Dec. 22, 2004
San Juan Shootout Most Valuable Player Roneeka Hodges scored a game-high 25 points to lead the Florida State women’s basketball team to a hard-fought 83-72 win over UNC-Charlotte (10-1) in the championship game of the tournament. The Seminoles won the battle of the unbeatens to improve to 11-0 – the longest winning streak in the history of the program. It was FSU’s fourth game in five days and the Tribe never trailed, jumping out to a 7-0 lead and leading by double digits the final 31:17 of the game.
“This was very hard fought,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said, “especially when you consider this was our fourth game in five days. We came out and probably didn’t have the best legs and we still shot the ball extremely well which to me says our team played with a lot of focus and a lot of heart. To withstand the kind of pressure that Charlotte put on us in the second half with the kind of poise. They turn people over 26 times a game and we turned the ball over 17 times, only seven times in the second half, when the pressure was the greatest.”
The Seminoles led 42-23 at halftime but were up as many as 23 during the first half. Hodges was at double digits at the the 13:58 mark of the first half, scoring 11 of FSU’s first 15 points. Teammate Ganiyat Adeduntan also had double digits in the first half with 11 and went on to record 17 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Alicia Gladden, who for the second straight game got in early foul trouble, scored 13 second half points to finish the game with 17 points and eight rebounds. Gladden was named to the San Juan Classic All-Tournament Team. Junior point guard Holly Johnson played a team-high 35 minutes and tied her season-high with eight assists and had no turnovers.
UNC-Charlotte scored the first five points of the second half to cut the lead to 14 and pulled to within 10 six times in the final five minutes of the game but each and every time, the Seminoles responded. There were a lot of fouls called in the second half and both team finished the game making 24 free throws. The Seminoles shot 73 percent from the free throw line while the 49ers turned in an 83 percent evening from the charity stripe.
Semrau couldn’t say enough about the team and noted the strong play of Hodges.
“Roneeka was huge because she is really learning when she can step up and be the go-to player for us, when to have the mismatch and take advantage of that and when she needs to step out and take the three,” Semrau said. “She played extremely hard on the defensive end of the floor and that gets everybody going because she is such a great leader.”
The Seminoles will put their 11-0 record on hold for a few days and enjoy the Christmas holiday before reconvening Dec. 26th in Montana where they will play Louisville (Dec. 28) and either Montana or Maine (Dec. 29) in tournament action.
“(The winning streak) This couldn’t have happened to a better group of players,” Semrau said. “Again, after all that they’ve been through – the heart, the courage, I can’t say enough about them. They are the ones who are earning it. They’re the ones who are taking the risk to put themselves out there again and I’m just so happy for all of them.”