March 23, 2017 - by

Here and Now

If they’ve learned anything, it’s to focus on the now.

Florida State’s women’s basketball team is back in the Sweet 16 for the third straight year. Playing at this stage of the NCAA Tournament is nothing new.

But, the experiences and adversity the team’s leaders have been through has taught the Seminoles (27-6) valuable lessons.

“Just staying humble, next year you aren’t promised that you’ll make the NCAA Tournament or another 20-win season,” senior Ivey Slaughter said on what she’s telling her younger teammates.

“Enjoy this moment but keep fighting.”

As the No. 3 seed Noles head to Stockton, CA for a matchup against No. 2 seed Oregon State (31-4), they insist their focus is only on the Beavers.

“We’ve talked about what we’ve learned in year’s past, what we’ve learned from this experience before,” FSU coach Sue Semrau said prior to her team’s last practice before flying out.

“We’ve put all that behind us and are just focused on the now.”

Slaughter has been a part of a squad that nearly advanced to the Final Four two years ago and had some tough luck in last season’s Sweet 16 matchup against Baylor.

The leadership she, along with fellow seniors, Brittany Brown and Leticia Romero have shown in the preparation process has helped make Semrau’s job easier this-go-around.

 

Here and Now

 

“Last year (vs. Baylor) was bittersweet,” Slaughter said. “Just going into this one we know we have to fight and overcome any adversity that we have.”

“It really helps a lot, they came up with fabulous answers when we talked about what we learned,” Semrau added on her team’s prior experience. “They can remember that and put that into practice I think that will help us.”

After losing a tough game against Miami in the ACC quarterfinals, FSU returned to Tallahassee and regrouped. The Noles responded with back-to-back dominant performances in the first two rounds of the tournament over the weekend against Western Illinois and Missouri.

“The preparation and heart they put into that preparation, that really made the change,” Semrau said. “Sometimes the season can be long and grinding. I was really proud of the way our team responded.”

“Our confidence is high because of how much confidence we have in each other,” Imani Wright added on her team’s success. “That’s a big part of our team, we gel well together.”

The Noles know they have an opportunity to make some noise going forward. The matchups favored FSU in the region they were placed on Selection Sunday and their confidence is sky-high after playing so well this weekend. That being said, the Seminoles are buying into an approach they believe will be the difference this season.

Focusing on the 40 minutes of basketball ahead of them.

“It’s something I’ve stressed and I think really got our team to believe. It’s (been) more stressed than any post season ever before,” Semrau said. Coaches talk about having a vision of where you want a go and that’s great early, but right now it’s so vital we spend every moment focusing on what’s most important.”

It’s an attitude embraced by the players.

“What she’s (Semrau) instilled in us and how much leadership we have on this team,” Wright said on the key to keeping the right mindset. “They’ve done a good job on getting us to focus on one common goal.”

For the aforementioned seniors, they’ve helped establish FSU as one of the premier programs in women’s hoops. It’s a decorated class that has tasted plenty of success and heard many praises sung. However, this year they have the pieces in places to take the program to new heights.

“We had some opportunities to go further and go to the Final Four,” Slaughter said.

“We keep in the back of our minds this is our senior season, this is our last chance to leave our mark at Florida State.”

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