October 26, 2019 - by

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – The Florida State Women’s Basketball team plays its only exhibition of the preseason on Sunday against Florida Southern. Tip-off is at 2 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center and is free to attend.

Sunday’s exhibition is also fan day, with team posters being available and the whole team signing post-game autographs. The kid’s zone will also be open, and a post-game shoot-around will occur on the Tucker Center court.

“In October it’s always hard to tell where you are,” head coach Sue Semrau said. “But I’ve loved our energy and I’ve loved how our team has come out and tried to improve on last year. Not just settling from ‘Well, let’s just try to take off from that.’ They’re really trying to improve.”

While official rankings will not be released until next week, Florida State has been pegged as high as 11th by Lindy’s and ESPNW after returning all five starters from a season ago. The Seminoles return everyone on the 2018-19 roster – a first in Semrau’s 23 seasons at Florida State.

FSU was selected third in the ACC Predicted Order of Finish last week, with redshirt senior forward Kiah Gillespie and senior point guard Nicki Ekhomu making the 10-member Preseason All-ACC Team. Gillespie has earned a slew of preseason accolades, most recently being named to the 20-member Katrina McClain Award Watch List given to the nation’s best power forward.

The Seminoles hope Sunday’s exhibition is the starting point toward improving on last year’s 24-9 campaign which included an NCAA Second Round appearance. Florida State entered last year with plenty of questions after not returning a single starter and having one of the youngest teams in the country.

This year, expectations are high in Tallahassee once again. A program that once was ranked for 71 consecutive weeks from 2015-18 is back to its usual standards.

“Practice has been going great and the coaches have been pushing us hard,” Ekhomu said. “We’re very confident (having) the returning players.”

Added into the mix of quality returnees are three established freshmen. River Baldwin is a 6-foot-5 McDonald’s All-America center, and shooting guard/forward Sammie Puisis is a 6-foot-1 player who is also a McDonald’s All-American. High energy forward/center London Clarkson rounds out the three newbies who can all contribute this season.

“Sunday is an opportunity for us to put on the uniform, get out and see what it feels like for the freshmen, and for the new team to come together,” Semrau added. “And to get everything working the way we want it to by the home opener.”

Florida State’s season opener takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 5, with a matchup against Charleston Southern at 7 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center.

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