March 15, 2006
For just the second time in program history, No. 6 seeded Florida State (19-9) participates in back-to-back NCAA Tournaments with its 2006 bid and will travel to Denver, Colorado to face No. 11-seeded Louisiana Tech (26-4) in first round action. The game will be played Saturday, March 18th at 8 p.m. EST at the Pepsi Center and will be televised on ESPN2. The game can also be heard via the Internet at www.seminoles.com or locally on WFLA AM 1270.
“We don’t consider the tournament a pressure,” senior Ganiyat Adeduntan. “We just have to do the things we’ve been doing all season to win games and that’s rebounding, playing defense and doing the little things to be successful. It’s definitely a lot better this season that we won’t have to play a team on its home court.”
The last time FSU had back-to-back appearances was in 1990 and 1991. The Seminoles, who are making a program-best fourth straight postseason tournament appearance, finished fourth in the ACC – the nation’s highest ranked conference and earned 10 league wins for the first time in program history. Winners of eight of its last 10 games, FSU is balanced offensively with four Seminoles averaging between 10.8 and 12.5 points. There is no one go-to player or star but the team definitely has a different look than last year’s five-guard line up because of the post presence of 6-4 rookie Britany Miller who was named to the ACC All-Freshman team and led all scorers with a season-high 23 points in the ACC Tourney loss to NC State.
FSU’s No. 6 seeding in the 2006 NCAA Tournament matches last year’s seed which was 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. Overall, FSU is 3-5 in NCAA Tournament play.
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. No ACC team faced a WAC team this season. Overall, the Seminoles are 2-3 vs. current WAC teams. The Lady Techsters, winners of the Western Athletic Conference, are making their 25th straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
“Louisiana Tech is going to be a tough team to play,” junior Alicia Gladden said. “They’re ranked 17th nationally which says a lot about their season.”
Despite not facing each other for six seasons, there are ties between FSU and La. Tech. Louisiana Tech Assistant Coach Brooke Stoehr was a graduate assistant for FSU women’s basketball in the 2002-03 season. Tech’s Director of Basketball Operations Scott Stoehr was an assistant coach at FSU in 2002-03.
“Louisiana Tech has such a rich tradition,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said, “but we need to focus on the here and now and I know that my team will focus on that. Louisiana Tech is a good team and they’ve had a great season and it should be a really great game.”
In the NCAA RPI rankings, FSU is rated 30th while La Tech is 39th. FSU went 5-8 vs. the NCAA’s Top 50 RPI-rated teams while Louisiana Tech went 0-2. The two teams faced just one common opponent this season in Mississippi State. FSU won its game 75-59 while Louisiana Tech won 52-41. Both teams played the Bulldogs at home and both played them in December.
The Seminoles will depart Tallahassee for Denver early Thursday (March 16) afternoon and will practice upon their arrival to help adjust to the altitude.
“The altitude is going to be a factor in the sense that physiologically it will affect but it’s going to affect all of the teams,” Semrau said. “The way you handle that is what’s important. We’re going to go out and we’re going to play hard. We’re going to do what we can to prepare for the altitude but then we’re going to go out and play the ball game and not even think about it.”
The winner of the Florida State/Louisiana Tech game will play the winner of the No. 13-ranked Stanford (No. 3 seed)/Southeast Missouri State (No. 14 seed) game. FSU has never faced SEMO and is 1-0 vs. Stanford with a 73-58 win back on January 3, 1983 in a neutral site game. The second round game will be played Monday with a game time to be determined.