Aug. 10, 2005
They’re half way there. The Florida State Seminoles, the women’s basketball Seminoles that is, have five solid practices under their belts and five remaining before they depart for a 10-day tour of Italy on August 17th.
“We’ve been very pleased with the increase in skill level,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “It hasn’t just been maintaining a physical conditioning level but their skill level has improved so much.”
Aside from getting used to working as a unit again after the off-season, the Seminoles are also learning about the differences in international basketball like a trapezoid lane and an extended three-point line.
“Other than those two things, there will also be a shorter court and there will be a 24-second clock rather than a 30-second clock,” Semrau said. “There will be an eight-second backcourt and even in college men’s there’s a 10-second backcourt, so the game will be a little bit faster. We won’t be able to show as much patience probably as we’d like to but most everything else is the same. In fact, the size the ball has changed back to a small ball when it used to be that when you went overseas, you had to play with a larger ball so it will be great preparation for us.”
While the team will play four games and have practices, there will be time to enjoy a different culture.
“I don’t know why we’d go to Italy if we weren’t going to get a chance to take in the sights and have the opportunity to understand and learn a new culture,” Semrau said. “We’ll be traveling all the way from Rome to Lake Como so we’ll do some traveling but we will also do some sightseeing.”
The players, too, are excited about this opportunity.
“It’s just going to be awesome to be able to go over there and experience a different culture and experience all of the history,” senior point guard Holly Johnson said. “This definitely gives us a leg up on the competition to be able to go out there and get our rhythm together. The first couple of practices usually when we get started in October are to get your rhythm but we will already have that done so we can really focus on the details and pushing ourselves. This is definitely not a bad way to start off the school year. Just to be able to experience this with the team and have the opportunity to bond with them some more, it’s going to be fun.”
“We’re really excited,” senior guard Ganiyat Adeduntan said. “It’s been great just to come in early and start practicing with each other and try to get our feel back. We’ve picked up basically from where we left off last year. Last year, we implemented a new system and this year we’re used to it so we came in and we knew what the coaches expected and now we’re just trying to get better every day we’re out there. I am really looking forward to the sightseeing and just being able to play all together again and to see how much better we are.”
Most collegiate women’s basketball players are enjoying their last couple of weeks of summer before heading back to school, but the Seminoles don’t mind coming back early.
“At first, it was weird to be back on the court because it’s so early and we think wow we should still be on vacation,” sophomore Christie Lautsch said.” But we feel so blessed with the opportunity to go to Italy so we’ll put in the hard work to go and it will all pay off. We’ve been working really hard. We’re reestablishing our defense and getting into our offense and learning the ropes, learning our personnel and just really coming together as a team and getting good chemistry together.”