Nov. 1, 2003
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida State women's basketball team will put its two weeks of practice to the test early when the Seminoles host Premier Players in exhibition action on Sunday, November 2nd at 2 p.m. at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center. Doors will open at 1 p.m. and Seminole fans can celebrate the upcoming season with Fan Day activities before, during and after the game, which is free to the public. The contest will be the earliest exhibition date in head coach Sue Semrau's seven seasons at Florida State. The Seminoles will have had just 13 practices when they hit the court on Sunday.
"Although we're excited about testing where we are against someone else, we're well aware that we haven't created the habits we're going to need to carry over into even our preseason games, but we're looking forward to getting something out of it that we can really take back to the practice floor," Semrau said. "We've practiced excellent in the half court. Our execution and our timing is coming down in the half court. We've also run very well offensively in transition, but we haven't been able to put it all together yet and it's far too early to expect that of a team that especially is trying to blend in so many new players."
The Seminoles return 10 letterwinners from last year's 17-13 squad and welcome five new faces, including four freshmen. Florida State has enjoyed a relatively injury-free preseason, but will be without senior wing Angela Sutton on Sunday. Sutton has a right hip strain which has kept her out of practice much of the week.
Premier Players begins its 12-game schedule with the Seminoles, followed by ACC-foes Duke and North Carolina. Premier will also face several SEC teams including league powers Auburn, Georgia and Vanderbilt. The team, comprised of former collegiate players many of whom are now playing in the WNBA, is highlighted by Kelly and Coco Miller from the University of Georgia as well as five athletes who played at the Universitys of Florida and Miami in recent years. The squad also features 6-10 center Jaana Kotova from West Liberty State who will present all kinds of competition for the Florida State posts.
Florida State's most experienced area this season will be the post game which will be led by seniors Lauren Bradley and Trinetta Moore. Last year's leading scorer, Tasheika Allen, who averaged 15.5 points per game, will provide leadership to the guard/small forward position which has an abundance of depth. Fans can expect a more aggressive squad offensively in 2003-04 with point guard Holly Johnson returning with a year of experience and the addition of freshman standout guard Shante Williams, a two-time Parade All American. Factor in junior LaQuinta Neely, who can play the one or two-guard spot, and the Seminoles will have options in the back court.
"We'll have one- and two-guards who will be interchangeable," Semrau said. "Both Quint (Neely) and Shante (Williams) will be the most interchangeable. Shante comes in with an abundance of talent and it will be fun to watch her grow over the next four years. She is very comfortable at either the point or two spot. She isn't as much of a vocal leader as she wants to be at that one spot and that's where playing and learning from Holly (Johnson) is really going to enhance that part of her game. Those two on the court together see the floor so well and that will be an option for us that we really like."
Expect all 12 players, who are available to play, to see plenty of action on Sunday. Aside from the injured Sutton, senior transfer Roneeka Hodges has to sit out the 2003-04 season and freshman center Nikki Anthony won't join the team until the volleyball season has concluded.