Feb. 17, 2005
While the Florida State women’s basketball team prepares to battle the Wolfpack of NC State tonight at 7 p.m. (Sun Sports Network), the program is helping to battle another cause off the court. SEMINOLES SALUTE THE CAUSE on Senior Night presented by Hancock Bank will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday, February 19th at the Donald L. Tucker Center at FSU’s final regular-season game vs. Virginia Tech. For every ticket sold to the game, Florida State head coach Sue Semrau, in conjuction with Hancock Bank, will donate $1 to Friends for an Earlier Breast Detection Test. The night will be even more special when Seminoles Linnea Liljestrand and Roneeka Hodges are honored 10 minutes prior to the game during Senior Night ceremonies. Fans are asked to get to the game early to be part of the senior recognition.
“We’re saluting our seniors on Saturday night but we’re also saluting the cause of early detection for breast cancer,” Semrau said. “It just really seemed like a no-brainer for us to really go after it and salute those two great causes. One of our players, Christie Lautsch, lost her mom in May after a seven-year battle with breast cancer. Just having the opportunity to help this cause and help our seniors really go out and be honored in such a special way, would be a good thing.”
Community service has always been a priority for the Seminole women’s basketball team. “Friends” has been a partner with the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament for several years. NC State head coach Kay Yow recently had a recurrence of her breast cancer that was originally diagnosed in 1987. For Lautsch, helping to raise money for a cause very close to her heart means a lot to her.
“I’m really happy that we are doing this,” Lautsch said. “It just brings joy to my heart and I am happy and honored to be a part of it. When Florida State was recruiting me and they came to do the in-home visit, my mom made the coaches a big meal. My mom was a very loving, extend your hand to help someone else out type of person, and I think the coaches really picked up on that. They loved her for that and knew that she was a very caring and loving person. Therefore, my mom was a part of this family.
“Our team is great,” Lautsch continued. “Even for the members of the team who didn’t know my mom, they still were there and had shoulders for me to lean on. If I need someone to talk to, my teammates are here and I really am grateful for that.”
The Seminoles are really hoping to pack the stand to honor their seniors as well. FSU is having the program’s best season in nearly 15 years and seniors Hodges and Liljestrand, this year’s team captains, have been a driving force in this effort on and off the court.
“Senior night is going to be very bittersweet,” Semrau said. “It’s going to be sweet because of all they’ve done for us. They are two such different kids from different parts of the world coming together on the hardwood to really take this program to places that it hasn’t seen in a long time. It’s bitter, obviously, because we are going to miss Roneeka and her leadership and desire but she’s really passed that on. We’re going to miss Linnea for her ability to shoot the ball, her warm heart and her work ethic which she’s also been able to pass on. We’ve been a good team because they’ve helped to make us a great program.”