Women's Hoops Caps Season with Annual Banquet
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – The 2016-17 Florida State Women’s Basketball season officially came to a close on Saturday night as the team’s Elite Eight run was honored in a jazzed-up setting at the FSU Basketball Training Center.
With a tremendous ambience punctuated by the performance of outstanding jazz musician Trey Daniels, the annual season-ending gathering was once again a huge success. And it once again fulfilled its purpose – to honor a record-setting senior class while giving the audience even more to appreciate.
Torey Roberts and Brittany Brown's friendship was on full display Saturday night.
While Florida State’s five-member senior class consisting of Gabby Bevillard, Brittany Brown, Kai James, Leticia Romero and Ivey Slaughter was a big part of the banquet, the top moment belonged to Torey Roberts and her family.
Roberts, a 16-year old girl with down syndrome, has been a part of the FSU Women’s Basketball family as a ball girl since 2011. Her energy, charisma and passion was well-documented in a thorough Seminole Sports Magazine feature that detailed how much she means to the team as well as her great friendship with senior guard Brittany Brown.
Following the tear-jerking video, a long-standing applause followed for Roberts, who had her mother and father at the event. Brown described Roberts as one of the most meaningful people she has ever met at Florida State, and dedicated much of her senior speech to her.
Five awards were handed out, with each belonging to the five seniors. Bevillard won the Ronalda Pierce Heart Award for the third time, with her well-known story of overcoming multiple knee injuries and staying with the team as a student assistant. Bevillard begins her Nike internship in Oregon this summer.
James earned the Matthew Schmauch Leadership Award. The native of West Palm Beach, Fla., showed great resolve in her senior year and was a contributor to FSU’s NCAA Elite Eight run, the third in program history. James was recently drafted by the New York Liberty in the third round of the WNBA Draft.
Brown accepted the Alicia Gladden Defensive Player of the Year Award, a natural fit considering she is FSU’s all-time steals leader. Brown personally thanked Gladden’s parents in attendance and spoke specifically about meeting their daughter at Seminole camps in sixth grade and looking up to her. Brown has been invited to training camp with the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks.
Slaughter won the Hard Work on the Hard Wood Award, with her hustling and scrappy style of play being what most will remember of her solid career. The Macon, Ga., native finishes her career in the Top 5 in school history in six different categories.
Romero won the Sue Galkantas Offensive Player of the Year Award, scoring a career-best 12.5 points per game as a senior while also posting a career-high 50.9 percent from beyond the arc. The Spain native was one of the five seniors that spoke about her time at FSU, and she talked about how much the program and school helped her adjust to a new country. Romero was drafted in the second round by the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA, but her WNBA career will be put on hold as she shifts focus to the Spanish National Team this summer.
FSU head coach Sue Semrau was also a focal point of the evening, unexpectedly being honored for her 20 years of coaching with the Seminoles. Dozens of videos were shown from former players and others connected with FSU Women’s Basketball thanking her for being a great program builder.
The Seminoles finished seventh in the final USA Today Poll to tie for their highest end-of-season ranking ever. FSU went 28-7 overall and finished runner-up in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Seminoles led the ACC in scoring margin, rebounding defense, rebounding margin and offensive rebounding percentage, and their 79.0 points per game was the program’s highest scoring average since 1990-91.