Nov. 18, 2001
ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands – Led by junior Shinikki Whiting’s career-high 27 points and senior April Traylor’s first career double-double (17 points, career-high 10 rebounds), the Florida State women’s basketball team opened the 2001-02 season in fine fashion with a 78-57 win over Saint Mary’s on Sunday at the Paradise Jam Tournament. With the win, FSU is now 20-8 in season-openers overall and Head Coach Sue Semrau remains perfect with her fifth-straight win in a season-opener.
“I thought the team played awesome,” Traylor said. “We got a little complacent toward the end of the first half and then we kind of settled down. The coaches told us to play within the system and keep rebounding like we did the first half and that’s what we did. We went out there and we executed and Nik (Whiting) was hitting everything. Everybody was rebounding. If I get 10 rebounds, than you know the posts are boxing out, so I can come in and get the rebounds. I give a lot of the credit to the posts on defense and then Nik was lighting it up on the offense. It was so fun. When we play like that, it’s so fun.”
The Seminoles shot just 32 percent from the field in the first half, but went into the locker room with a 34-33 advantage. FSU had a 21-15 advantage in rebounding and the Seminole defense caused eight Saint Mary’s turnovers. Whiting and Tasheika Morris, who finished the game with 13 points, led the way in the first half with nine points apiece while Traylor contributed eight points and a team-high four rebounds in the first 20 minutes. FSU started off the game strong and went up by as many as seven points, but the Gaels’ went 4-for-5 from the three-point line to stay on pace with the Seminoles. Saint Mary’s biggest lead was three points twice within the last three minutes of the half.
It was all Florida State in the second half as the Seminoles ran off 16 unanswered points and held the Gaels without a bucket for the first 13 minutes. Saint Mary’s never got closer than 13 points from that point on in the game as FSU remained hot from the field, shooting 52 percent in the second half. Whiting exploded offensively, going 6-for-8 in the second half, including 2-for-2 from three-point land. She shot 50 percent from the field for the game, including 3-of-6 from the three-point line, was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line and had five rebounds, a team-high four assists and two steals in 30 minutes of play. During one stretch in the second half, Whiting scored nine straight points for FSU. Traylor also had a solid performance in the second half, going 3-for-5 from the field, including two treys. She also made an impact with six defensive rebounds in the second half, which led to a career-high 10 boards for the senior guard.
“At first, I started out on a high note, and then in the middle of the first half, I kind of slacked off a little bit and started missing a lot of shots,” Whiting said. “But the coaches told me to keep playing the game and get the shots inside the system and that’s what I did in the second half and it worked.”
As a team, FSU outrebounded Saint Mary’s 45-25 and the Seminole defense forced 16 turnovers. The team also connected on nine three-pointers and shot 75 percent (15-of-20) from the charity stripe. The Gaels were led by Jerkisha Dosty who had 20 points and Jermisha Dosty, who had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“Depth and just having players who can come off the bench and do for us what the players on the floor are doing makes all of the difference,” Semrau said. “I thought we had a tremendous rebounding effort today. The Dosty twins are excellent offensive rebounders and our post players did a great job keeping them off the boards, which enabled April to come in and grab a lot of defensive boards. To have April and Nikki shoot 50 percent and April with a double-double was a good sign. We did a good job of taking care of the ball. I thought Kesha and Petra being able to run both of them in really wore the St. Mary’s point guard done.
“The first half was a lot of first-game jitters and just getting settled in and more poised in the second half and holding them scoreless for the first seven minutes of the have makes me really excited about what we can do.”
FSU will play Dayton (0-1) on Tuesday, November 20, at 4 p.m.