March 13, 2005
The Florida State Seminoles have got their dancing shoes on and are among the 64 Division I women’s basketball teams headed to the Big Dance. Surrounded by a contingency of their fans Sunday afternoon, the Seminoles received news of an at-large bid to the 2005 NCAA Tournament. FSU, a No. 6 seed, will face the Atlantic 10’s Richmond Spiders, a No. 11 seed, Sunday, March 20th in Storrs, Connecticut. It will be Florida State’s fifth NCAA tournament appearance and Richmond’s third.
“Just the excitement of getting the chance to get back to the tournament, it really didn’t matter to us where we went or who we played, we’re just excited to be back in the Big Dance,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “Our players, I know, will take serious the preparation that we need to put in for Richmond.
“March Madness up there is going to be fantastic,” Semrau continued. “A place like Connecticut is famous for March Madness so I think it’s going to be excited for our program to go up there and play with that kind of crowd and that kind of passion that they have for the game up there. It will be a great experience for us.”
The two teams, who enter the tournament with identical 23-7 records, are not strangers to one another. In fact, FSU and Richmond squared off in the second round of the WNIT last season and the Spiders earned an 84-77 win on their home court.
“I’m excited to be playing Richmond because we lost to them last year in the NIT so it will be kind of a chance for redemption for us to go out there and play them,” junior Ganiyat Adeduntan said.
“This year’s team is a totally different team than last year,” senior Roneeka Hodges said. “I don’t think that the way the team played last year will affect anything that comes out in this game. We just need to go in there and play the way we’ve been playing all season and we should be in a good situation.”
The Seminoles are also familiar with Connecticut. The two schools entertained a home-and-home series in 2002-03 and 2003-04 but this will be the first time that FSU will play on the Huskies’ home court as the previous meeting was played in Hartford.
“Having been there before should help us and having seen Richmond before should help us,” Semrau said. “I’m just glad we don’t have to play Richmond on their home floor this time.”
FSU’s No. 6 seeding is the highest seed the Tribe has had in the NCAA’s current 64-team format. In 2001, FSU’s last appearance in the NCAA tourney, the Seminoles were seeded No. 7. Prior to that, the last time FSU played in an NCAA tournament, the field was just 48 teams. FSU was a No. 5 seed in the Mideast in 1990-91 and hosted No. 8 seeded Appalachian State in the first round.
“We told our players that we anticipated a six seed,” Semrau said. “We thought the worse we could do was a seven and the best a five and we’re sure happy with a six seed. It’s the best that we’ve been able to do for the program in the history of the 64-team tournament. We’re making progress and we are all about the process right now and seeing what kind of damage we can do in the NCAA tournament.”
The Atlantic Coast Conference, which has been rated first nationally in the RPI rankings for the majority of the season, has the most teams participating in the NCAA tournament with seven teams. The SEC and Pac-10 ranked second with five teams each.
“This is a challenge we look forward to,” Semrau said. “Everything we’ve been able to do this year is by overcoming difficult circumstances and we’ve been a team that says, bring it on. It’s just fun to be in the tournament and Richmond’s going to be a big challenge for us.”
NCAA Tournament ticket requests will be taken at the FSU Ticket Office (850-644-1830 or 1-888-FSU-NOLE) beginning Monday, March 14th at 8:30 a.m.