Feb. 14, 2005
By Josh Weber, FSU Sports Information
Linnea Liljestrand has come a long way in her four years at Florida State. The Stockholm, Sweden native has utilized her hard work ethic in her senior year and has thus been rewarded with the title of co-captain. When Liljestrand was a freshman, she came all the way from Europe to play basketball for the Seminoles and had to adjust quickly to her new surroundings.
“A few of the things that I think I adjusted to really quickly were coming in and practicing hard,” Liljestrand said. “I have always been a real hard worker, so it did not bother me that preseason was tough. I think, in general, not knowing people on campus, and the language barrier, have been harder but sports-wise, I think it is the same everywhere you go.”
The senior co-captain is having the best year of her Seminole career, and in the process, has helped to lead the Seminoles to one of the most successful seasons in the school’s history. Liljestrand has stepped up big this season and has doubled almost all of her per-game averages from a year ago. Her play has helped Florida State to its first national ranking since 2001 and the Seminoles have earned 21 victories so far this season – FSU’s first 20-win season since 1990-91.
“There are many reasons for our success so far but the number one reason is our chemistry and our willingness to put ourselves out there and give it our all,” Liljestrand said. “I think we are playing great defense and all of the adversity we have been through has help make us tough.”
Liljestrand has been on a tear this season, scoring in double figures in nine games, including 10 points in the Seminoles’ huge win over No. 6 North Carolina. She has led the team in scoring on three different occasions this season, including a season-high 20 points against in-state rival Florida in FSU’s first win over the Gators in several years. Though Liljestrand has had many memorable games in her career, she does not consider one particular game to be her greatest achievement at Florida State.
“The greatest achievement for me has been to be here for four years and giving it my all through the four years,” Liljestrand said. “The fact that I have given it my all through the tough times has been my greatest achievement.”
Liljestrand is first on the team and ranks fifth in the ACC with 46 three-pointers made so far this season. She has also made at least one three-pointer in 23 games and tied her career high with six treys against Colgate. Liljestrand is definitely a threat from behind the three-point line but there is much more to her game than scoring.
“I think in general this year, I have been focusing on doing a lot of the little things right; playing defense and being in the right position at the right time,” Liljestrand said.
Liljestrand has developed into a strong leader in her four years at Florida State and, looking back, has learned a lot from her experience. Most importantly, she has learned to be a more patient player and that the game is not just about one player or herself.
“It is more about doing what we are supposed to do as a team, reaching common goals and working hard as a team,” she said.
Liljestrand is looking forward to the rest of the season and has high hopes for the Seminoles.
“I definitely want to go to the NCAA tournament, but not only that,” she said. “I want the team to do well and not to just get in to the tournament by just a hair. Once we are in, I want the team to do well and make an impact.”
Liljestrand, who will graduate this spring with a degree in marketing, plans on continuing her basketball career in Europe. Once she gets tired of basketball, she hopes to use her marketing degree in the business world. Liljestrand is excited about the future, but knows there will be many things that she will miss about playing for the Seminoles.
“I am going to miss the team,” Liljestrand said. “I think we have a great chemistry. I am also going to miss the whole college environment and the college sport environment as well.”
Liljestrand began playing basketball when she was 10-years-old and although she loves the sport that has been such a big part of he life, she has many other interests as well.
“I love movies,” she said. “And I definitely enjoy spending a lot of time with my friends when I’m not playing. I like the Kill Bill movies, the second one was definitely awesome.”
Liljestrand will look to continue her success on the court for the Seminoles and will use what she has learned, as a member of the Florida State program, to help make her successful in the future.