Jan. 28, 2005
Jan. 28, 2005
Holly Johnson double-pumped her fist in the air after she drove the base line for a lay up in the overtime of the win over then-No. 15 Maryland and no one jumped higher in the air when the final horn sounded as the Seminoles pulled off the upset.
“The win was just great,” Johnson said. “To be able to come in and beat a Top 25 team – it was just amazing for us to be able to go out and prove that we are a good team and establish that we are one of the strong teams in the ACC.”
Johnson was pumped up and why shouldn’t she be? She and her fellow Seminoles worked very hard to get that win, and as Johnson can attest to, working hard does pay off. At the conclusion of last year’s season, Johnson made a decision that in order for her to be successful, she was going to have to make some changes. Although she played in all 30 games her sophomore season, Johnson knew she wasn’t performing at the best of her ability and she decided she wasn’t going to waste any more time. In the off-season, Johnson began a conditioning routine that would make her leaner, stronger and quicker, which is what you want in a starting point guard.
“In the off-season, I really wanted to focus in,” Johnson said. “I really wanted to make this a special year. I got a personal trainer and just worked out and did a bunch of stuff. Then coming back here, I put in a lot of time with conditioning and with the 6:30 a.m. workouts. It’s just good to see that the results are actually showing now.”
Johnson entered preseason practice in clearly the best shape of her career and was ready to once again take over the reigns as Florida State’s starting point guard. So far this season, she’s been nothing short of spectacular. Johnson is averaging 8.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and a team-high 4.2 assists per game – a mark that ranks 10th in the ACC. She has been among the team leaders is assists in 16 games, including a career-high eight assists in the Miami-Ohio and Charlotte wins, and has had five or more assists in 10 games. Against Charlotte, Johnson had a near-flawless performance with six points, eight assists and no turnovers in 35 minutes of play.
“I just love making a good pass and having the whole crowd stand up and cheer when we make the basket,” Johnson said. “That’s the most meaningful for me.”
She’s not only setting up her teammates to score, she’s also scoring herself. Johnson has scored in double figures in eight games and tied her career-high with 15 points at Clemson. She’s also recorded four or more rebounds in seven games and is third on the team with 20 three-pointers. Another area in which Johnson has been stellar is at the free throw line where she is shooting a team-high 85 percent which ranks third in the ACC.
“Free throw shooting is actually something that comes easy,” Johnson said. “As my dad says, `I’ve never missed a free throw in my life.’ You just have to go in with the attitude that you’re going to make every single one. I just go over my routine mentally in my head and that’s what helps me a lot.”
Johnson seems to be doing it all with the assists, the scoring, the rebounding, but it’s the taking care of the ball that has been the most impressive. Johnson has had more assists than turnovers in 14 games and she’s averaging a team-high 36.0 minutes per game.
“I’ve definitely come a long ways,” Johnson said. “Just learning to make the smarter pass and to know personnel and know how they like their passes. I’ve really made it a point to work at that, but I just go out there and try to do everything that I can. I think I am starting to establish myself as a point guard and being able to turn around my assist-to-turnover ratio, that’s been the biggest thing that I’ve enjoyed the most doing.”
“If you want to go somewhere with basketball, it’s not going to come easy,” Johnson said. “It’s just like in school. You have to work and you have to study to get a good grade. It’s not just going to be given to you. The same is true for basketball. You just have to keep working hard.
“It’s definitely important to me to be a complete player,” Johnson continued, “but at the same time, it’s just important to do whatever I need to do to help out the team and get the win. That’s really what it’s all about.”