Feb. 22, 2005
When Roneeka Hodges decided to transfer to Florida State in 2003, it was clear to all that the New Orleans native would have just one year of eligibility with the Seminoles but head coach Sue Semrau knew that one year with Hodges was better than no years with Hodges. Semrau was right and that fact soon became evident to the other coaches in the ACC as well.
“Roneeka Hodges is one of the toughest match ups in the conference, because, although she’s a guard, she is probably one of the best, if not the best, post-up guards in the conference and in the country,” Duke head coach Gail Goestenkors said. “She can curl off the break and shoot the three. She’s one of those players who does a little bit of everything and does everything very well.”
“Queen” as she is called by many, practiced for a year with the Seminoles before becoming eligible for 2004-05 which gave her the opportunity to settle in with her new team.
“I think the redshirt season was good for me,” Hodges said. “Better for the mental aspect of the game, getting refocused and getting out there and having my mind set on some things I needed to do and needed to work on to be ready to play this season. I felt like I was accepted with open arms.”
With her solid work ethic, she became a leader for the team and was asked by Semrau to share team captain responsibilities with fellow senior Linnea Liljestrand.
“I kind of feel like being a captain is something that you earn,” Hodges said. “You earn the respect of the people you are around, your teammates and your coaches. It was an honor that Coach Sue chose us as team captains without going through a major process of the team voting for it. I feel like we earned it. So far, I think we’ve done a pretty good job. The most important thing is that the team is successful and I feel the leadership has helped that out a lot.”
Hodges’ leadership and contribution on the court have been simply spectacular. She has scored in double figures in 27 games and has led the team in scoring a team-high 18 times. Ten times, Hodges has scored 20 or more points in a game and she has even averaged 23.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game vs. ranked opponents. A two-time ACC Player of the Week, Hodges did what no other Seminole has done before when she set a new FSU record with 39 points in Florida State’s overtime win over then No. 15 Maryland.
“I’m just happy that we won the game,” Hodges said of her 39-point performance. “Really I wasn’t even thinking about it. I was just trying to beat Maryland and if I had to score 39 points for us to do that, I felt like that’s what I was going to do. I was just happy. I can’t even explain how I felt. We worked so hard and everybody came on and played hard. It wasn’t just what I did. The other girls on the team contributed way more. My 39 points would have meant nothing if they wouldn’t have stepped up at the end of the game and made big shots.”
While her play has been a pleasure to watch for Seminole fans this season, Hodges’ contributions have gone well beyond her 19.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. She has not only helped the program to its first 20-win season since 1990-91 this season, but she has also paved the way for future seasons by making the players around her better.
“I think the ultimate compliment you can give to a player is that she makes the players around her better and Roneeka Hodges has done that,” Clemson head coach Jim Davis said. “She’s a heck of a player. She can take you inside and post you up, come out and shoot the three and beat you off the dribble. She’s a fine, fine player and she does make the players around her better.”
“I think I have brought a different attitude to the table,” Hodges said. “I want to win and have that competitive attitude and everybody on the team, when they see me out there with that fire and see me out there competing, they want to follow right behind. The program gave me a chance to get out there and show what I could do. Coach Sue welcomed me with open arms and she put me into a good situation where I could be a leader and do some things that I needed to do in order to go where I want to go.”
While Hodges’ Florida State career has been short in terms of years, the impact she has made on the program will be long lasting. Hodges, herself, will also have fond memories of her time as a Florida
“The season has been pretty good,” she said, “but it’s not over yet. We can’t stop here. As far as what this season has meant to me, I can answer that question better when the season is over and we’ve accomplished all of our goals.”