Oct. 10, 2001
A 19-12 record… a third-place finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference… the ACC Coach of the Year… advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The 2000-01 season, was indeed, a good year for the Florida State women’s basketball team. The task of last year’s team was to get the program to “the next level,” and the Seminole veterans did an admirable job. With a strong nucleus returning and the addition of five talented newcomers, expectations will be the same this season … “and then some.”
“There’s no question that last year’s success makes us more hungry,” FSU Head Coach Sue Semrau said. “That success was just a glimpse of what we want this program to stand for. Every player from top to bottom feels a real eagerness to make Florida State women’s basketball a program to be reckoned with.”
While the absence of starters Brooke Wyckoff (Orlando Miracle) and Levys Torres (Miami Sol) gives the Seminoles a different look, there’s still a great deal of experience on the roster, including three seniors. April Traylor headlines the group. Having been a starter throughout her career, Traylor has played an integral role in the rebuilding process of the program. She led the Seminoles last year in scoring, averaging 15.1 points per game and ranked among the Top 10 in the ACC in three statistical categories, including assists (3.8), steals (2.4) and points per game (15.1). Fellow seniors, Lakesha Springle and Petra Hofmann, point guards, are natural leaders on the court and have experience directing the team. Springle started all 31 games for the Seminoles last season and averaged 3.9 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Hofmann also played in every game and was a valuable back up to Springle in leading the offense.
“With April having started four years, Kesha being our leadership on the court last year and Petra being close behind her, our seniors have great leadership skills and all three of them will see a lot of minutes which is really important,” Semrau said.
While the seniors are certainly an important aspect to the success of this year’s team, they are certainly not alone. Several other key players also return and will be expected to help carry the load. Juniors Katelyn Vujas and Shinikki Whiting both earned valuable experience in 2000-01. Vujas started all 31 games at forward and ranked third on the team in scoring (11.0 ppg) and rebounding (6.0 rpg). Vujas was a consistent force inside and finished the season strong, averaging 14.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in the Seminoles’ run in the NCAA Tournament. Coaches expect Whiting to have a breakout season. She played in all 31 games last season and averaged 8.1 points per game. She tallied double figures in 11 games, including two games in postseason play.
Tasheika Morris, who transferred from Tennessee in 2000, will be eligible after sitting out last season per NCAA regulations. The 6-0 forward practiced with the team all of last season and knows the system and could be ready to step into the starting lineup. A healthy Lauren Bradley (6-3, center), who redshirted last season, will also vie for starting honors. She was redshirted in order to allow proper healing of chronic stress fractures in her lower legs. With rest and rehab over the past season, Bradley should be ready to pick up from a solid rookie season in which she averaged 6.6 points and 3.8 rebounds.
“Katelyn, who has started since her freshman year and has played in a lot of games, is ready to step into the role that the post players of the past have taken on,” Semrau said. “Nikki steps into her junior year with a wealth of experience on the court and great on and off the court presence for our program. Tasheika has a year of practice experience and knows the system and those types of things. While Lauren was injured, she had the opportunity to see preparation from a different side and is eager to put what she has learned into motion. There’s going to be a different kind of experience to this year’s team. It’s going to be more leadership by committee and I think that the leaders will emerge during the preseason.”
Perhaps the most heralded of all of the newcomers is 6-3 center Genesis Choice. Choice, a Street & Smith All-American, played in the WBCA High School All-America Game in April and scored 11 points for the victorious White team. Joining Choice in the 2000-01 signing class is a wealth of talent including 5-8 guard LaQuinta Neely, the Class 4A Player of the Year from Laurens, S.C., 5-10 guard Jamil Burrell, a Street & Smith honorable mention All-American from Bartow, Fla., 6-2 center Trinetta Moore, from County Cowley JC and 5-10 shooting guard Linea Liljestrand from Stockholm, Sweden.
“When I look at this team, I think of athleticism,” Semrau said. “At every position, we have great athletes and great competitors who won’t back down to anybody. I think (former Seminoles) Brooke (Wyckoff), Vanessa (Fuchs), Levys (Torres) and Lako (Brown) were great teachers of who we are at Florida State and yes, they left a void, but they left a void of educated, schooled, players who are ready to step in and now take their turn. I see our players really busting through and coming into the season just eager and anxious to be in that role and get their turn.”
Semrau and the Seminoles will be looking to capitalize on the program’s most successful season in a decade when they open the 2001-02 season vs. NCAA Tournament participant St. Mary’s at the Virgin Islands Tournament on November 18th. The 2001-02 slate includes 10 teams that made postseason appearances, including eight NCAA Tournament teams, as well as teams from the SEC and Big Ten Conference.