Nov. 16, 2005
The Florida State women’s basketball team will host Georgia Southern Friday, November 18th in the 2005-06 season-opener for both schools at 7:00 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center. FSU has won 11 straight season-openers and is 23-8 overall in the first game of the season. Friday’s game will mark the fourth straight year the Seminoles will open a season at home. Since 1980-81, when game locations began to be documented, FSU is 21-4 in home openers.
The Eagles, out of the Southern Conference, are coming off of a 16-14 season and return four starters from that squad. Georgia Southern holds a 5-3 advantage in the series with Florida State but the two teams haven’t met since January 4, 1990. The Seminoles have won the last three meetings between the two schools. Georgia Southern is one of two Southern Conference teams on FSU’s schedule this season. The Seminoles will host Western Carolina in the first round of the Seminole Classic on November 26th. FSU is 8-11 all-time vs. current Southern Conference schools. The last time FSU faced a current school from the Southern Conference was on December 2, 2000 when the Seminoles lost at Chattanooga, 72-67.
“Georgia Southern is a really nice team out of the Southern Conference,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “They’ve got four returning starters. They love to shoot the three, they love to get out in transition. That will really help us in our preparation for the University of Washington on Sunday who is very similar and has five returning starters. We’re really trying to focus in this week on our transition defense and defending that three-point shot because it’s going to be vital in our first two contests.”
The three-pointer could be a factor for the Seminoles in the first two games of the season but not necessarily from the offensive side of the ball. Both Georgia Southern and Washington, FSU first two opponents, were successful from beyond the arc in 2004-05, making 135 and 172 treys, respectively. The Huskies’ 172 three-pointers would have ranked fourth in the ACC last season. GSU’s 135 would have been better than four ACC schools last year. In 2004-05, FSU set a school record with 166 three-pointers (135 was previous record) which did rank fourth in the ACC but departed players Linnea Liljestrand and Roneeka Hodges made 96 of them – 58 percent of the team’s three-pointers. Current Seminoles Ganiyat Adeduntan (36), Holly Johnson (33) and Tiffiny Buckelew (1) made the other 70.
The Seminoles are coming off one of the program’s most successful seasons and return eight letterwinners from last year’s 24-8 team and nine letterwinners overall, including redshirt sophomore Shante Williams. With six freshmen, the most rookies in the Sue Semrau era, FSU is working on getting their rhythm and chemistry in place.
“We’re going to take each game as it comes,” Semrau said. “We have a really strong nonconference schedule and we can’t look by anyone. We’re just continuing to focus on the details of what it’s going to take to be a great team – stance, vision, communication – all of the little things rather than worrying about the big picture.
“The nice thing about what we have coming up ahead is that we have some depth in order to conquer that transition that we are talking about so much,” Semrau continued. “Once again, we are locking in on the defensive end of the floor. We feel like our offense is going to come. We’re running a lot of motion this year where people have to get familiar with one another. With so many new players, that’s going to take time so we are really counting on our defense and our rebounding to help us win basketball games.”