March 1, 2006
By Lauren Williams, FSU Sports Information
Senior Ganiyat Adeduntan is Florida State's quiet assassin, torching opponents' defenses in the post and on the perimeter. One of the top players in the region coming out of high school, the program took a step in the right direction when she inked her National Letter of Intent in 2002 to come to Florida State. The 2001-02 Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year entered FSU with high expectations. Once Adeduntan grabbed a hold of the Seminoles' system, head coach Sue Semrau knew she was going to be a factor in the foundation the program was building upon.
"When I came here, I came in with the mindset that I was going to help this program continue to grow," said Adeduntan. "Coach Sue had been bringing in great players to the program and I came in knowing that I was going to be a part of something new and special."
That year, Adeduntan's predictions were right. FSU won 17 games, the second-highest win total in the Semrau era at the time, including eight conference victories in one of the toughest leagues in the nation, the Atlantic Coast Conference. Adeduntan contributed off of the bench in her first year, earning 2002-03 All-ACC Freshman Team honorable mention accolades, after averaging 5.8 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.
After coming off of the bench in her second season, Adeduntan grew more and more comfortable with the system. At this point, things got interesting. With the departure of six of the team's top scorers, Adeduntan had to switch not only roles but positions midway through her career. She transitioned from a serious outside threat to a driving post player and she stands just over six-feet tall.
"I wouldn't really say this year that I've had to change as much as last year," explained Adeduntan. "I had to switch positions a little bit. In high school, everyone played different positions whereas last year I had to play the post and get better on defense (before I shot the ball) and that was a big deal."
The move proved to be great for both G-Mo, as she is known around the program, and the team. Florida State won 24 games in 2004-05, the most since the 1990-91 season. Not totally abandoning her signature perimeter shooting, she moved her game into the paint and also led the team in rebounds. She doubled her offensive effort and stepped up big, averaging 14.8 points and 7.6 rebounds against ranked opponents.
This year, the talented, multi-faceted player is putting her inside and outside games together and leading this team along the same path as before - to the NCAA Tournament. This year's squad also finished fourth in the conference.
"This team's focus is to make the NCAA Tournament, which is always the ultimate goal," said Adeduntan. "We try to make it to the NCAA Tournament because when you get there, it's a whole new season. Right now, we have to win more games and get to that point."
While the senior is coming up on the end of her career, it is just the beginning of her legacy. Adeduntan's graduating class, which includes Holly Johnson, Hannah Linquist and LaQuinta Neely, has averaged 18 wins over the last four years, the highest of the Semrau era. That should not be a surprise for many because it is intentional if you talk to the group.
"I think that last year kind of set the foundation for things," said Adeduntan. "We had a great start, one of the best ever here in this program. Last year we started Phase Two with that mindset and a different kind of focus and we just started playing harder as individuals. There isn't that pressure to get (to the post season) but it's more that we know that we've been there, we know what it looks like, we know what it tastes like and we know what we need to do to get back there.
"When I look back, I definitely will feel as if I left everything out there," continued Adeduntan. "It's been a long four years and as an individual I feel like I've gotten better as a player and as a person here. I've grown with the program."
The Seminoles are knocking on the door to the Big Dance for the second year in a row and thanks to the founding mothers of this new generation, it is all coming together as a destiny fulfilled.