Nov. 18, 2004
The Florida State women’s basketball team will tip off the 2004-05 season on Friday, November 19th when the Seminoles host the Xavier Musketeers at 8:00 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center. A ticket to the men’s 6 p.m. game vs. Texas Southern will get fans in free to the women’s contest and women’s ticket holders will be admitted after halftime of the men’s game.
“It’s a very strong season-opener,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “It will give us a really good sense of where we are. They’re a team that in a lot of ways are a good match-up for us because they don’t really outsize us a ton, but they out-experience us quite a bit. I think it will help our IQ and it will be very good for us to go against a team that is a little more seasoned than us.”
Xavier is coming off a 17-13 season that saw the Musketeers advance to the first round of the WNIT. The Musketeers return all five starters from 2003-04 and are led by Tara Boothe, a preseason Atlantic 10 preseason pick. Boothe averaged 18.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game to lead the team last season.
“Xavier is a very good basketball team with five returning starters including the Atlantic 10 preseason player of the year in Tara Boothe,” Semraus said. “She is a versatile player who we are going to have to do a great job defending. She’s about a six-foot post player who can shoot the three and who is very creative on the block. She’s got a player around her in NC State transfer Adeola Olanrewaju who has a great leaping ability, is a great rebounder and runs the floor very well. They also have good shooters on the outside which will make them a very difficult to defend because they have such balance.”
As always, intense defense will be a key is Florida State’s game-plan. With the tallest player in the starting line up for the Seminoles being 6-1 junior wing Ganiyat Adeduntan, FSU is looking its defense will create opportunities on offense.
“I want to see a level of intensity on the defensive end where we can dictate it and not be reactionary and I think that is going to give us the best chance during the course of the year to be successful,” Semrau, who is in her eighth season, said. “Obviously part of that is finishing every defensive possession with a rebound or steal.
“From the first exhibition to the second, the improvement in rebounding was stark,” Semrau continued. “We’ve continued to emphasize that on both ends of the floor. We don’t really believe we have to be big to be great rebounders. We’ve got to be committed to being great rebounders. I think those two things with the cherry on top being able to get out and run in transition and create a number of situations for us.”
Florida State was led by junior guard Holly Johnson in the preseason. Johnson entered practice in the best shape of her career and it showed in the exhibition games. She turned in career-highs in both Seminole victories. Against the Miami Suns, Johnson was a team leader with a career-high 16 points and seven rebounds. She also added four assists and five turnovers in 30 minutes of play. She bettered her numbers vs. EA Sports with a team-high 18 points while also recording five assists and more importantly, just one turnover in a team-high 34 minutes of play.
The game, which will actually begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the men’s game which begins at 6 p.m., can also be heard on WFLA-Radio AM 1270 in Tallahassee or by accessing www.seminoles.com.