March 16, 2004
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State women’s basketball team (14-14) will travel to Mobile, Ala., for an 8 p.m. tilt with the South Alabama Lady Jags (22-6) on Thursday, March 17th in WNIT first round action.
“I think it is important for our players to get the opportunity to play deeper in the month of March,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “We’re excited about the chance to compete in the postseason because we really want to continue to get better as a basketball team and give our younger players an opportunity to get even more game experience which is important.”
Winners of the Sun Belt West for the second straight season, the Lady Jags are making their second straight WNIT appearance. South Alabama fell to 8th-seeded Denver 47-45 in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. The squad has been playing without leading scorer Whitney Woodard, who was lost for the season when she tore her ACL on February12th. The 6-0 freshman forward had started all 22 games and was leading the team at 14.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Since the game in which she was injured, USA had gone 5-1. While the Lady Jags, who are 12-1 at home, are scoring just 60.8 ppg, they are holding opponents to just 54.6 ppg. USA has made 182 three pointers on the season and make 6.5 three-pointers per game.
“South Alabama is a very good basketball team,” Semrau said. “They are 12-1 at home and it will be a tough place to play. They’ve beaten SEC and Big 12 teams. They are athletic and although they are small, they play tremendous defense. It is going to be a great basketball game.”
The Seminoles will be participating in the WNIT for the second straight season and third time overall. It will be the third postseason appearance for the Seminoles in the past four years. FSU advanced to the second round of the WNIT last season before falling at eventual champion Auburn. The Seminoles are one of two ACC schools (Clemson is the other) among the 32-team field. FSU has faced just two schools this season among the 32-team field and are 3-0 with a sweep of Clemson and a 65-58 win over South Florida.
The game, which will be played at the Mitchell Center Arena, will be provided as an Internet broadcast only.
2004 Women's NIT Florida State (14-14) at South Alabama (22-6) Wednesday, March 17, 2004 * 8:00 p.m. Mitchell Center Arena * Mobile, Ala. www.seminoles.com
FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES 2003-04 14-14, 7-9 ACC (5th) Head Coach Sue Semrau/7th Season School Record 91-109 Career Record/Yrs. Same
SOUTH ALABAMA JAGUARS 2003-04 Record 22-6, 11-4 Sun Belt (1st) Head Coach Rick Pietri/4th Season School Record 71-44 Career Record/Yrs. Same
LET’S NOT FORGET
Because of FSU’s solid young talent, many forget that the Seminoles lost one of their starting guards after just the sixth game of the season. Junior guard LaQuinta Neely tore her ACL in practice on Dec. 9th and was lost for the season. The Tribe has also been without Genesis Choice for the last eight games. The junior post player suffered a severe high ankle injury in practice and has been out of action since February 3rd. Choice could be ready to play at South Alabama.
The WNIT’s first-round games will be held March 17-March 20; second-round games will be played March 20-22; round three games are March 23-25; semifinals are scheduled for March 27-29; and the finals will be in the March 31-April 2 window. The postseason WNIT is a single-elimination format, with all games played at the home sites of participating schools.
FSU IN POSTSEASON
While the Seminoles will be competing in their third postseason tournament in the last four years, the program’s progress can be looked at in an even greater light. Prior to FSU’s participation in the 2001 NCAA Tournament, FSU hadn’t played in a postseason tournament since 1990-91 – a 10-year absence. So, this season will actually be FSU’s third postseason appearance in the last 14 years! In all, FSU has played in four NCAA Tournaments and now three NITs.
FSU IN THE NIT
This season will mark the third time that FSU has participated in the women’s NIT. Back in the 1982 season, the Seminoles finished as the runner-up in the National Women’s Invitational Tournament – the program’s first national tournament appearance. FSU defeated Pepperdine, 76-63, and BYU, 75-71, before falling 76-60 to champion Oregon. Back then, the tournament was called the NWIT and included just eight teams. The NWIT later went to 16 teams. The 1996 season was the last NWIT tournament and there was no tournament in 1997. In 1998, the tournament was brought back under the new name WNIT and in 1999, the field expanded to its current 32 teams.
FSU VS. TEAMS IN THE POSTSEASON
FSU has faced just two teams this season among the 2004 WNIT field. The Tribe swept Clemson and took a 65-58 win over South Florida for a 3-0 record vs. the foes. Interestingly, both Clemson and South Florida are on FSU’s side of the bracket. With wins, FSU could possibly face USF in second round action and possibly Clemson in third round action. FSU has a 2-10 record against eight teams that are participating in the 2004 NCAA Tournament.
FSU VS. SOUTH ALABAMA
Florida State has a 5-3 advantage in the series with South Alabama but the two schools have not met since November 24, 1989 when the Seminoles topped the Lady Jags 89-82 at the LSU Crawfish Classic. FSU and South Alabama have no common opponents this season. The Lady Jags will be FSU’s first Sun Belt opponent of the season. Overall, FSU is 17-13 all-time vs. current Sun Belt opponents.
vs. South Alabama 5-3 1976-77 W 87-66 1978-79 W 76-43 1980-81 L 79-82 A) W 80-67 (H) 1981-82 W 99-44 (H) 1986-87 L 58-76 (H) L 64-99 (H) 1989-90 W 89-82 (N)
ABOUT THE LADY JAGS
Winners of the Sun Belt West for the second straight season, the Lady Jags are making their second straight WNIT appearance. South Alabama fell to 8th-seeded Denver 47-45 in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. The squad has been playing without leading scorer Whitney Woodard, who was lost for the season when she tore her ACL on February12th. The 6-0 freshman forward had started all 22 games and was leading the team at 14.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Since the game in which she was injured, USA had gone 5-1. While the Lady Jags are scoring just 60.8 ppg, they are holding opponents to just 54.6 ppg. USA has made 182 three pointers on the season and make 6.5 three-pointers per game.
While the Lady Jags have made 102 more three pointers than the Seminoles, they have also attempted 301 more on the year than the Tribe!
Here’s a statistical look at how the Seminoles and the Lady Jags match up:
FSU PER GAME USA 70.1 points 60.8 .439 fg % .365 .284 3-pt fg % .312 .652 ft % .675 38.3 rebounds 38.7 13.4 assists 11.5 17.2 turnovers 15.3 9.0 steals 7.9 3.0 blocks 3.7
NO PLAY LONG TIME
Neither the Seminoles nor the Lady Jags have played since falling in their first game of their respective conferences on March 6th. The 11-day layoff will be the longest of the season for both clubs.