Dec. 6, 2002
For the second straight season, the Florida State women’s basketball team will play four consecutive road games in December. The South Florida game on Saturday, December 7 at 7 p.m. is the first of this year’s four straight road games. After completing finals next week, the Seminoles will travel to Akron (Sun., December 15), Jacksonville (Wed., Dec. 18) and Northern Arizona (Sat., Dec. 21) before returning to Tallahassee after Christmas to prepare to host defending national championship Connecticut on December 30th.
“Optimally, we’d want to finish at home going into finals week,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said, “but the way the schedule fell with our civic center and the teams we needed to return games to, this was the way it worked out. Quite frankly, I like the idea of going on the road because I think it will make us a tougher basketball team mentally right now. It’s not like we are going too far before finals. We’re going to USF and I think it will be a good road trip for us. Then we return and we have finals week and after that, most of Tallahassee is cleared out and it’s a good time for us to go to our seniors hometown and go on our senior trip and experience the educational part of college basketball.”
Each season, Semrau schedules games close to the hometowns of her senior class to give her players an opportunity to play in front of their families and friends. The Akron trip is that such opportunity for senior Katelyn Vujas, who hails from Wadsworth, Ohio. The seniors also have input on the December road swing. This year’s senior Christmas trip is to Arizona, where the Seminoles will visit the Grand Canyon.
“Our seniors wanted to go out West and most of our players have never seen the Grand Canyon, which if I’m not mistaken, is one of the Seven Wonders of the World,” Semrau said. “So the opportunity to play at Northern Arizona, which is a very good basketball team, and get a chance to see something that is just breathtaking, and something that everybody should see in their lifetime, is just a great educational experience.”
“Because we’ve never played out West, it was something we wanted to do,” senior Katelyn Vujas said. “I think it’s a good opportunity for the team to go to a different part of the country and play a different style of basketball – West Coast basketball – and I think it will be fun.”
Another advantage to the four consecutive road games in that two of them are in the state of Florida.
“We like to go out to different cities in the state of Florida in order to promote Florida State around the state,” Semrau said. “We think it’s good for recruiting. So to go to Tampa and Jacksonville this year is important to us. We signed two players out of the Jacksonville area and it will be great to play there.”
The four consecutive road games will be challenging for the Seminoles and the advantages of just a swing may not be felt until later in the season when FSU gets into conference play.
“It’s going to be a challenge for us with back-to-back road games, but I think we are going to get through it just fine,” senior Trinetta Moore, who hails from Atlanta, Ga., and has the chance to play in front of her family when FSU faces Georgia Tech, said. “We’ve been practicing hard this season and I think this will help us down the road when we get into ACC play and are on the road a lot. Since finals will be over next week, it’s going to help us focus more on playing basketball because we won’t have a ton of other things to throw off our focus. We can just concentrate on playing good basketball.”
So while the phrase “there’s no place like home,” is a popular one, the Florida State women’s basketball team plans to seek the advantages of playing on the road as well.
“We’re excited to be hitting the road after finals and to focus on what we need to do to get better as a basketball team in some hostile environments,” Semrau said. “I think it will really help prepare us for what we are fixing to do in the ACC. It’s nice to get comfortable at home, but it’s so important for us to learn what it’s like to play on the road.”