Nov. 20, 2001
ST. THOMAS, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – The Florida State women’s basketball team improved to 2-0 with a 63-60 win over the Dayton Flyers in the championship game of the Paradise Jam Tournament on Tuesday afternoon. With a team-high 18 points and nine rebounds, junior Shinikki Whiting once again led the Seminoles and earned tournament Most Valuable Player honors. Senior April Traylor, who also scored in double-figures (14) for the second straight game, was named to the all-tournament team. The Flyers fell to 0-3 on the year.
“I am very pleased to win two games on a neutral floor early in the season,” FSU Head Coach Sue Semrau said. “I think we learned a lot about ourselves and came closer together as a unit. You’ve got to give credit to Dayton. I thought they scrapped and hustled very hard and hit a high percentage of their free throws, which was maybe the difference in the game.”
The hard-fought game saw nine lead changes and seven ties. Florida State had a sluggish start and fell behind by six points early, but the Seminole defense forced nine Dayton turnovers in the first half, leading to nine FSU points. FSU was called for 11 first half fouls and the Flyers went a perfect 11-for-11 from the free throw line, but the Seminoles took a 36-35 lead into the locker room. The Tribe shot 47 percent from the field in the first half, went 3-for-4 from the free throw line and had a 17-16 advantage on the boards.
FSU held Dayton to 30 percent shooting from the field in the second half, but the Flyers attempted 12 more free throws and went 18-for-23 from the charity stripe for the game. Florida State attempted just 10 free throws in the game, but solid defense kept the Seminoles on pace. Sophomore center Lauren Bradley set a tournament record with three of FSU’s eight blocks, another tournament record. The Seminoles also recorded eight steals in the game. The game was played close for most of the final 20 minutes as both Whiting and Traylor were forced to sit with foul trouble. The game was tied at 54 apiece with just over four minutes to play when the Seminoles took the lead for good on a three-pointer by Traylor, who scored seven of FSU’s final nine points.
“A win’s a win and were excited about that,” Semrau said. “Maybe the day off in between contributed to a slow start, but credit the poise of our team at the end of the game to hang on and get a win.”
FSU sophomore Tasheika Morris contributed eight points, all in the second half, and had a team-high four assists, while junior newcomer Trinetta Moore grabbed eight rebounds off the bench. Whiting averaged 22.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and shot 88 percent from the free throw line for the tournament.
“Nikki Whiting had a tremendous tournament,” Semrau said. “She was very focused and just shot the ball extremely well and rebounded well. And April (Traylor), Kesha (Springle) and Petra (Hofmann) gave us the kind of leadership that we need.
The Seminoles will return to Tallahassee late Wednesday. FSU will host East Tennessee State, Akron and St. Joseph’s in the 5th annual Tallahassee Democrat Seminole Classic this weekend. FSU faces East Tennessee State on Saturday, November 23 at 4 p.m., following the Akron-St. Joseph’s contest at 2 p.m. The consolation and championship games will be played Sunday, November 24, at 2 and 4 p.m., respectively.