Jan. 5, 2005
The Florida State women’s basketball team will host Georgia Tech in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams Thursday, January 6 at 7 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center. With a 13-1 record, the Seminoles are off to the best start in school history while the Yellow Jackets are an impressive 9-2 thus far.
“Georgia Tech is a very athletic team,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “They have a lot of size and they’re playing really good basketball right now. They’ve only lost two games and both of those were road games. We’re looking to improve some of the things we need to do in order to match up with them Thursday night.”
The Seminoles will indeed have their work cut out for them. Georgia Tech is led by guard Stephanie Higgs who is averaging 14.5 points per game. Forward Jessica Williams is averaging 7.0 rebounds per outing. The Yellow Jackets have size and are using it on the defensive side of the ball with 5.3 blocks and 43.1 rebounds per game.
“Georgia Tech has a lot of size and a lot of athleticism,” Semrau said. “They will try to slow the game down with a half court press and that’s something we have to be ready for. That’s one thing that stopped us with Montana is that we slowed down to their tempo and we have to find a way not to do that against Georgia Tech and keep it at our tempo.”
Led by Roneeka Hodges’ 17.6 points per game which ranks second among all ACC players, the Seminoles have three averaging in double figures. Alicia Gladden is averaging 11.1 points and a team-high 7.5 rebounds while Linnea Liljestrand, FSU’s top three-point shooter, is averaging 10.1 points per game. Semrau knows she will need production from all 10 players, including LaQuinta Neely who has been sidelined with back pain, in order to be successful in ACC play.
“It would be nice to have LaQuinta Neely back,” Semrau said. “She’s possible, but not probable. She gives us depth. She gives us speed. She gives us a lot of glue on both ends of the floor. I also believe that Ganiyat Adeduntan has to continue to step up and play the way she is. And then we’ve got to get a lot of production still out of Alicia Gladden who has been tremendous for us thus far.”
Florida State has won three of its last four ACC openers with its only loss during this span to Georgia Tech in Atlanta last season. This will be the fourth time since FSU joined the league that the Seminoles will open ACC play against the Yellow Jackets. In fact, FSU’s first ACC game was played in Tallahassee against Georgia Tech. Last year, Georgia Tech took an 87-78 victory over the Tribe in the ACC opener. The game will also be just the fourth time that FSU has opened the ACC season with a home game.
Thursday’s contest will be the 31st meeting between Florida State and Georgia Tech. The Seminoles have won six out of the last 11 games with the Yellow Jackets, but Tech has won four straight and leads the series 16-14. The series dates back to the 1974-75 season. Since joining the ACC in 1991-92, FSU has recorded three sweeps over Tech – in 1997-98, 1999-00 and 2000-01 – all in the Sue Semrau era.
It's The ACC Opener! SEMINOLES (13-1) vs. Georgia Tech (9-2) January 6, 2005 The Tucker Center Tallahassee, Fla. WFLA AM 1270 seminoles.com Ryan Pensy (play-by-play), Jamie Hovda (color)
Florida State 2004-05 Record 13-1 2003-04 Final Record 15-15 Head Coach Sue Semrau/8th Season School Record 105-111 Career Record Same Starters Returning/Lost 2*/3 Conference Atlantic Coast *Neely was a starter in 2003-04 before injuring knee
Georgia Tech 2004-05 Record 9-2 2003-04 Final Record 14-15 Head Coach MaChelle Joseph/2nd Season School Record 23-17 Career Record Same Starters Returning/Lost 2/3 Conference Atlantic Coast
THE STORY LINE
GENERALLY-SPEAKING… Thursday will be the ACC opener for both teams. Florida State has won three of its last four ACC openers with its only loss during this span to Georgia Tech in Atlanta last season. This will be the fourth time since FSU joined the league that the Seminoles will open ACC play against the Yellow Jackets. In fact, FSU’s first ACC game was played in Tallahassee against Georgia Tech. Last year, Georgia Tech took an 87-78 victory over the Tribe in the ACC opener. The game will also be just the fourth time that FSU has opened the ACC season with a home game.
THE SERIES… Thursday’s contest will be the 31st meeting between Florida State and Georgia Tech. The Seminoles have won six out of the last 11 games with the Yellow Jackets, but Tech has won four straight and leads the series 16-14. The series dates back to the 1974-75 season. Since joining the ACC in 1991-92, FSU has recorded three sweeps over Tech – in 1997-98, 1999-00 and 2000-01 – all in the Sue Semrau era.
SAME GAME, NEW TEAM
What a difference a year makes! Of the 10 players who saw action in last year’s ACC opener, only three are playing for the Seminoles this year and they are Alicia Gladden, Ganiyat Adeduntan and Holly Johnson. Both Gladden and Adeduntan started last year’s opener vs. Georgia Tech.
FIRST GAME OF THE NEW YEAR
Since 1980-81 when dates were kept, FSU is 8-16 in the first game of a new calendar year. Two of those wins have occurred under Sue Semrau’s direction and one of them was a 66-65 win at Georgia Tech on January 5, 2001. The other win was a 63-61 win at Wake Forest on Jan. 2, 2003.
Both junior LaQuinta Neely and freshman Tiffiny Buckelew have been sidelined for the past three games. Neely was being rested due to back spasms while Buckelew had a virus that kept her down. Both will be available for the Georgia Tech game.
LINNEA FOR THREE!
Linnea Liljestrand, who tied her career-high with six treys in the Colgate win, has a team-high 26 three-pointers which ranks first on the team and fourth in the ACC. She has already doubled her treys from a season ago as she finished with 13 total in 2003-04. She is just two shy of tying her single season best of 28 three-pointers that she recorded her freshman season. Perhaps the added playing time is the difference. Last season, Liljestrand played a total of 109 minutes while this season, she has already played 402 minutes – third most on the team.
IN THE MIDDLE
FSU’s three true post players combined for a season-high 15 rebounds in the Colgate win. Nikki Anthony and Christie Lautsch recorded career-highs with eight and five rebounds, respectively, while Hannah Linquist added two.
TRAILING AT THE HALF
The bad news is that the Seminoles have now trailed at halftime in their last three straight games. The good news is that the Tribe has come back and won two of those games. Overall, FSU has trailed at the half in four games and is 3-1 in those outings.
It’s true when they say Home Sweet Home because the Tribe has won seven straight at the Tucker Center. FSU is outscoring its opponents, 70.6 to 53.7. Five of the seven wins have been by double digits.The last time FSU won seven straight at home was in 1990-91 when the Seminoles won their first eight home games and finished the season 13-2 at home and 25-7 overall. FSU also advanced to the NCAA tournament second round that year and hosted the first round game. FSU has won its home games by an average of 16.9 points per game.
THE LEADER OF THE PACK
Roneeka Hodges has led the team in scoring a team-high eight times, including seven straight early on. In the last four games, however, three different Noles have earned the honors. Hodges had 25 in the Charlotte win while Ganiyat Adeduntan led the way with 22 vs. Louisville and Linnea Liljestrand has been on top the past two games with 12 at Montana and 18 in the Colgate win.
GOOD GOLLY MISS HOLLY!
Holly Johnson’s team-high 56 assists is already more than she had all of last season. In fact, she is just four assists away from tying her single-season best (60) that she set in 2002-03. Even more impressive, however, is her assist to turnovers numbers. She has 15 fewer turnovers than assists this season for a 1.5 assists/turnover ratio. Overall, Johnson has been among the team leaders in assists in 11 games and has had five or more assists in six games. She has recorded a career-high eight assists in two games this season.