Instead of getting easier with time, the 1996-97 women’s basketball season seemed to get more difficult as the year progressed. With the challenge
of adjusting to a new coaching staff and a new system, the undeniable strength of the Atlantic Coast Conference proved to be too much for the Lady Seminoles to handle as Florida State struggled
throughout the season and finished the year with a 5-22 record.
The Lady Seminoles won their season-opener with a 68-59 victory at South Florida in the Dial Soap/Florida Four Challenge and found themselves above .500 with a 5-4 record, thanks to a three-game win streak just before Christmas. The win streak, however, would turn out to be the last victories the Tribe would record the rest of the season. FSU lost its final 18 games and went winless in the ACC. But the Tribe didn’t go down
without a fight. The Lady Seminoles played several league games close, losing seven ACC games by 11 points or less, including losses to three ranked teams by an average of just eight points.
Despite the disappointing team record, there were noteworthy individual accomplishments for several players. Freshman Latavia Coleman was perhaps the most notable bright spot on the team. Coleman’s 11.5
points per game allowed her to become the first freshman to lead the team in scoring since Sue Galkantas, FSU’s all-time leading scorer, did in 1981.
Coleman’s team-leading 6.1 rebounds marked the first time a freshman led the team in that category since Chantelle Dishman did in 1990 with a 7.0 rebounds per game average. Coleman was selected to the ACC All-Freshman team and also earned ACC Rookie of the Week honors during the season.
Junior Wendy Hampton became FSU’s all-time leader in three-point field goals with 94 and also set the single-season mark with 51. The emergence of sophomore Arleshia Davidson was also a welcomed surprise.
Davidson scored in double figures in three games in the second half of the ACC season, including a career-high 14 points vs. Maryland, and elevated her numbers to averages of 9.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in the final six
games of the season. Other players also had strong performances. Jen Robinson scored a career-high 19 points vs. both Florida and Virginia while Lysa Moorefield had a season-high 23 points vs. FAMU. Latrice McLin led all FSU players with a season-high 16 points vs. South Florida and Aletha Penn led all FSU scorers with a season-high 13 points at NC State.