Nov. 24, 2001
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Led by sophomore Tasheika Morris’ game-high 25 points, the Florida State women’s basketball team improved to 3-0 with a decisive 99-66 victory over East Tennessee State (1-2) in the first round of the 5th Annual Tallahassee Demrocat Seminole Classic Saturday afternoon at the Leon County Civic Center. Morris was one of five Seminole to tally double figures in the game. Senior April Traylor had a season-high 20 while sophomore Lauren Bradley added 15 points in 16 minutes of play off of the bench. Freshman Linnea Liljestrand and junior Shinikki Whiting added 13 and 10 points, respectively. FSU will face Saint Joseph’s (3-0) in the championship game of the tournament on Sunday at 4 p.m. Akron (0-3) and East Tennessee State will square off at 2 p.m. in the consolation contest.
“There were two things that I thought were significant in this game for us,” FSU Head Coach Sue Semrau said. “When we started rebounding the basketball, that’s when we started to really pull away. I thought the second thing was our assist to turnover ratio (21-11). It was a great team effort, very unselfish, which really got us some great looks at the basket. Shooting 59 percent I think was the result of the team basketball that we played.”
Florida State came out running and never looked back. The Seminoles scored the game’s first seven points and built their first double-digit lead at 17-7 at the 13:58 mark of the first half. ETSU cut the Seminole lead to 20-13, but Morris, who scored 11 of FSU’s first 16 points, hit her second three-pointer of the half at the 12:02 mark to put the Tribe up by double-digit points for good. FSU led by as many as 19 points in the first half, before going into the locker room up 48-31. The Seminoles shot 58 percent in the first half and recorded 12 assists to their five turnovers. Rebounds were knotted at 15 apiece. Morris led all scorers with 14 points and also led FSU with four rebounds.
The Seminoles continued their hot shooting performance in the second half and continued to take care of the ball, committing a season-low 11 turnovers for the game. FSU led 67-51 at the 10:18 mark when the Seminoles ran off 12 straight points to pull ahead by 28 points with just over eight minutes to play, putting the game out of reach. Morris, who shot 77 percent from the field for the game, continued to pace the Seminoles with 11, second half points. She also led the way with a game-high eight rebounds. All 12 Seminoles saw action in the second half.
“I’m just trying to get settled and learn my role and prepare for teams to come,” Morris said.
“Tasheika can score,” Semrau said. “And so can a lot of players on this team. One of the keys on our team, beyond the defensive end, is on the offensive end, we have a very selfless group. Any one of these guys can step up and take all the shots.”
East Tennessee State hit six of its eight three pointers in the second half and shot an improved 46 percent in the final 20 minutes, but the Buccaneers committed 19 turnovers for the game and were outrebounded 37-25 by the Seminoles. Samantha Copeland and Summer Jones led the Bucs with 15 points apiece while Copeland also led the team with six rebounds.
For Traylor, who along with Whiting has scored in double figures in all three games, the team’s offensive balance has been an advantage for her. She was FSU’s leading scorer last season at 15.1 points per game. Despite averaging 17.7 points per game this season, she has yet to lead the team in scoring. She led FSU with seven assists in today’s ball game.
“It’s definitely nice to know that I can go out and try to focus on the other things than trying to do it all myself,” Traylor said. “I know that I have great teammates behind me. Honestly in the last three games, Nikki (Whiting) got MVP of the tournament in the Virgin Islands and Tasheika missed just three shot tonight. Of course, it’s a great feeling and it takes the load off of me.”