October 28, 2004 - by
Seminoles Participate In ACC Women’s Basketball Media Day

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Oct. 28, 2004

The Atlantic Coast Conference helds its annual women’s basketball media day on Wednesday in Greensboro, N.C. and joining head coach Sue Semrau as Florida State representatives were senior co-captain Roneeka Hodges and junior LaQuinta Neely. The trio went through a series of interviews for the print, television and radio media. Here’s a glimpse of what they said during one interview session:

Head Coach Sue Semrau

(opening remarks)

“We’ve had a pretty difficult off-season in our program with the loss of Ronalda Pierce back in June. There are a lot of different ways that I think this team could have gone as a result of such a tragedy occurring in our program. Not only the loss of someone you love, but a teammate to all of these players. It’s been incredible to watch the strength and the character that has been built into a group of people as a result of losing someone we all loved dearly. I really believe that it’s going to make a difference for us this year. Not only on the basketball court, but as we enter into Phase Two of our program and also as we continue on with our lives outside of basketball as well. I’ve just been so impressed with the fortitude of the young people in our program and we are excited to get going.”

(on what the program calls Phase Two)

“When I got here seven years ago, we were winless in the ACC and had been a cellar dweller for quite sometime. We had to do some things to jumpstart our program. We had a lot of courageous young people that stepped into our program who were very talented but maybe didn’t have that elite level work ethic that you would hope in a contender that was year-in and year-out in the Top 20, perennial Top 10. Now we’ve been to the postseason in three of the last four years and finished in the upper middle of the conference consistently and now we’ve taken a major shift in our program to commit to a little different way of doing things.”

(on last year’s inconsistency)

“What you saw last year was the end of Phase One. You saw us lose LaQuinta Neely six games into the year and if you look at her stats, she was third on our team in assists and only played six games and the rest played 30 games. We missed the consistency that she brought us both on the offensive and defensive end. When I look at the different personalities that we’ve had in our program, great kids, great character, but there were some things that we needed to get through and I think we’ve gotten there. You’re going to see someone like Roneeka Hodges who steps into the lineup with a leadership attitude like we haven’t had in our program since Brooke Wyckoff who steps in and says you want to go, get on my back, I’ll take you. We’re not going to say we have a system and we’ve got to put people in a place now within our system. We have 10 players who have huge hearts and we are going to find a way for them to be successful in a system. So we’ve shifted our system somewhat.”

(on big wins last year and whether you use them as a spring board)

“No, we’re reminding them right now about closing out with their hands up. That’s the path and we’re into the next phase of our program. We are looking at who we are right now and where we are going to try to be the best team we can.”

(on the team’s look)

“We have a different look at both ends of the floor. I think if you ask any of my former players or staff, what is the foundation of Florida State women’s basketball? I think they’d say that we are treated as people first, students second and athletes third and you can go in our locker room and see that reflected. That’s the foundation of our program and now on top of that foundation we’re looking more at a group of people who are taking the other three things that we are instilling in them which are personal responsibility, selflessness and a championship mentality and we talk about those three things everyday. It’s just part of a growth process. Different programs are in different courses of growth. Obviously we would like to have a full element of players that are joining us in this, but we don’t. We’re not looking at it like poor Florida State, we are excited about what we have and the direction that we’re going.”

(more on the new system)

“It’s not really what we are doing as much as who we have doing it. We have 10 players who are sold out to basketball and that’s a first since I’ve been here at Florida State. There’s been some very talented players that have had distracting things in their lives and this is a little different look for our basketball program.”

(on who will play point guard)

Holly Johnson stayed in Tallahassee for the first part of the summer but then she went home with the attitude that she was going to be the starting point guard no matter who was in the line up and who she was competing with and you can really see the difference in her play. We also have Quint (Neely) back, who has played a lot of point guard for us as well. Those two more than adequately fill that role for us.”

(on dealing with tragedy)

“Unfortunately it was the second time that we’ve had to deal with something like this. On June 13th, we lost our academic advisor who was 29 years old and he was like a brother to us. So a year prior to Ronalda’s passing, we had already learned a little about the grief process and how to really head into the pain rather than run from it. Obviously when someone is 19 and it is someone you see everyday, it’s a little bit different. Our staff was very intentional in making sure we connected, all of us, not just the players, but with each other. Our players did a great job of that too. We spent a lot of time together. We forced ourselves to talk about it when it was very hard. Nike, with the help of our seniors, has put together a shoe for us that will have Ronalda’s number on the back of it. We’re really trying now to look now at celebrating who she is rather than the loss that was left and include her family too. I talk to them as much as I can.”

Roneeka Hodges

(on transferring to FSU from LSU)

“I chose Florida State obviously for the great coaching staff and I liked the direction the program was moving in. I felt it would be a good situation for me to improve as a basketball player and as a person. I just had to do something to better myself. It was nothing against LSU, I just felt I needed to put myself into a better position.”

(on the passing of teammate Ronalda Pierce)

“It’s something that we’ll never forget obviously it’s going to affect us but at the same time, we still have business to take care of. Ronalda meant a lot to us but instead of making ourselves sad, we are trying to just tribute the things we are doing to her.”

LaQuinta Neely

(on her Phase Two explanation)

“I’ll start with championship mentality. Just having the attitude every day to come in and get better and to try to make others around you better. Selflessness – asking what can I do instead of blaming others, look at yourself first. Personal accountability – that’s being responsible for your actions. If you say something, back it up with your actions.”

(on coming back from knee injury)

“I feel good. Last year, I had the opportunity to be able to watch and understand what the coaches see, so I am just going to come in, listen to the coaches and whatever they tell me, make sure I do it, just whatever they want me to do.”


1. North Carolina (20)

2. Duke (18)

3. Maryland (2)

4. Miami

5. Virginia Tech

6. Virginia

7. NC State

8. Clemson

Florida State

10. Georgia Tech

11. Wake Forest

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