Oct. 12, 2006
There’s a chill in the air outside and it’s getting dark outside earlier and earlier. Signs of fall perhaps, but around these parts, they’re signs of the start of basketball season. Coming off two straight NCAA Tournament appearances, the Florida State women’s basketball team will get things started Friday at 7 p.m. with the squad’s first official practice of the season.
Florida State returns eight letterwinners, including two starters, from last year’s 20-10 squad that finished fourth in the ACC and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Three highly-touted freshmen have joined the squad making seven of the team’s 12 members freshmen and sophomores. The squad may be short on experience, but certainly not short on talent or size and for nine of the 12 players on the team, they’ve been here before.
“It makes practice so much easier when you have a whole year under your belt and you know the drills that are going on and you can help people along,” sophomore Mara Freshour said. “You just feel so much more confident about what you’re doing.”
The team has been conditioning much of the fall semester and will enter practice in good shape physically.
“I thought preseason went really good,” Freshour said. “Dave (Plettl, strength coach) moved our times up and everybody was still able to make their times so we’re faster than last year’s team and we improved a lot in this area.”
Headlining the team is guard Alicia Gladden, the only senior on the squad. Gladden, a two-time member of the ACC All-Defensive Team, led FSU with 13.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Gladden, however, knows that if Florida State’s going to be successful, it’s going to have to be a team-effort.
“Even though I’m the only senior, I’m really looking forward to having Shante (Williams) and Nikki (Anthony), who are true seniors, help me with leading this team,” Gladden, the team captain, said. “I’m not the most vocal person on the team so having their support will be great. Nikki will be able to help me out with getting the team pumped up. Shante can be vocal, but she, like me, is more a leader by example.
“We looked real good in the preseason, especially the freshmen,” Gladden continued. “They really surprised me. Alysha Harvin and Angel Gray finished first and second in all of the running we’ve been doing and are very conditioned as freshmen after a long summer. As a team, I’ve seen a lot of improvement with our post play which will create a lot of mismatches this season.”
The Seminoles’ exhibition season gets underway Wednesday, November 1st vs. DT3 at the Donald L. Tucker Center.