Dec. 26, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State women’s basketball team is set to return to action following the holidays with a matchup against LSU in Baton Rouge, La. on Sunday at 2 p.m. CST.
The Seminoles (9-4) are coming off an 83-71 loss to No. 1 -ranked UConn at the Caribbean Classic in Cancun, Mexico last week. The Seminoles also picked up a victory against Northern Colorado and fell to Washington while in sunny Mexico.
Sunday’s showdown with the Tigers (5-3) will mark the third-straight season in which the two have met and LSU is 2-0 in those previous meetings. The Tigers earned a 73-61 victory on their home court last year and ended the Seminoles’ 2006-07 season with a 55-43 Sweet 16 win in Fresno, Calif.
Year No. 12 Under Semrau
Head coach Sue Semrau is in her 12th season at the helm of the Seminole program. Semrau became FSU’s winningest coach in her ninth season on Feb. 19, 2006 when the Seminoles defeated Clemson 80-72 in overtime. Semrau has a 188-155 career record at FSU. She has guided the Seminoles to double-digit victories in nine-straight seasons and -to four-straight NCAA Tournaments and five overall.
SEMINOLES VS. LSU
Florida State’s journey to Baton Rouge, La. to take on the Southeastern Conference’s LSU will mark just the second time ever that the Seminoles will play against the Tigers in the state of Louisiana. The last time FSU played in LSU’s home gym was during the 1991-92 season when the Tigers earned a 96-88 victory. Despite FSU’s unfamiliarity with the LSU campus, that doesn’t mean the two programs don’t know much about one another. In fact, this matchup will be the eighth meeting ever between the two schools and the Tigers boast a 5-2 advantage all-time against the Seminoles. In addition to the lone game in Baton Rouge, La., LSU has traveled to Tallahassee, Fla. four times and the two teams have split those games 2-2. The other two meetings between the two have happened on neutral courts and LSU won both. First, the Tigers earned a 75-68 victory over FSU in the Russell Athletic Shootout in Atlanta, Ga. during the 2003-04 season. And the loss that hurts most for the Seminoles was the 55-43 Sweet 16 loss to the Tigers in Fresno Calif. during the 2006-07 season.
Scouting the LSU Tigers
FSU……………………………. PER GAME………………………….. LSU
71.4……………………………….. POINTS…………………………….. 61.2
.433 ………………………………… FG%……………………………….. .400
.343……………………………….. 3 FG%……………………………… .353
.652…………………………………. FT%……………………………….. .649
43.3……………………………. REBOUNDS…………………………… 38.2
13.1………………………………. ASSISTS…………………………….. 12.8
19.8…………………………… TURNOVERS………………………….. 15.1
9.2…………………………………. STEALS……………………………… 11.9
4.1………………………………… BLOCKS………………………………. 5.4
SEMINOLES AGAINST THE SEC
The Seminoles game against LSU will be their second this season against a squad from the Southeastern Conference. FSU is hoping that this time the outcome against an SEC foe will be much different as they felt to rival Florida by a score of 72-57 in Tallahassee, Fla. on Nov. 23. The Seminoles have actually never experienced much success against any of the teams in the SEC. FSU has never played against Vanderbilt or Arkansas but is a staggering 41-93 all-time against SEC squads. In addition to being 2-5 against LSU, FSU is 28-41 vs. UF, 1-9 vs. Auburn, 4-5 vs. Alabama, 0-1 vs. Kentucky, 0-2 vs. Tennessee, 2-16 vs. South Carolina, and 2-3 apiece against Mississippi State and Ole Miss
In the Sue Semrau era, the Seminoles are 6-5 all-time in their first game after the Christmas holidays. FSU has actually played LSU as its first game after the short break when the two met on Dec. 27, 2003.
STILL WINLESS AGAINST THE BEST
With the loss to No. 1-ranked UConn in the final game for both teams at the Caribbean Classic in Cancun, Mexico, FSU is now 0-8 all-time against teams that boast the nation’s top ranking. Prior to the trip to the Caribbean, the Seminoles had not faced a No. 1-ranked squad since the 2003-04 season when they fell to then top-ranked Duke, 73-60. In fact, the Seminoles have faced off against Duke on three separate occasions when the Blue Devils were ranked No. 1. The Seminoles first-ever game against a top-ranked opponent occurred during the 1983-84 season when No. 1 Texas earned an 89-43 win over FSU. Interestingly enough, FSU and UConn have played against one another in the past when the Huskies possessed a No. 1 ranking. No. 1 UConn defeated FSU 81-53 during the 2003-04 season. FSU is also now just 3-20 all-time against ranked opponents at a neutral site.
TURNOVER ISSUES ON THE VERGE OF BEING SOLVED?
Florida State’s upset loss to Washington in its second game of the Caribbean Classic can be attributed to several factors – the least of which was turnovers. In that game, FSU tied its season high in giveaways with 26. The Seminoles hadn’t turned the ball over that many times since their second game of the season when they had 26 mistakes in the victory over North Florida. Prior to the loss to Washington, FSU had 21 turnovers against Northern Colorado. Against No. 1 UConn, it looked early on like the Seminoles were going to continue that trend after giving the ball away 11 times in the first half. But perhaps the Seminoles are figuring out how to correct an issue that has plagued them all year long. In the second half against the Huskies, the Seminoles only turned the ball over five times. Their 16 total turnovers in the game were the second lowest number of mistakes all year long. FSU still has some work to do, though, as the team is now committing an average of 19.8 turnovers per contest this year. In the Sue Semrau era, FSU averaged 20+ turnovers per game in her first three seasons. In each of her NCAA Tournament seasons, FSU has averaged no more than 18.3 turnovers per game and that was last season.
FSU Turnovers Per Game In Semrau Era
2007-08 18.3 NCAA Tournament
2006-07 16.9 NCAA Tournament
2005-06 15.7 NCAA Tournament
2004-05 16.5 NCAA Tournament
2000-01 17.8 NCAA Tournament
DAVIS-CAIN PROVES SHE DESERVES THE NOD
Senior guard Tanae Davis-Cain has had an up-and-down final year so far in the garnet and gold. The 5-foot-11 wing player has had memorable performance such as her outing against Temple in which she set the FSU record for most 3-pointers in a career but has also struggled with her shot in other contests. But after being put back into the starting lineup against No. 1 UConn after coming off the bench the previous eight-straight games, Davis-Cain showed just how talented she is and what she is capable of doing each game no matter who the opposition is. Against the Huskies, Davis-Cain registered a season-high 25 points on 9-for-17 shooting from the field. The senior captain was stroking it from long range in that game as she hit five of her nine 3-point attempts.
WARD PROVIDES A SPARK
Sophomore Courtney Ward had one of the best games of her career against No. 1 UConn. FSU’s backup point guard came off the bench to accrue a season-high 14 points and tie her season high for assists with six. The Montgomery, Ala. native was also 2-for-2 from 3-point range in the game.
SEMINOLES OUTSCORE HUSKIES IN SECOND HALF
There’s no doubting that No. 1-ranked UConn is the best team in the country and one of the better women’s college basketball teams ever assembled. But credit the Seminoles with not ever giving up against the nation’s top team. After falling behind 13-0 early on in the showdown between the two programs in Cancun, Mexico, FSU came out strong after the halftime break and actually outscored the Huskies 42-40 in the game’s final 20 minutes.
FSU AND IN-SEASON TOURNAMENTS
The Seminoles journey to Cancun, Mexico to take part in the Caribbean Classic along with Connecticut, Northern Colorado and Washington marked the second time this season in which FSU competed in an in-season tournament. Earlier this season, the Seminoles competed in the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational on the campus of Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo. during the Thanksgiving holiday. In that tournament, FSU defeated Murray State 85-50 in the opening game but fell to Valparaiso 80-74 in the tournament’s championship contest. After going 1-1 in Colorado and then are 1-2 in Mexico after beating Northern Colorado and losing to Washington and UConn, the Seminoles are 27-12 during in-season tournaments in the Sue Semrau era (since 1997-98 season). The Seminoles have won seven in-season tournaments during Semrau’s tenure – including two during the 2004-05 season.
FSU NOW BELOW .500 THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS
FSU has played in 24 games now during the week leading up to the Christmas holiday (Dec. 18 to Dec. 25) in the Sue Semrau era and are 12-13 all-time in those games after a win and two losses in Cancun, Mexico.
DAVIS-CAIN ADDING TO TOTAL, fRESHOUR NOW nO. 2
Senior guard Tanae Davis-Cain made a little bit of history in the Seminoles’ win over Temple on Dec. 7. The Dawson, Ga., native entered that contest just one 3-pointer shy of tying Wendy Hampton’s school-record 134 career 3-pointers and two from breaking it. It only took Davis-Cain until late in the first half of the game against the Owls to hit two and officially set the record. She went on to connect on all four of her 3-point attempts. After hitting five treys against No. 1 UConn, Davis-Cain now has 147 3-pointers made in her stellar career. Senior guard Mara Freshour also has the opportunity to leave her name in the 3-pointer record books as she moved into a tie for second all-time on the list in career 3-pointers made against the Huskies by connecting for one triple. Freshour currently has 134 treys in her career and could move into sole position of second place in the category with one more against LSU. In addition to moving up the career list for 3-pointers, both Davis-Cain and Freshour are steadily climbing in their respective quests to reach 1,000 career-points. With a big performance against LSU, Davis-Cain could even reach 1,000 points. The updated totals are:
Career Record: Tanae Davis-Cain 147
Wendy Hampton 134
Mara Freshour 133
Tanae Davis-Cain: 973
Mara Freshour: 867
Head coach Sue Semrau, assistant coach Lance White, Jacinta Monroe, Cayla Moore, Tanae Davis-Cain and Chasity Clayton all arrived in Mexico for the Caribbean Classic just minutes before tip-off against Northern Colorado in the Seminoles’ opening game. Those coaches and players as well as a few members of the FSU women’s basketball support staff had a connecting flight from Tallahassee on Wednesday through Charlotte, NC while the rest of the players, coaches and staff were on a separate flight routed through Atlanta, Ga.
Due to weather issues, however, the flight through Charlotte was late and those members of the team and staff missed the connecting flight to Cancun and were consequently forced to spend the night in North Carolina before boarding a plan for Cancun very early Thursday morning.
But once again, reaching Mexico proved to be a difficult task. After taking off from Charlotte, the plane had to make a stop in Tampa, Fla. due to an onboard mechanical malfunction. The Seminoles were then forced to deplane and board another aircraft bound for the Caribbean and arrived just in time for tip-off.
Game time was delayed one hour to allow FSU to have all its members in attendance.
HARVIN EARNS FIRST START OF SEASON
Due to the fact that junior forward Jacinta Monroe arrived just minutes before tip-off due to travel issues and therefore missed most of pregame warm-ups against Northern Colorado, junior forward Alysha Harvin started in her place. The Dania, Fla. native’s starting nod was her first of the season. Harvin finished the game against the Bears with seven points in 22 minutes of play.
WHAT A SECOND HALF AGAINST THE BEARS!
After allowing a late Northern Colorado 3-pointer to cut their lead to seven before the buzzer sounded to signal halftime, the Seminoles came out looking like a different team in the second half. The Bears entered halftime with 23 points compared to FSU’s 30 but the Bears would find that baskets were a premium in the final 20 minutes. By holding Northern Colorado to just 20.3-percent shooting for the game – including a season-low 9.1-percent shooting in the second half – the FSU defense held UNC to just nine points after intermission. The nine-point output was the lowest allowed in a half this year by the Seminoles.
FIRST CAREER DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR BRAVARD
True freshman center Cierra Bravard earned the first double-double of her young career with a 13-pont, 12-rebound performance against Northern Colorado. The 12 rebounds also marks a new career high for the Sandusky, Ohio native. Also, because junior forward Jacinta Monroe had to miss most of pregame warm-ups because of travel issues and therefore couldn’t start, Bravard is the only player on the FSU roster that has started all 13 games this season.
GRAY SETS A NEW CAREER HIGH
Junior Angel Gray has become FSU’s go-to player when the team needs a defensive stop. In the game against Northern Colorado, Gray earned a new career high in steals as she garnered a game-high five takeaways to go along with nine points and a career-high tying four assists.
NEW SEASON HIGH FOR REBOUNDS
In addition to being one of their best defensive games of the season, the Seminoles also put on a rebounding show for those in attendance watching their game against the Bears. FSU grabbed a season-high 63 rebounds against Northern Colorado compared to just 25 by the Bears. The Seminoles’ previous season-high in the category was the 54 they grabbed in the win over Southeast Missouri State.
FSU WAS OUT OF CONTINENTAL U.S. FOR THIRD TIME
FSU’s journey to Cancun, Mexico to compete in the Caribbean Classic was just the third time ever that the Seminoles have traveled outside the Continental United States to play basketball during the regular season. Both of FSU’s previous trips across country lines were to San Juan Puerto Rico to compete in the San Juan Shootout during the 1994-95 and 2004-05 seasons. The Seminoles competed in three games during that in-season tournament in 1994 and lost each contest to Texas Tech, Southern Illinois and Michigan State. FSU then bounced back in a big way 10 years later when it won all three games against Fordham, Towson and UNC-Charlotte during the San Juan Shootout in 2004. FSU is now 4-6 in games played outside of the United States.
Monroe ON PACE TO SET RECORD
Junior forward Jacinta Monroe has led the Seminoles in blocked shots over the past two seasons and has steadily climbed the ranks as one of the greatest shot blockers in program history. With a combined 16 blocks over the past six games, and a team-high 27 swats this season, Monroe now has 168 career blocked shots and is just 41 shy of Brooke Wyckoff’s all-time record of 209 she set from 1997-2001. Monroe is averaging 2.1 blocks per game this season and if she stays on this pace will have 213 career blocked shots after the first game of the ACC Tournament. She will likely, however, better that pace as she has already recorded three or more blocks in three games this season including a season-high six against Mercer.
Spreading the Minutes
Florida State has some depth on the team this season. Nine of FSU’s 10 players are averaging double-digit minutes with senior Mara Freshour leading the way at 28.6 minutes per game. Eight Seminoles are currently averaging at least 17 minutes or more per game this season and six different players are averaging over 20 minutes of play per game.
Despite playing two games away from their home floor in Fort Collins, Colo. for the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational, FSU’s matchup with Temple at the Liacouras Center was just its second game in enemy territory this season and the journey to play at LSU will mark just the third game of the year in which FSU plays on an opponent’s home court. The Seminoles’ first away game of the year at UNF in Jacksonville, Fla.
SEMINOLES HUSTLE PAST THE BEARS
FSU earned its 74-54 victory over Mercer by beating the Bears in a variety of hustle categories. In addition to winning the rebounding battle 46-31 and points-in-the-paint 36-18, FSU also scored 10 fast-break points compared to just two by Mercer and also scored 21 second-chance points while the Bears mustered just eight.
Seminoles even it out
Against Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 25, the FSU women’s basketball team earned program win No. 500. Against Temple, the Seminoles achieved another feat by evening out the all-time record of the program at the time at 503-503 in FSU history. FSU head coach Sue Semrau has a lot to do with the Seminoles’ improved record through the years. When she began her tenure in time for the 1997-98 season, FSU was 32 games below .500 in the history of the program at 317-349.
SLUMP? WHAT SLUMP?
In addition to making history against Temple, senior guard Tanae Davis-Cain appeared to have bounced back from a shooting slump that had drastically cut down on her minutes played in previous games. The 5-foot-10 guard, whose mother lives in Philadelphia and was in attendance, finished the day with a season-high 20 points but perhaps more importantly for the Seminoles, she emerged from a 2-for-15 shooting slump that had plagued her over the previous two ballgames. She was 7-for-10 against Temple, including a perfect 4-for-4 from behind the arc. Against Mercer, Davis-Cain continued her upwards swing with a 13-point performance.
FSU ENJOYED CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE
Less than 24 hours before they were to take the court against Temple, FSU players, coaches and staff all got to experience a little bit of chilly Philadelphia. After arriving in the City of Brotherly Love, the Seminoles took the team bus to world-famous Geno’s for some some classic Philly Cheesesteaks. After eating, it was on to the Philadelphia Museum of Art where the players and coaches imitated Sylvester Stallone’s character in Rocky that famously jogged up the many stairs outside the building.
86 IS THE SEASON-HIGH FOR POINTS
The 86 points scored against Temple was the highest offensive output by the Seminoles this season, edging past the 85 that FSU scored in the victory over Murray State. The Seminoles have scored over 80 four times this season and all of those contests resulted in FSU victories. The 86 points is the most by FSU since the Seminoles’ 94-42 win over Alabama State on December 16, 2007. In the 2007-08 season, FSU recorded 80 or more points in six games total and went 5-1 in those games.
FREE-THROWS GALORE AGAINST TEMPLE
Florida State attempted a season-high 39 free throws in the Temple win and converted on 25 of them for 64 percent. The last time FSU attempted that many free throws was last season when the Seminoles went 24-for-39 for 62 percent in the win at Indiana on Nov. 30, 2007. FSU’s best outing, percentage-wise, from the charity stripe this season is 81 percent (13-for-16) in the loss to Valparaiso. On the season, the Seminoles, as a team, are averaging 24.2 free throws per game (and making 15.6 of them) while their opponents are getting to the line 19.9 attempts per game (and making 14.5 of them).
Monroe Leads FSU in Two Different Categories
Junior Jacinta Monroe currently leads the team in scoring (15.0 ppg) and rebounding (7.4 rpg). Monroe has shown she is capable of earning a double-double. In the loss to Florida, Monroe registered the 11th double-double of her career and third of the season with team-highs in points (18) and rebounds (10). She turned in five double-doubles as a freshman and had three last season during her sophomore campaign.
Twin Towers on the Inside
The Seminoles have a big front line of post players with 6-foot-4 Jacinta Monroe and 6-foot-4 Cierra Bravard and the two have done their collective part in helping the team so far this year. In fact, the tall tandem is currently averaging a combined 26.9 points per game. In the Southeast Missouri State game, Monroe and Bravard combined for 31 points, which was exactly half of the Seminoles’ total offensive output. The two also combined for 10 rebounds in that blowout victory. Against Penn State, both players combined for 33 points of FSU’s total of 70.
REPRESENTING THE ACC
The Florida State women’s basketball program defeated Penn State 73-60 as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 3. The victory over the Lady Lions was keyed by a tough FSU defense and double-digit scoring by junior forwards Jacinta Monroe (18 points) and Alysha Harvin (then season-high 14 points) as well as true freshman center Cierra Bravard (15 points). The ACC captured its second straight ACC/Big Ten Challenge victory with a 7-4 record in the annual series.
FSU WINS THE BATTLE ON THE OFFENSIVE GLASS
The Seminoles grabbed 20 offensive rebounds against Penn State, which is their second-highest total of the season. Although FSU coaches may choose to think of the victory over the Lady Lions as the best offensive rebounding performance because FSU’s season-high 24 offensive boards came in the upset loss to Florida on Nov. 23.
NO fast-break buckets in the second half
Seminoles head coach Sue Semrau wasn’t pleased that her players allowed 12 fast-break points late in the first half against Penn State and she let them know about it at half time. Well, the Seminoles listened and responded accordingly. In the win over the Lady Lions, FSU didn’t allow a single fast-break point in the game’s final 20 minutes of play.