Both Semrau and Mulkey said they believe their teams are playing as well as they have all year.
In FSU’s case, it’s hard to argue.
After a thud against Miami in the ACC tournament quarterfinals earlier this month, Semrau went back to the drawing board and redefined some roles across her roster.
With two weeks between games, those roles took hold and, when the Seminoles took the floor for their first-round NCAA game against Middle Tennessee State, they looked like a revitalized team.
FSU cruised to a 72-55 win over Middle Tennessee, then, even better, made it look easy in a 74-56 victory over host Texas A&M in the second round.
“Everybody talks about wanting to peak at this point in the year,” Semrau said. “Trying to make it happen? That’s another story.
“But I’m certainly very excited as a coach that my team is playing the way they are right now.”
It doesn’t hurt that FSU beat Texas A&M in a de facto road game, because the Seminoles are in for more of the same on Saturday.
Baylor’s campus in Waco, Texas, is just 90 miles from Dallas. The Lady Bears averaged more than 6,000 fans per game this year and are expecting a big crowd to make the drive up Interstate 35.
FSU is no stranger to difficult settings. The Seminoles played in front of more than 9,000 fans earlier this season at Louisville, and more than 8,000 in a neutral-site game against Connecticut.
And in last season’s Elite Eight, FSU held on against 6,000 South Carolina supporters before falling to the Gamecocks in the waning minutes.
So the Bears may be tough, but the Seminoles are confident they won’t be overwhelmed by the moment.
“We’re used to it,” junior guard Brittany Brown said. “…We’ve been used to the atmosphere. I think we’re going to be pretty prepared.”
FSU also likes the way it matches up with the Lady Bears. Semrau said she expects a fast-paced game, which could favor FSU’s athletic frontcourt.
What the Seminoles give up in size – Baylor boasts five players 6-foot-3 or taller, and freshman Kalani Brown stands 6-7 – they expect to make up for in quickness.
And if the Lady Bears want to get physical?
“Sounds like a problem for them if they want to throw 15 fouls at us,” Bulgak said. “We’re going to take that to our advantage.”