Oct. 31, 2005
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Led by junior Alicia Gladden’s game-high 25 points, the Florida State women’s basketball team defeated Athletes In Action 73-60 in exhibition action Monday night at the Donald L. Tucker Center. The Seminoles, opening their season earlier than usual and on one of the scariest nights of the year, looked a little timid in the opening minutes of the contest with two freshman in the starting line up, but FSU shook off its jitters to take a 31-18 advantage at the half.
“Alicia Gladden just continues to develop as an offensive player where she is already so solid defensively for us and now she’s just becoming a better, better offensive player,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “She was a threat in our games in Italy and obviously tonight shot the ball extremely well and is really a cog that makes us go.”
Senior Holly Johnson, one of just two returning starters in the lineup vs. AIA, added 14 points, four assists and three steals while turning over the ball just twice in a team-high 31 minutes of play.
“Holly continues to assert herself and really stepped up tonight in the scoring column as well as having a positive assist-turnover ratio,” Semrau said. “She and Alicia are obviously the most veteran on the court and did a nice job tonight really helping the freshmen and the younger players to learn.”
With seniors LaQuinta Neely and Ganiyat Adeduntan sidelined with nagging injuries, Semrau had three fresh faces in the starting line up, including two rookies. Sophomore Nikki Anthony, who made one start last season, got the nod in the middle, along with freshman forward Britany Miller and freshman Mara Freshour started at the wing. Miller had a solid debut with 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in 18 minutes of play while Freshour added five points and six rebounds. FSU got 19 points from players off the bench, including eight from redshirt sophomore Shante Williams.
“We were trying to get a lot of people minutes tonight,” Semrau said. “We wanted to get a chance to see what different combinations looked like and different players were like in game situations. We’re still in the stages of the season where we’re thinking rather than playing but this kind of situation is going to move us forward more quickly.”
The Seminoles maintained a double-digit lead for much of the second half and had their largest lead of 18 points at 71-53 with 1:39 left in the game. AIA pulled to within seven points with 11:41 remaining but Johnson responded with one of her two three-pointers. Along with Miller, Gladden and sophomore Christie Lautsch each grabbed eight rebounds to lead FSU which shot 47 percent for the game.
Down 7-5 early, Gladden ran off the game’s next six points to put the Seminoles on top 11-7 and FSU led the rest of the way. Florida State outscored AIA 14-5 in the final 9:38 of the first half, including a three-pointer at the buzzer by Johnson.
The Seminoles will host EA Sports in exhibition action on Monday, November 7th. Fan Day festivities will begin at 6 p.m. at the Tucker Center with the game to follow at 7 p.m.
“We’re looking forward to another great week of practice before we get another opportunity to play,” Semrau said. “I think there are a lot of kinks to work out. With a lot of new players, we’re having to really hone a system all over again but I was pleased with the way they tried to work together tonight.”