Nov. 18, 2001
ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands – Never mind the beautiful weather and tropical scenery, the Florida State women’s basketball team is in the Virgin Islands for basketball and the Seminoles are focused and ready to get the 2001-02 season underway. FSU will tip off the 2001-02 season today with a 4 p.m. tilt with Saint Mary’s College, of the West Coast Conference, at the Paradise Jam Tournament. The Seminoles arrived in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Friday afternoon and have conducted two practices in preparation for Sunday’s contest.
“I’m so looking forward to just starting the season,” FSU Head Coach Sue Semrau said. “Yes, it’s great that we have the opportunity to experience another culture and to see another beautiful part of the world, but I’m really confident that our minds are set on this basketball game and the tournament setting that we’re in. I have been impressed with our maturity in that we’ve been able to have fun and relax, yet when we’re in the gym, we’re working hard and very focused. It’s great timing for the season to be starting right now.”
Florida State and St. Mary’s have some things in common heading into the game. It will be the season-opener for both schools and both teams are coming off successful seasons in which they advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Seminoles went 19-12 in 2000-01 and defeated Tulane, 72-70, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before falling, 85-70, to Iowa State in the second round. FSU returns three starters from last year’s squad, including top scorer senior guard April Traylor (15.1 ppg) but will be without the services of junior post Katelyn Vujas, who is suffering from a stress fracture in her left foot. Freshman Genesis Choice is also sidelined with a sprained left ankle.
Saint Mary’s College, which is located in Moraga, Calif., went 26-6 last season and defeated Texas, 68-64, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Gaels fell to Tennessee, 92-75, in the second round. SMU returns four starters from last year’s squad and is led by senior twins Jermisa (12.9 ppg, 10.4 rpg) and Jerkisha (14.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg) Dosty. Saint Mary’s has enjoyed four consecutive 20-win seasons.
“The coaches have done a lot to help us prepare for this game,” Traylor said. “We know how important it is for us to win our non-conference games early on. I think we’ll be ready. We’re definitely working harder this preseason than we ever have.
“Saint Mary’s is definitely a good team. We watched them on film. They got as far as we did last year, as far as almost the Sweet 16, and they’ve got the twins Jerkisha and Jermisha (Dosty) back, who’ve we’ve been really focusing on. But, as long as we play our game and play like we can, I think we’ll be okay.”
Florida State will play the University of Dayton on Tuesday afternoon. The Flyers, who opened up the 2001-02 season with a 70-58 loss to Cincinnati on Friday, went 16-13 last season.