August 4, 2009 - by
Florida State Women’s Basketball Prepares For South Africa
For photos of Monday’s practice click here

Aug. 4, 2009

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After a much deserved summer break, the Florida State women’s basketball team returned to practice on August 1, beginning defense of their regular season ACC title. While preparing for the upcoming season, the Seminoles will also be getting in shape for their trip to South Africa on August 10-20. As a part of its contract with Florida State Athletics, Nike is financing the entire trip which includes games as well as community outreach and learning opportunities.

Even though the team is going to be on the other side of the globe, they are still going to make time for the game they love with three games scheduled in South Africa. The first two games are on August 13 in Pretoria, and August 14 in Johannesburg against the South African National Team. Near the end of their trip, they will have a game on August 17 against a local club team in Cape Town.

“The practice opportunities leading up to the trip as well as the chance to compete against the South African National team should help us prepare for an always challenging ACC schedule,” said FSU head coach Sue Semrau.

The Seminoles will also be hosting a basketball clinic for the youth in the town of Soweto on August 14 and in Kayamandi township on August 16. These areas are stricken with high levels of poverty and they want to show the kids how basketball can be played cost effectively. With the joys basketball brings to the squad, the Seminoles want to show kids how to build team work in addition to social skills.

While being able to go overseas to play basketball is important, they will also be given many educational and community service opportunities while in the country. One of the main stops on the trip will be on August 14 to the Othandweni Orphanage in Soweto. This orphanage is home to children of all ages, many having lost parents to the AIDS virus. The Othanweni Orphanage gives them not only the basics of food, clothes and shelter, but helps them find and keep jobs while also actively pursuing homes for each child.

“This trip is a perfect example of the blending of educational experience and athletic excellence that Florida State prides itself in,” said Semrau. “Our partnership with Nike allows our team this opportunity to experience a different culture and be in the heart of racial reconciliation. Not only will we have the chance to see a beautiful country, but we are excited about the opportunity to serve and learn from the people of South Africa with several youth clinics and trips to local townships.”

Another highlight of their trip will be their tour of Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town. The island has been used for a World War II training and defense station, as well as a hospital for those with leprosy and the mentally and physically ill. However, it is most known for being a prison, with its most famous prisoner being former South African President Nelson Mandela. Mandela spent 27 years in prison, with 18 years at Robben Island for helping lead an anti-apartheid movement in the early 1960’s. Upon being released in 1990, he helped abolish apartheid in the country and in 1994 became the first democratically elected president in South Africa’s history.

The team is scheduled to return on August 20 to then begin preparation for the new school year beginning on August 24. Members of the media are invited to the basketball training facility for coach and player interview opportunities on Thursday, August 6 at 2:00 pm.

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