Oct. 11, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida State women’s basketball team will get the 2002-03 season underway with the first day of practice on Saturday, October 12th. The Seminoles will practice from 9:00 a.m. to Noon at their new, state-of-the-art FSU Basketball Training Center.
“This facility is phenomenal and our players take such pride in the fact that this is their home now,” Florida State head coach Sue Semrau said. “It’s been a great tool for us in recruiting, but more so for our current athletes. Obviously, having a place where you go straight from the training room to the court and straight from the court to the weight room, there’s just not a lot of distractions which I think is going to be key for our basketball programs that are really trying to get our focus on being the best in the ACC.”
Florida State returns nine letter winners and welcomes four newcomers to the team this season. Coming off of a 13-15 season, the Seminoles are geared up to get things started and know just what they need to work on.
“You have to look at last year’s ACC schedule when we lost five games by four points or fewer,” Semrau said. “I think we just needed a little more grit and that’s what we’ve been keying in on in the off season. We’ve got some freshmen who are going to come in and really make an impact early and we are looking forward to a great year.”
The Seminoles will seek the leadership of seniors Shinikki Whiting, Katelyn Vujas and Trinetta Moore and also have the luxury of three returning starters. Semrau has been pleased with the effort her players have shown since last season, especially over the summer.
“Amazingly enough, every player on our team, including our freshmen, were here and working hard this summer with the exception of Linnea Liljestrand who was playing for her national team in Sweden,” Semrau said. “For them all to be here and be committed to what we are trying to do has made a huge difference and we’ve taken a big step toward where we want to go.”
Although young, the Seminoles have a wealth of talent at every position. Experience will be a factor at most positions, but FSU will have the task of breaking in a new point guard this season.
“Our strength is the depth we have in most positions,” Semrau said. “Our point guard is going to be the question mark. We have a sophomore and two freshmen who are going to need to get into the college tempo, be vocal and be team leaders real early on and that’s going to dictate a lot of what we do.”
Florida State will play its first exhibition game just one month from the start of practice and the regular season gets underway on November 22nd. Alabama State and 2002 NCAA Tournament teams Florida International and Georgia State visit Tallahassee for the annual Seminole Classic. The Seminoles’ non-conference schedule features five state schools, a trip to Northern Arizona and a visit from defending national champion Connecticut.
“We’ve come a long way in this program and I think just the pride factor of being a part of Florida State basketball is starting to kick in,” Semrau said. “We’ve got a great non-conference schedule to get ready for the ACC and that will be a key element in our success.”
The Seminoles have some time before they’ll be thinking about wins and losses. Right now, they’re just thinking about the X’s and O’s and they’re ready to hit the practice floor.
“I think we’re really excited,” Semrau said. “We’ve been working so hard. It has been the hardest preseason that we’ve ever had. What they’re ready to do is step on the court and say, ‘now we are going to take it to another level; we’re going to work on our defense, on our grit, on our guts and get out there and really get after it.'”
Speaking on behalf of the team, senior Shinikki Whiting shared the same sentiment.
“I feel as if we’re ready,” Whiting said. “We’ve shown so much improvement since the summer and the beginning of the preseason. Everybody has that fire and desire inside. We’re ready to go. We’re ready to get this season rolling and get some wins under our belts and take Florida State where we need to be. We have the facilities of a well-established program and now it’s time to win some games.”
To take a look at the 2002-03 schedule and player bios, log on to www.seminoles.com and go to the women’s basketball page.