March 17, 2005 - by
Quoting the Seminoles

March 17, 2005

The Florida State women’s basketball team will depart Tallahassee for Storrs, Connecticut Friday for the 2005 NCAA Tournament, the Seminoles’ first appearance since 2001 and fifth overall. The No. 6 seed Seminoles will face No. 11 seed Richmond on Sunday, March 20th at 9:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

When the Seminoles and the Richmond Spiders square off Sunday night, it will be the third meeting between the two schools and the second straight season the two clubs will meet in postseason play. Last year, the Spiders eliminated Florida State from the WNIT with an 84-77 win in Richmond. FSU also played in Connecticut in 2003-04. On November 25, 2003, the Seminoles played UConn in Hartford and fell 81-53 in front of 16,294 fans.

Prior to Wednesday’s practice, the Seminoles met with the local media. Here’s what was said:


On getting back to NCAA Tournament:
(FSU’s last appearance: 2001)

“It’s our goal year in and year out and we’ve gone through some steps to get here and now we plan to stay and hopefully stick around awhile.”

On “Phase Two” of program going into affect and accomplishing team goals:

“We really felt like we could accomplish our goals. Things had to come together. We had to stay healthy and we were able to do that and I think our athletic trainers and our strength coach really did a tremendous job of keeping us in good condition to be able to sustain through a long season with a really shallow team and a team that doesn’t have a lot of size.”

On week of practice and layoff from playing:

“We took Saturday and Sunday off right before the selection show and Monday we came out really, really hard and our players responded very well. We felt like we really needed to get after them. Then we gave them Tuesday off because we had some class conflicts. So now we’re back at it and we’ll be ready to ramp up and really do our preparation for Richmond.”

On playing in Storrs and playing in a tough bracket:

“Honestly, after it hits you the first time that there’s not a lot of teams who are going to play home teams on a home court, we feel like we’ve had it tough all year. So come on, bring it on. It’s a great environment for basketball. We’ve got to get after Richmond first. We’re not going to look ahead at what’s next. At that point, we’re just going to go out there and have some fun. Richmond is a tough, tough team.”

On playing Richmond again:
(FSU lost to the Spiders in the second round of the WNIT in 2004)

“We are familiar with Richmond because they have four returning starters and I think that is going to be helpful for us. For them, they will see a different basketball team. We’ll apply a lot more pressure than we did last year to them in the half court. I think it’s going to be a great game. Richmond has a great post player in Katie Flavin and they’ve got a great guard in Saona Chapman so they’re going to be tough to shut down and I think it will be a great basketball game.”

On confidence level of team:

“We’ve really tried to just not focus in so much on the game itself, but on the process and working through the different drills and the things we need to do to prepare. Their focus has been very good.”


On how her previous NCAA Tournament experience (while at LSU) may help the team:

“I think being able to share some things with them (her teammates) and answer some questions they may have will be good, but the most important thing about it is us just coming out to play. No matter if we’ve been there (NCAA Tournament) or not, it’s still a basketball game, it’s still the same. It’s a different atmosphere and a little bit more intense but I think if we come ready to play, we should be fine, even though we’ve never been there before.”

On how it feels to achieve goal of reaching the NCAA Tournament:

“I definitely think it’s exciting. It brings a lot of hope and it helps you believe. We set goals in the beginning and even though may have seemed far away, anything’s possible.”

On role as a team leader:

“I definitely think a lot of times, the girls feed off me. I think it will be very, very important for me to get out there and play my game from the beginning and not have a layoff. I think that will be good for the rest of the team to have confidence and play well.”

On having to sit out last year when team lost to Richmond:

“I wasn’t actually there because I wasn’t allowed to travel with the team, but we just have to put that behind us that we lost to Richmond and use it as kind of a motivation thing. Yes we lost to them last year, but this year’s team is totally different. I think if we go in there with the confidence we’ve had all season, we’ll be fine.”

On playing in a tough bracket:

“That’s just how it is sometimes with postseason play. Some things are just not in your control but I think it will be a great environment and a good experience for us. A lot of times, we’ve played against people that people thought we just couldn’t match up with earlier in the season and we proved them wrong, so I think anything’s possible.”

SENIOR CO-CAPTAIN Linnea Liljestrand

On excitement of playing in the NCAA Tournament:

“It’s just awesome. This is what I’ve been waiting for since I first got here. I’m just enjoying it and loving it.”

On role as a team leader:

“I think we’ve (she and fellow co-captain Roneeka Hodges) been doing it all year. I’m trying to lead the team in the right direction and do the right things and there’s not going to be any difference right now. We need to focus in even more because of the environment we are heading into.”

On team being considered a team of “fighters”:

“I don’t think we can just expect to win any games, anywhere. That’s the way it has been all season. We just have to come in and fight because now that it’s tournament time, anything can happen. We just have to pull together as a team and fighting is what we are good at. We can’t overlook any teams or anything like that.”

On significance of team motto “Believe, Enter In”:

“That’s just the whole clutch of our whole season, to believe, even though we’ve been down, we’ve been pulling through, we’ve been winning in overtime. The adversity and everything, it just stands for what our team is about.”

On Richmond match-up:

“There’s a little bit of a revenge factor, but I feel like I don’t want to stress that too much because we are a new team this year and we don’t even play close to the game we played last year. Our defense is so much better this year and that’s what we’re going to need to focus on. Obviously, we’re going to look back and really try to beat them since they beat us last year. It could add a little fuel.”

On playing in the UConn environment:
(FSU played at UConn in Hartford last season)

“I think it’s a great opportunity for us to go back there again. That environment is so awesome. All of the there and that’s what you want at tournament time. It’s exactly what you’re looking for so I think it just couldn’t be better.”

On being a No. 6 seed

“We expected to fall anywhere between a five and a seven and I think six is just great.”

JUNIOR Holly Johnson

On having played at UConn before:

“The experience of being there is going to help out a lot. Just being able to have played in front of their crowd and knowing how their crowd is. They really get into it. They synchronize claps right before the first bucket. It’s just amazing the atmosphere and the tradition they have up there.”

On having any nerves:

“I think our preparation before the game is going help us out a lot and if we prepare well, we should go in with a lot of confidence.”

On game plan for rematch with Richmond:

“Our game plan is what it has been all year. We have to just go out and play our basketball. We have to come out really aggressive on defense and pressure them a lot. They have a couple of guards who are really good and a post player who is good to so it’s just going to be a matter of going out and playing FSU ball.”

On having just played Richmond a year ago:

“It definitely helps having just played them last year because we know a little bit about them. The big thing that helps is going back out and getting some redemption since they beat us last year in the NIT so I think that’s going to be a big motivator.”

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