March 13, 2006
The Florida State Seminoles had such a good time dancing last season, they thought they’d do it again and Monday night, surrounded by a contingency of their fans, the Seminoles found out just where they’d be doing it. For the second straight season, FSU (19-9) earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and as a No. 6 seed for the second straight season, will face the 26-4 Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters, winners of the Western Athletic Conference, Saturday, March 18th in Denver, Colorado. Game time is set for 8:00 p.m. EST at the Pepsi Center and will be televised on ESPN2. It will be Florida State’s sixth NCAA Tournament appearance while it will be the 25th straight NCAA Tournament appearance for Louisiana Tech.
“I am really proud of our players because there has been a lot of hard work on their part,” Florida State head coach Sue Semrau said. “The thing I’m really excited about is we will be playing on neutral courts. It was a tough route going up to Connecticut last season. We can deal with altitude but it’s a lot more difficult to go out and play on a home court. Louisiana Tech is a great team. I know Chris Long well and he has done a great job as a first-year coach. It will be a tough one out there but it’s something we will look forward to. We know we have to go out to Denver and take care of business. We can only take it one game at a time and we won’t look past anything.”
The Seminoles have faced Louisiana Tech just twice before and are 0-2 vs. the Lady Techsters with an 86-60 road loss December 13, 1997 in Semrau’s first season and an 88-72 loss the next season on November 19, 1998 in Tallahassee. In fact, 1998 was the last time Florida State has even faced a current Western Athletic Conference team. Overall, the Seminoles are 2-3 vs. current WAC teams.
FSU’s No. 6 seeding matches last year’s, the highest seed the Tribe has had in the NCAA’s current 64-team format. In 2001, FSU’s first appearance in the NCAA tourney in 10 years, 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.
The Atlantic Coast Conference, which has been rated first nationally in the RPI rankings the entire season, tied with the Big East for the most teams participating in the NCAA tournament with seven. The Pac-10 and the SEC got six, the Big Ten five and the Mountain West and Big 12 four each.
While the entire team was thrilled with the announcement of the bid, the seniors may have felt the most satisfaction. The first class to lead FSU to seven or more ACC victories in four consecutive seasons including a record 10 wins in 2005-06, the Class of 2006 helped Florida State to three top four finishes in the ACC, and led the team to its record fourth-straight postseason appearance and second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. Before this season, the only time Florida State has made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances was 1989-90 and 1990-91. In the Class of 2006’s time together, FSU has averaged more than 18 wins per season which is the most in the Sue Semrau era and second most in Florida State history.
“Coach Sue found a mission statement that we wrote as freshmen and it was pretty cool looking back on what it said,” senior captain Holly Johnson said. “It was about committing to Florida State and making a difference during our four years here. It is cool to look back and see that we were the ones that really wanted to take Florida State to the next level and to see that what we wrote, we actually followed through with.”
Just seven current Seminoles saw action in last year’s NCAA Tournament appearance. Alicia Gladden leads those seven averaging 14.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in NCAA Tourney play while Ganiyat Adeduntan ranks second at 9.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.
“I think the main thing you have to remember when going into the post-season is to stay relaxed,” Johnson said. “All of the energy and excitement can be overwhelming but the thing I’ll try to relay to the younger players is just stay calm and focused.”
Florida State faced 10 teams participating in the 2006 NCAA Tournament this season and went 4-8 vs. those teams.
NCAA Tournament ticket information will be released Tuesday.
First Round Game Times, March 18, 2006
At Denver, Colorado (Pepsi Center, University of Colorado, host) All Times EST
#15 Pepperdine vs. #2 Oklahoma, 1 p.m.
#10 Iowa vs. #7 BYU, 3:30 p.m.
#11 Louisiana Tech vs. #6 Florida State, 8 p.m.
#14 Southeast Missouri State vs. #3 Stanford, 10:30 p.m.
Second Round Games are 7 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. EST. Which side of the bracket plays in which spot has yet to be determined.