Dec. 2, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Fresh off a Thanksgiving Holiday trip to participate in the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational in Fort Collins, Colo., the Florida State women’s basketball team returns home to face Penn State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Tip-off is slated for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
The Seminoles (5-2) are coming off up and down performances on the campus of Colorado State University for their first of two in-season tournaments this year. FSU thoroughly beat Murray State 85-50 to start the tournament but fell to Valparaiso in the championship matchup 80-74. The Seminoles will be looking to return to their winning ways as they welcome a talented Lady Lions squad that currently has a 4-2 record this season.
In addition to being able to hear the Seminoles on the radio, fans can also watch all the action online at www.ACCSelect.com. For those fans that plan on attending the game, the Seminoles will be offering free admission to those patrons that donate one unopened toy as part of the “Toys For Tots” campaign to help underprivileged children this holiday season.
Year No. 12 Under Semrau
Head coach Sue Semrau is in her 12th season at the helm of the Seminole program. Semrau became FSU’s winningest coach in her ninth season on Feb. 19, 2006 when the Seminoles defeated Clemson 80-72 in overtime. Semrau has a 184-154 career record at FSU. She has guided the Seminoles to double-digit victories in nine straight seasons and to four straight NCAA Tournaments.
THE 2008 ACC/BIG TEN CHALLENGE
The 2008 ACC and the Big Ten Challenge, which is in the second year of a four-year agreement, will match 11 teams from each conference in head-to-head competition beginning Wednesday, December 3. The annual Challenge will ideally be held on the first Wednesday, Thursday and Friday after Thanksgiving following the men’s basketball ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Six of the Challenge’s 11 games will be televised, including four on the Big Ten Network (BTN), and two on BTN.com. The ACC won the inaugural Big Ten/ACC Challenge, 8-3, including FSU’s 85-78 win at Indiana. Since the 1999-2000 season, the two conferences have squared off in head-to-head competition on 68 occasions with the ACC holding a 38-31 advantage.
2008 Challenge Schedule
Wednesday, December 3
Michigan State at Georgia Tech, 4:15p
Penn State at Florida State, 7:00p
North Carolina at Ohio State, 8:00p
Thursday, December 4
Maryland at Purdue, 6:30p
Northwestern at Clemson, 7:00p
Boston College at Minnesota, 7:00p
Iowa at Duke, 7:00p
Virginia Tech at Wisconsin, 7:00p
Virginia at Illinois, 8:30p
Friday, December 5
NC State at Michigan, 6:30p
Indiana at Miami, 7:00p
A Look at Penn State
The Lady Lions are coming off an impressive 76-61 over Coppin State in the runner-up contest of the Timeout 4 HIV/AIDS Tournament in Malibu, Calif., this past weekend. Senior Brianne O’Rourke and sophomores Julia Trogele and Janessa Wolff all recorded double-doubles to lead the Lady Lions over the Eagles. Trogele and O’Rourke were selected to the Timeout 4 HIV/AIDS All-Tournament team for their exploits.
Scouting the Lady Lions
FSU (5-2)………………… PER GAME………………. (4-2) PSU
69.9……………………………… POINTS……………………………. 70.8
.439 ……………………………….. FG%………………………………. .432
.286………………………………. 3 FG%…………………………….. .333
.615………………………………… FT%………………………………. .617
42.0…………………………. REBOUNDS………………………… 41.5
12.6…………………………….. ASSISTS……………………………. 16.0
19.4………………………… TURNOVERS……………………….. 19.0
9.3……………………………….. STEALS………………………………. 8.8
3.4………………………………. BLOCKS…………………………….. 3.8
Florida State vs. Penn State, The Series
Penn State holds a 3-0 advantage in the series with Florida State but the two schools have not met since the 1989-90 season. On March 14, 1990, the Lady Lions defeated the Seminoles 83-73 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The game was played in Tallahassee. The two previous meetings between FSU and PSU occurred more than 20 years ago: an 86-84 loss at the Mid-American Classic in Columbia, Mo. on Dec. 10, 1982 and a 96-68 loss at the Miami Masonic Classic in Miami, Fla. on Jan. 2, 1984.
FSU vs. the Big Ten
In addition to having a losing record all time against Penn State, the Florida State women’s basketball team also has a losing record all time against teams from the Big Ten conference. In total, Florida State is 6-7 all time against the Big Ten Conference. While FSU is 0-3 against the Lady Lions, the Seminoles are also winless against Iowa State, Michigan and Michigan State. FSU is 0-1 all time against those three programs. But it hasn’t been all bad against the Big Ten as the ‘Noles boast winning records against four Big Ten schools: 3-1 against Indiana and 1-0 against Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin. The Seminoles have never played a women’s basketball game against Illinois and Northwestern.
Couldn’t Make it Eight…Yet
After going 1-1 at the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational at Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo., this past weekend, the Seminoles are 26-10 during in-season tournaments in the Sue Semrau era (since 1997-98). The ‘Noles have won seven in-season tournaments during Semrau’s tenure – including two during the 2004-05 season. FSU will have another chance when they play at the Caribbean Classic in Cancun, Mexico in late December.
Record Could Be Tied or Broken Wednesday
Despite the fact that she struggled from the field against Valparaiso in the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational, senior guard Tanae Davis-Cain still managed to climb further up the rankings for most 3-pointers in a Seminole career. The Dawson, Ga., native now finds herself on the verge of history as she is just one 3-pointer away from tying and two “treys” shy of breaking the all-time record set by former Seminole Wendy Hampton who recorded 134 career three-pointers. Senior guard Mara Freshour also has the opportunity to leave her name in the 3-pointer record books as she is now seven triples away from tying the record after hitting four while in Colorado. In addition to moving up the career list for 3-pointers, both Davis-Cain and Freshour are steadily climbing in their respective quests to reach 1,000 career-points. The updated totals are:
Career Record: Wendy Hampton 134
Tanae Davis-Cain 133
Mara Freshour 127
Tanae Davis-Cain: 899
Mara Freshour: 818
Florida State’s stunning loss to Valparaiso in the championship game of the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational in Fort Collins, Colo., could be chalked up to a variety of factors; the least of which was foul issues. The Seminoles committed 29 fouls in the game and junior forward Alysha Harvin even fouled out. Credit the Crusaders with making the most of the FSU mistakes as Valparaiso players went to the free-throw line a school-record 42 times and and made 35 of those attempts. The Seminoles made their free-throws too but they were only given 16 opportunities and cashed in on 13 of those attempts. While 29 fouls may seem like a lot, the Seminoles have had much worse problems with the foul whistle in the past. The school record for most fouls in a game was set during the 1998-99 season when FSU committed a whopping 55 against Clemson. The next highest total in school history is 36 fouls against South Florida on Jan. 8, 1982.
Florida State shot .397 from the field in the loss to Valparaiso. It marked the second lowest shooting output of the season as the Seminoles shot a dismal .324 in the loss to rival-Florida. So far this season, FSU is 0-2 when shooting below 40 percent from the field. Last season, FSU shot below 40 percent in 14 games and went 6-8 in those games. Last year’s season-low was .234 at Duke in a 70-38 loss.
Free Throw Success
On a good note, the Seminoles shot a season-best 81 percent from the free throw line in the Valparaiso loss. It’s the best outing from the charity stripe since the Seminoles’ 82 percent performance in the loss to Duke last year on March 7, 2008.
Give Me Five
Florida State had five different players score in double figures in the Murray State and Valparaiso games marking the third time this season that this feat has been accomplished (FGCU was the other). Post players Jacinta Monroe and Cierra Bravard have been among those five in all three games. Last season, FSU had five players in double figures in three games the entire season.
COORS ROCKY MOUNTAIN ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Jacinta Monroe averaged a team-high 11.5 points and was second on the team at 5.0 rebounds per game on her way to All-Tournament Team honors at the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational. Cierra Bravard and Mara Freshour each averaged 11.0 points per game in the tourney while Cayla Moore led all Seminoles on the boards with a 7.5 average.
Several Seminoles Set Season Highs
Say that five times fast! While the outcome in Colorado wasn’t what was expected, several Seminoles posted season highs during the two-game slate. In the 85-50 victory over Murray State, junior forward Alysha Harvin and sophomore guard Christian Hunnicutt both scored 11 points, which was a season high for both players. Not to be outdone, junior forward Cayla Moore had her best game of the season as she registered a season high in both points (eight) and rebounds (10). In fact, Moore’s 10 boards put her just one shy of tying the career-high 11 she has grabbed on two separate occasions during her Seminole tenure. In the loss to Valparaiso, senior guard Mara Freshour tallied a season-high 16 points while sophomore guard Courtney Ward achieved season highs in both points (12) and assists (six). Junior guard Angel Gray also tied a career and season high with 10 points of her own. She also played in a career-high 30 minutes in the loss.
Defense Does the Job
Coach Semrau has said that the success of this year’s squad will largely be determined by the play of the defense. And the numbers back that sentiment up. In looking at FSU’s two losses this season to Florida and Valparaiso, the Gators and Crusaders have combined for 152 points. In FSU’s five wins, the opposition has combined for a little less than 100 more points than that. Or more simply put: FSU is allowing 76 points per game in losses compared to just 49.8 points per game in wins.
Monroe Also Vying For A Record
Junior forward Jacinta Monroe has led the Seminoles in blocked shots over the past two seasons and has steadily climbed the ranks as one of the greatest shot blockers in program history. Monroe has 152 career blocked shots – just 57 swats shy of Brooke Wyckoff’s all-time record of 209 she set from 1997-2001.
Turnovers Still A Concern
The Seminoles have had some turnover issues through the first seven games and head coach Sue Semrau has been stressing to her squad to eliminate costly mistakes. Through seven games, FSU is committing 19.4 turnovers per contest. In the Sue Semrau era, FSU averaged 20+ turnovers per game in her first three seasons. In each of her NCAA Tournament seasons, FSU has averaged no more than 18.3 turnovers per game and that was last season.
FSU Turnovers Per Game In Semrau Era
2007-08 18.3 NCAA Tournament
2006-07 16.9 NCAA Tournament
2005-06 15.7 NCAA Tournament
2004-05 16.5 NCAA Tournament
2000-01 17.8 NCAA Tournament
FSU Gets Some Home Cookin’ on Thanksgiving
Florida State coaches, players and staff had to be away from the immediate families during the Thanksgiving Holiday as they were all in Colorado for the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational but that doesn’t mean they didn’t a chance to still be with their basketball family and get some home-cooked food on the holiday. FSU arrived in Colorado on Nov. 26 and spent the night in Denver before enjoying the Thanksgiving Holiday at the family home of graduate assistant coach Joanna Reitz. Following a delicious home-cooked meal, the `Noles boarded the team bus for the hour-long drive to Fort Collins on Thursday afternoon.
New-Look Starting Five
Through the first four games of the season, head coach Sue Semrau had utilized the same starting lineup in a 4-0 run to start the year. But after a disappointing loss to rival and underdog Florida, Semrau elected to start junior Angel Gray and sophomore Christian Hunnicutt on the wings instead of senior captains Tanae Davis-Cain and Mara Freshour against Southeast Missouri State. The Seminoles responded with their best defensive effort of the season holding the Redhawks to just 16.9-percent shooting from the field. That performance has prompted Semrau to continue to give Gray and Hunnicutt the nod for three-straight contests heading into the matchup with Penn State.
Seminoles Make History Against Redhawks
In Florida State’s game against Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 25, the Seminoles secured a 62-31 victory and in the process earned the 500th win in the history of the women’s basketball program. FSU’s current all-time record is 501-503 but the Seminoles have gone 107-59 over the last five years. Head coach Sue Semrau, who took over a program before the 1997-98 season that had gone 5-22 the year before, has nearly 200 of those wins with 184 victories to her credit. Heading into the season, Semrau has averaged 16.3 wins per season through her previous 11 years at FSU.
Best Defensive Performance of the Season
Bouncing back after a poor showing against the University of Florida, the FSU defense did its job in the win against Southeast Missouri State. The mere 31 points allowed by the Seminoles against the Redhawks was the lowest point total scored by an FSU opponent since the ‘Noles held Savannah State to just 28 points in a 107-28 romp on Nov. 23, 2003. The fewest amount of points that FSU has ever allowed in a game was 26 when the Clemson Tigers posted that many in an 80-26 loss during the 1993-94 season.
Just 16.9 Percent!
Southeast Missouri State only scored 31 points against Florida State because of defensive pressure that led to the Redhawks shooting from 16.9 percent from the field. That shooting averaging was the lowest allowed by the Seminoles since they held the University of Central Florida to just 20 percent shooting on November 28, 2000. FSU won that game 68-37.
FSU Concludes Hectic Schedule to Start Season
The Seminoles’ 2008-09 schedule not only features talented programs from throughout the country, it also has kept FSU very busy to begin the year. Starting with the home opener and ending with last weekend’s loss to Valparaiso at the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational in Fort Collins, Colo., the Seminoles played a total of seven games in a span of 14 days. FSU now gets a bit of a break as the Seminoles only have three games in the next two-and-a-half weeks but will have final exams during that span.
Monroe Leads FSU in Two Different Categories
Junior Jacinta Monroe currently leads the team in scoring (15.7 ppg) and rebounding (9.1 rpg). Monroe has shown she is capable of earning a double-double each time she steps on to the floor. In the loss to the University of Florida, Monroe registered the 11th double-double of her career and third of the season with team-highs in points (18) and rebounds (10). She turned in five double-doubles as a freshman and had three last season during her junior campaign.
Monroe had a game-high 18 points on 9-of-13 shooting in the win over Southeast Missouri State. Against Murray State and Valparaiso in Colorado, Monroe had her least-productive two-game span this season but still registered a combined 23 points and 10 rebounds in those ballgames.
Twin Towers on the Inside
The Seminoles have a big front line of post players with 6-foot-4 Jacinta Monroe and 6-foot-4 Cierra Bravard and the two have carried the team so far this year. In fact, the tall tandem is currently averaging a combined 28.7 points per game. In the Southeast Missouri State game, Monroe and Bravard combined for 31 points, which was exactly half of the Seminoles’ total offensive output. The two also combined for 10 rebounds in that blowout victory.
Gray and Hunnicutt Earn First Starts of Season
Junior Angel Gray and sophomore Christian Hunnicutt were awarded the starting nod over seniors Tanae Davis-Cain and Mara Freshour in FSU’s victory over Southeast Missouri State and it marked the first time this season that the two were penciled into the starting five. The two didn’t dissapoint either. Gray, who started four games as a sophomore a season ago, posted four points, five rebounds, one assist and two steals during her most minutes of the season. After starting in seven games as a true freshman last year, Hunnicutt’s first start as a sophomore led to a team-high 29 minutes of play against the Redhawks. Hunnicutt capitalized on this opportunity by achieving five points, career highs in assists (six) and rebounds (nine), one block and one steal.
Bravard Turning Heads in First Season
True freshman Cierra Bravard is already making a strong case to be considered one of the top freshmen in the entire country this year. So far this season, the Sandusky, Ohio, native is second on the team at 13.0 points per game, second on the team at 5.1 rebounds per game, and has started each game at the center position. She is doing all this in just 17.7 minutes per contest. On Nov. 20 against the College of Charleston, Bravard had the best game of her young career as she scored a game- and career-high 25 points on 11-of-17 shooting while grabbing a team second-best eight rebounds.
Spreading the Minutes
Florida State has some serious depth on the team this season. All 10 players are averaging double-digit minutes with senior Mara Freshour, who has come off the bench the last three games, leading the way at 28.1 minutes per game. Five Seminoles are currently averaging 20+ minutes per game this season.
Florida State follows up its school-record fourth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance with a schedule that gives the Seminoles the opportunity to play 15 teams that participated in the postseason last year, including 10 NCAA Tournament teams.
The Seminoles will play teams from 13 different conferences including the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, Big East and Pac-10.
The non-conference schedule is highlighted by home games vs. rival Florida, Penn State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and Texas A&M, fresh off last year’s Elite Eight appearance – its best in school history.
FSU plays in a tournament in Cancun, Mexico, just before Christmas where the Seminoles will face top-ranked Connecticut.
The Seminoles will face LSU for the third straight year with a meeting in Baton Rouge, La., on Dec. 28.
This is the Team
This year’s squad is one of FSU’s most experienced as the Seminoles return 83 percent of its scoring and 89 percent of its rebounding from a year ago. The four newcomers make up the eighth-ranked recruiting class in the country. All four incoming freshman have earned All-America honors with center Cierra Bravard ranked as the No. 7 player in the country and wing Chasity Clayton was rated 32nd in the nation.
Antionette Howard Leaves Team
Sophomore forward Antionette Howard has decided to not play basketball at FSU and has left the team. She will finish the academic semester at Florida State.
Back-to-Back Preseason National Rankings
After earning a preseason ranking in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches and Associated Press polls for the first time in program history last season, FSU followed up that achievement by earning another lofty preseason ranking this year. The Seminoles enter the 2008-09 season ranked No. 21 in the Associated Press and No. 24 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ preseason polls.
‘Noles Picked to Finish Fifth in the ACC
Florida State has been picked to finish fifth this season in the very competitive Atlantic Coast Conference. The ACC Preseason Poll was selected by the newly-formed Blue Ribbon Panel, which consists of national and local media members as well as school representatives.
2008-09 ACC Preseason Poll
1. North Carolina (15 first place votes)
2. Maryland (11 first place votes)
3. Duke (14 first place votes)
4. Virginia (two first place votes)
5. Florida State
6. Georgia Tech
7. Boston College
8. NC State
10. Virginia Tech
12. Wake Forest
Florida State Women’s Basketball Program Signs Talented 2009 Prospect
A year after signing the best recruiting class in the history of the program, the Florida State women’s basketball staff has picked up right where it left off. FSU head coach Sue Semrau announced Tuesday the signing of 6-foot-3 forward Chelsea Davis, a talented post player from Middletown, Delaware, to a national letter of intent.
Davis has been one of the top girl’s high school basketball players in the entire northeast since she burst onto the scene two years ago. She will enter her senior season as a three-year starter and has recorded 1,257 career points and 744 career rebounds. She averaged 21.4 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game as a junior on her way to leading the team in points, rebounds, steals and blocks per game.
A three-time all-state honoree, including first team honors in each of the last two seasons and honorable mention honors as a freshman, Davis has earned first team all-conference honors the last three seasons and has also been named the MVP of her team three straight years.
Davis is ranked as the 35th-best post-player prospect in the entire country, according to Hoopgurlz.