TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – Florida State Women’s Basketball head coach Sue Semrau will enter her 20th season with the Seminoles as the team begins official practice on Monday, Oct. 3, at roughly 1:30 p.m. in the FSU Basketball Training Center. “I’m so excited about getting everyone together on Monday,” Semrau said. “Being able to practice on a regular basis for an amount of time where we can require them to do it right, rather than just do it and move on…That will be when I really will be able to see how good we can be.”
Florida State expects to have another strong season, but the talent level on paper could be the highest it has ever had. On the 14-player roster is the world’s only returning Olympic medalist in college (Leticia Romero), five all-conference performers (Romero, Chatrice White, Brittany Brown, Shakayla Thomas, Imani Wright) and the nation’s seventh-ranked freshman class.
Two-time FSU All-American guard Romero is coming off a silver medal finish for Spain in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio. Entering her senior year, Romero is trying to become the first Seminole ever to be named a three-time All-American. She was an AP All-American in 2015 and a WBCA All-American in 2016.
Perhaps providing a signature inside-outside threat is the addition of White, who was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA on Sept. 23 and will have two years left as a junior center. The news gives FSU an All-Big Ten player who helps create an enormous amount of depth.
“Coach Sue told me and was so excited,” White said when she found out she was eligible. “I was honestly speechless and didn’t know what to say. I started tearing up a bit I was so excited. The news was great and I’m really looking forward to it.
“I was just so elated. I answered my phone, I got off my phone, I jumped in my car and went and found her (Chatrice),” Semrau said when she received the phone confirming White’s immediate eligibility.
FSU has garnered three Top 15 preseason rankings by ESPNW (15th), Lindy’s (11) and Athlon Sports (12), but those were made without factoring in White’s eligibility. FSU will expect to contend once again for the ACC title, having gone 27-5 (.844) over its last two years in the conference.
One area where FSU should not lack for is shooters, carrying a roster of strong guards/forwards like Romero, Wright, Brown, Conde and a freshmen core who can make defenses extend.
“You look for shooters that can stretch the defense,” Semrau said. “Maybe that was something we didn’t do as well last year was shoot the ball from the perimeter. Imani (Wright) obviously adds to that, and so does Chatrice. She’s someone who can shoot the ball from the 3-point line, but then she has a really great interior presence as well. She’s a great rebounder as well, and that’s something we really hang our hats on.”
The five new freshmen include 21st-ranked guard Nicole Ekhomu, guard A’Tyanna Gaulden (23), forward Jasmine Walker (25), guard Nausia Woolfolk (57) and forward Iho Lopez. Despite entering their first years with a loaded roster, they don’t plan on being afterthoughts and can contribute immediately.
“They’re going to be a lot of fun,” Semrau added about the freshmen. “I’m so excited that each and every one of them is here. I’m excited to see how they can contribute.”
With all the depth and talent FSU presents, perhaps where a second unit could be just as effective as the starting five, it reminds senior guard Brittany Brown of the best team in program history just a few years ago. That team set several program records, including winning 32 games and coming within minutes from reaching FSU’s first NCAA Final Four.
“It’s exciting,” Brown said of the team’s makeup. “It reminds me of sophomore year when we had that big team of about 15 players. We’ve got so many different weapons and I’m excited to see everyone play into their different role and be for each other this year.”
Season tickets for the 2016-17 season are on sale now. Tickets are once again very affordable and come with excellent perks for both reserved section and general admission seat holders. Find out more information on season tickets by going onto Seminoles.com or by calling the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at 1-888-FSU-NOLE.