March 15, 2001
The Florida State Seminoles are keeping themselves busy in snowy, cold Ames, Iowa. After arriving Wednesday evening and busing from Des Moines, the Seminoles had a late dinner and a good night’s sleep. Friday’s activities included a press conference and practice, which was open to the public, at Iowa State’s Hilton Coliseum.
“We are thrilled to be here in Ames,” FSU Head Coach Sue Semrau said at Thursday’s press conference. “This is quite a basketball environment and Iowa State definitely has the ball club and facility to host this tournament.”
Iowa State, the Big 12 Tournament Champions, will host the 21-9 Howard Lady Bison following Florida State’s (18-11) match up with 22-9, Tulane at 7 p.m. (Eastern) on Friday. Friday’s winners will meet on Sunday and the game will be televised on ESPN2. Tip off is set for 2:07 p.m. (Eastern).
“I am looking forward to playing Tulane,” Semrau said. “They have great balance inside and outside. They rebound well, and are a great shot-blocking team because of their size and athletic ability.”
Tulane received an automatic bid as winners of the Conference USA Tournament and is led by 6-5 center Janell Burse. The senior averages 18.7 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. Junior guard Sarah Goree averages 10.3 points and 4.3 assists while sophomore forward Gwen Slaughter, who stands at 6-3, puts in 10.0 points per contest. The Green Wave is making its seventh straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
“Tulane is a big physical team that has a lot of experience,” Semrau said. “They are a great down-low team that is complimented by great outside shooters, but we compliment that with our size and experience.”
Although Florida State is making its first NCAA appearance since 1990-91, leading scorer Brooke Wyckoff feels that the team’s experience will be a factor in the tournament.
“We are fortunate to have a similar team to last year’s,” Wyckoff said. “We are more mature and experienced and we’re also a very close team.”
Point guard Lakesha Springle agreed.
“Beating Virginia for the first time in school history this year and beating Duke at Duke gave us a huge confidence boost,” Springle said. “We were able to weather the storms. Duke went on a 13-0 run to start the second half and we were still able to come out on top. We still look back at that and feel like if we can handle that, we can handle anything.”
Tulane Head Coach Lisa Stockton, a graduate of Wake Forest, will be facing an ACC team for the first time in her seven years at Tulane when the Green Wave faces the Seminoles.
“We’re excited to be here,” Stockton said. “This is a tremendous experience for our players. The NCAA always sends us to places with great basketball environments.
“I don’t think that Conference USA gets the individual respect it deserves and sometimes that lack of respect results in a lower seed. We have a lot of great players in our league. We’ve tried to schedule some SEC and ACC schools, but nobody will play us.”
Florida State holds a 10-7 series advantage over Tulane, including four straight wins. The two teams have not met since the 19901-91 season.