Philadelphia and was in attendance, finished the day with a season-high 20 points but perhaps more importantly for the Seminoles, she emerged from a 2-for-15 shooting slump that had plagued her over the previous two ballgames. She was 7-for-10 against Temple, including a perfect 4-for-4 from behind the arc.
FSU ENJOYS CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE
Less than 24 hours before they were to take the court against Temple, FSU players, coaches and staff all got to experience a little bit of chilly Philadelphia. After arriving in the City of Brotherly Love, the Seminoles took the team bus to world-famous Geno’s for some some classic Philly Cheesesteaks. After eating, it was on to the Philadelphia Museum of Art where the players and coaches imitated Sylvester Stallone’s character in Rocky that famously jogged up the many stairs outside the building.
OWLS LIMITED IN THE FIRST HALF
The Seminoles held Temple to just 17 first-half points Sunday in the opening 20 minutes of play that saw them dominate all aspects of the game. The Owls’ 17 points was the second-lowest output of the year allowed by FSU in the first half of play. The season-low allowed in any half this season was the 15 given up in the first half against Southeast Missouri State. FSU only allowed 16 in the second half in the win over SEMO, too.
TURNOVERS, TURNOVERS, TURNOVERS
The win over Temple was perhaps the most balanced performance by the Seminoles this season but it didn’t happen without at least one negative. Turnovers continue to be a real issue for FSU as the squad committed 18 giveaways in the win. Interestingly enough, 18 turnovers was below the Seminoles season average of 19.9 entering the game but head coach Sue Semrau undoubtedly would like for her team to handle the ball a little better as the schedule gets tougher and tougher. FSU is now committing an average of 19.7 turnovers per contest. In the Sue Semrau era, FSU averaged 20+ turnovers per game 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
2007-08 18.3 NCAA Tournament
2006-07 16.9 NCAA Tournament
2005-06 15.7 NCAA Tournament
2004-05 16.5 NCAA Tournament
2000-01 17.8 NCAA Tournament
86 IS THE SEASON-HIGH FOR POINTS
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 only three 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.
FIRST FREE-THROWS OF THE YEAR FOR WARD
It only took nine games, but sophomore point guard Courtney Ward finally got the chance to convert a couple of free throws against Temple. Ward had only been to the free-throw line four times all season and had missed each of those attempts before the Temple game. Against the Owls, she went to the line and calmly connected on both of her freebies. She is now 2-for-6 on the season from the charity stripe.
SPEAKING OF FREE THROWS
Florida State attempted a season-high 39 free throws in the Temple win and converted on 25 of them for 64 percent. The last time FSU attempted that many free throws was last season when the Seminoles went 24-for-39 for 62 percent in the win at Indiana on November 30, 2007. FSU’s best outing, percentage-wise, from the charity stripe this season was 81 percent (13-for-16) in the loss to Valparaiso. On the season, the Seminoles, as a team, are averaging 24.8 free throws per game (and making 15.7 of them) while their opponents are getting to the line 20.7 attempts per game (and making 15.3 of them).
Monroe Leads FSU in Two Different Categories
Junior Jacinta Monroe currently leads the team in scoring (14.8 ppg) and rebounding (7.6 rpg). Monroe has shown she is capable of earning a double-double each time she steps on to the floor. 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 junior campaign.
Twin Towers on the Inside
The Seminoles have a big front line of post players with 6-foot-4 Jacinta Monroe and 6-foot-4 Cierra Bravard and, not counting a tough performance by the two against Temple, the two have carried the team so far this year. In fact, the tall tandem is currently averaging a combined 26.8 points per game. In the Southeast Missouri State game, Monroe and Bravard combined for 31 points, which was exactly half of the Seminoles’ total offensive output. The two also combined for 10 rebounds in that blowout victory. Against Penn State, both players combined for 33 points of FSU’s total of 70. Both players hope to get back to those successful ways against Mercer after combining for just seven points against Temple.
FSU GETS A BREAK IN TIME FOR FINALS
After a frantic start to the season, FSU got a bit of a break after the Dec. 7 matchup with Temple. In observance of finals week at Florida State University, the women’s basketball program enter Sunday’s game against Mercer exactly one week after the Seminoles took the floor against Temple. A week between games is the longest such break FSU will get to experience this year.
REPRESENTING THE ACC
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 (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.
SEMINOLES IN THE POST ARE PERFECT FROM THE LINE
Against Penn State, FSU post-players Jacinta Monroe and Cierra Bravard caused problems for the Lady Lions all night long. But while the two 6-foot-4 standouts combined for 32 points and seven rebounds, it was their collective foul shooting that is worth noting. Together, Monroe and Bravard were a perfect 11-for-11 from the charity stripe as Monroe made all eight of her attempts and Bravard made all three of her freebies. As a team, FSU shot 73.9-percent from the free-throw line in that game.
FSU WINS THE BATTLE ON THE OFFENSIVE GLASS
The Seminoles grabbed 20 offensive rebounds against Penn State, which is their second-highest total of the season. Although FSU coaches may choose to think of the victory over the Lady Lions as the best offensive rebounding performance because FSU’s season-high 24 offensive boards came in the upset loss to Florida on Nov. 23.
“FRESH” Makes Her return
After falling to the Florida Gators, FSU head coach Sue Semrau shook up her lineup by electing to start guards Christian Hunnicutt and Angel Gray over Tanae Davis-Cain and Mara Freshour. The Seminoles consequently went on a two-game winning streak before falling to Valparaiso. Once again, Semrau elected to switch things up following a loss as Freshour returned to the starting five against Penn State as the squad’s starting point guard instead of Courtney Ward. Freshour finished the game with eight points, three assists and four rebounds while playing a team-high 32 minutes. She has now started two-straight at the point guard position after being used in that same role against Temple.
NO fast-break buckets in the second half
Seminoles head coach Sue Semrau wasn’t pleased that her players allowed 12 fast-break points late in the first half against Penn State and she let them know about it at half time. Well, the Seminoles listened and responded accordingly. In the win over the Lady Lions, FSU didn’t allow a single fast-break point in the game’s final 20 minutes of play.
Despite playing two games away from their home floor in Fort Collins, Colo., for the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational, FSU’s matchup with Temple at the Liacouras Center was just its second game in enemy territory this season. The Seminoles’ lone game in an opponent’s home gym prior to the matchup in Philadelphia, Pa., this year came against North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla. on Nov. 18. So FSU is now 2-0 on opponent’s home courts this season.
SeminoleS WORKING ON THE SHOOTING SLUMP
Florida State shot .397 from the field in the loss to Valparaiso but has shot 42 percent from the field the last two games and has held opponent’s to 38 percent shooting. The Valparaiso game marked the second lowest shooting output of the season as the Seminoles shot a dismal .324 in the loss to rival-Florida. So far this season, FSU is 0-2 when shooting below 40 percent from the field. Last season, FSU shot below 40 percent in 14 games and went 6-8 in those games. Last year’s season-low was .234 at Duke in a 70-38 loss.
Monroe continues to alter shots AND IS ON PACE TO SET RECORD
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 combined seven blocks over the past two games, Monroe now has 159 career blocked shots – just 50 swats shy of Brooke Wyckoff’s all-time record of 209 she set from 1997-2001. Monroe is averaging 2.0 blocks per game this season and if she stays on this pace will have 203 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 three games this season including a season-high five against Florida.
Couldn’t Make it Eight … Yet
After going 1-1 at the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational at Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo., the Seminoles are 26-10 during in-season tournaments in the Sue Semrau era (since 1997-98). The ‘Noles have won seven in-season tournaments during Semrau’s tenure – including two during the 2004-05 season. FSU will have another chance to make that eight tournament titles when they play at the Caribbean Classic in Cancun, Mexico in late December.
Florida State’s stunning loss to Valparaiso in the championship game of the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational in Fort Collins, Colo., could be chalked up to a variety of factors; the least of which was foul issues. The Seminoles committed 29 fouls in the game and junior forward Alysha Harvin even fouled out. Credit the Crusaders with making the most of the FSU mistakes as Valparaiso players went to the free-throw line a school-record 42 times and and made 35 of those attempts. The Seminoles made their free-throws too but they were only given 16 opportunities and cashed in on 13 of those attempts. While 29 fouls may seem like a lot, the Seminoles have had much worse problems with the foul whistle in the past. The school record for most fouls in a game was set during the 1998-99 season when FSU committed a whopping 55 against Clemson. The next highest total in school history is 36 fouls against South Florida on Jan. 8, 1982.
On a good note, the Seminoles shot a season-best 81 percent from the free throw line in the Valparaiso loss. It’s the best outing from the charity stripe since the Seminoles’ 82 percent performance in the loss to Duke last year on March 7, 2008.
Give Me Five
Florida State had five different players score in double figures in the Murray State and Valparaiso games marking the third time this season that this feat has been accomplished (FGCU was the other). Post-players Jacinta Monroe and Cierra Bravard have been among those five in all three games. Last season, FSU had five players in double figures in three games the entire season.
COORS ROCKY MOUNTAIN ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Jacinta Monroe averaged a team-high 11.5 points and was second on the team at 5.0 rebounds per game on her way to All-Tournament Team honors at the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational. Cierra Bravard and Mara Freshour each averaged 11.0 points per game in the tourney while Cayla Moore led all Seminoles on the boards with a 7.5 average.
Several Seminoles Set Season Highs
Say that five times fast! While the outcome in Colorado wasn’t what was expected, several Seminoles posted season highs during the two-game slate. In the 85-50 victory over Murray State, junior forward Alysha Harvin and sophomore guard Christian Hunnicutt both scored 11 points, which was a season high for both players at the time. Not to be outdone, junior forward Cayla Moore had her best game of the season as she registered a season high in both points (eight) and rebounds (10). In fact, Moore’s 10 boards put her just one shy of tying the career-high 11 she has grabbed on two separate occasions during her Seminole tenure. In the loss to Valparaiso, senior guard Mara Freshour tallied a season-high 16 points while sophomore guard Courtney Ward achieved season highs in both points (12) and assists (six). Junior guard Angel Gray also tied a career and season high with 10 points of her own. She also played in a career-high 30 minutes in the loss.
Defense Does the Job
Coach Semrau has said that the success of this year’s squad will largely be determined by the play of the defense. And the numbers back that sentiment up. In looking at FSU’s two losses this season to Florida and Valparaiso, the Gators and Crusaders combined for 152 points.
New-Look Starting Five
Through the first four games of the season, head coach Sue Semrau had utilized the same starting lineup in a 4-0 run to start the year. But after a disappointing loss to rival and underdog Florida, Semrau elected to start junior Angel Gray and sophomore Christian Hunnicutt on the wings instead of senior captains Tanae Davis-Cain and Mara Freshour against Southeast Missouri State. The Seminoles responded with their best defensive effort of the season holding the Redhawks to just 16.9-percent shooting from the field. That performance has prompted Semrau to continue to give Gray and Hunnicutt the nod for five-straight contests while Freshour has returned to the lineup in place of point guard Courtney Ward for two-straight games now.
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.
Just 16.9 Percent!
Southeast Missouri State only scored 31 points against Florida State because of defensive pressure that led to the Redhawks shooting from 16.9 percent from the field. That shooting averaging was the lowest allowed by the Seminoles since they held the University of Central Florida to just 20 percent shooting on November 28, 2000. FSU won that game 68-37.
Gray and Hunnicutt Earn First Starts of Season
Junior Angel Gray and sophomore Christian Hunnicutt were awarded the starting nod over seniors Tanae Davis-Cain and Mara Freshour in FSU’s victory over Southeast Missouri State and it marked the first time this season that the two were penciled into the starting five. The two didn’t disappoint either. Gray, who started four games as a sophomore a season ago, posted four points, five rebounds, one assist and two steals during her most minutes of the season. After starting in seven games as a true freshman last year, Hunnicutt’s first start as a sophomore led to a team-high 29 minutes of play against the Redhawks. Hunnicutt capitalized on this opportunity by achieving five points, career highs in assists (six) and rebounds (nine), one block and one steal.
Bravard Turning Heads in First Season
True freshman Cierra Bravard is already making a strong case to be considered one of the top freshmen in the entire country this year. So far this season, the Sandusky, Ohio, native is second on the team at 12.0 points per game, second on the team with 4.6 rebounds per game, and is one of just two players to start all nine games this year. She is doing all this in just 17.3 minutes per contest. On Nov. 20 against the College of Charleston, Bravard had the best game of her young career as she scored a game- and career-high 25 points on 11-of-17 shooting while grabbing a team second-best eight rebounds.
Spreading the Minutes
Florida State has some serious depth on the team this season. Nine of FSU’s 10 players are averaging double-digit minutes with senior Mara Freshour leading the way at 28.6 minutes per game. Six Seminoles are currently averaging at least 19 minutes or more per game this season.
Florida State follows up its school-record fourth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance with a schedule that gives the Seminoles the opportunity to play 15 teams that participated in the postseason last year, including 10 NCAA Tournament teams.
The Seminoles play teams from 13 different conferences including the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, Big East and Pac-10.
The non-conference schedule is highlighted by home games vs. rival Florida, Penn State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and Texas A&M, fresh off last year’s Elite Eight appearance – its best in school history.
FSU plays in a tournament in Cancun, Mexico, just before Christmas where the Seminoles will face top-ranked Connecticut.
The Seminoles will face LSU for the third-straight year with a meeting in Baton Rouge, La., on Dec. 28.
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.
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.
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
10. Virginia Tech
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.