TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (Seminoles.com) – The Florida State Women’s Basketball team has quite a new look for this upcoming season. With seven of its 11 student-athletes having never suited up for the Garnet and Gold just yet, fans can get their first glimpse of the squad on Sunday with an exhibition against Flagler at 2 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Admission to the event is free. Post-game autographs will be available by the box office located on the concourse level of the Tucker Center.
The Seminoles do return some players who earned significant time last season, including leading returning scorer and junior guard Nicki Ekhomu. The Bolingbrook, Ill., native is the team’s most experienced student-athlete in terms of minutes played (20 minutes per game in her career).
An aggressive driver to the hoop, Ekhomu is fifth among ACC returnees in percentage of team free throws made from 2017-18 (24.8 percent of team free throws last year). Joining her in the back-court will be fellow junior guard Nausia Woolfolk, who led FSU with 48 steals last year.
Joining Ekhomu and Woolfolk among the team’s tri-captains is redshirt junior forward Kiah Gillespie. The Meriden, Conn., native is an ACC Blue Ribbon Panel Newcomer Watch List member who has good collegiate experience from her playing days at Maryland.
“The three of them together make up a collective unit that we’re looking for a lot in this coming year,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said of her team captains. But the rest of the team has been tremendous in their supporting roles.”
That includes FSU’s other two returnees who saw court time last year in sophomore guard Savannah Wilkinson and redshirt sophomore forward Iho Lopez. Redshirt freshman guard Sayawni Lassiter had to miss last season due to a knee injury and will be at full strength this year.
Florida State’s ACC preseason order of finish is seventh by the Blue Ribbon Panel and eighth by the league’s coaches. But with a highly-touted freshmen class that teetered between fourth and sixth last year in the ESPNW rankings, the 2018-19 year could offer a lot of promise.
“I’ve been so impressed with not only the young players, but how the juniors have really lifted and built up those young players,” Semrau said as she has been pleased with the team chemistry.
Among FSU’s five freshmen are three state Gatorade Players of the Year in guards Kourtney Weber (New Orleans, La.), Amaya Brown (Albuquerque, N.M.) and Izabela Nicoletti (born in Brazil, played in Raleigh, N.C.). They are joined by another guard in Morgan Jones (Jonesboro, Ga.), while forward Valencia Myers (Solon, Ohio) is the lone front-court player of the group.
Myers and Nicoletti were both 2018 McDonald’s All-Americans and Jordan Brand Classic participants. Nicoletti, however, will be forced to miss the upcoming season due to a knee injury sustained in off-season workouts.
Following Sunday’s exhibition, Florida State’s season opener occurs on Tuesday, Nov. 6, at 11 a.m. against Troy at the Tucker Center. The morning tip-off includes “Field Trip Day,” where several students from the area are expected in attendance.