March 4, 2005
The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Friday that Florida State head coach Sue Semrau has been named the 2005 ACC Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year. Semrau, who also earned the distinction in 2001, had guided the Seminoles to a 23-6 record and a fourth-place league finish (9-5) this season. FSU was predicted to finish eighth in a media preseason poll.
Florida State’s success this season is evident by the program’s first 20-win in 13 years, however, the enormity of the team’s accomplishments goes well beyond numbers. What Semrau, who was named a Naismith National Coach of the Year candidate Thursday, and the Seminoles have faced and conquered this season makes the Florida State coach even more worthy of the honor.
“In every way I look at this as a team award and credit my staff and the players for coming alongside and heading into a difficult situation with a lot of courage and a lot of faith,” Semrau said. “I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of Florida State and our entire women’s basketball program.”
When promising sophomore Ronalda Pierce, a projected starter, died suddenly on June 8, 2004, the program was sent into a state of devastation and shock. Then, returning senior forward Genesis Choice, a projected starter, decided in August 2004 that because of early graduation in December, she would not play her senior season. More challenges were to follow when All-ACC sophomore point guard Shante Williams, a returning starter, announced in September 2004 that she would redshirt the season due to personal reasons. So, entering preseason conditioning, the 2004-05 Florida State women’s basketball team was without its top six scorers from the previous season. The roster, comprised of 10 players, featured only five who played the season before, one player coming back from a medical redshirt season and four others who had never played a single minute as a Seminole.
Despite starting five guards all season long, four of whom stand under six feet tall, and playing primarily a nine-player rotation with no permanent post presence, Florida State has had one of the program’s best seasons.
FSU began the season a perfect 12-0. It was not only the best start in program history, but the most consecutive wins an FSU women’s basketball team has ever strung together. Once the ACC season began, the Seminoles won three straight overtime games in the same week over ranked league teams. FSU broke into the national rankings in January. It was the first time FSU had been ranked in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll since December 2001 and the Seminoles earned their highest ranking ever in the poll at No. 19. When the team broke into the Associated Press rankings, it was the first time since 1990-91. In February, the team earned its 20th victory of the season. It was the first time since 1990-91 that FSU had earned 20 or more wins and just the fifth time ever in the program’s history.
The Seminoles will face Virginia (19-9, 8-6) in ACC Tournament action Saturday, March 5th at 2 p.m.