Nov. 13, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- It's hard to believe that Alexa Deluzio has begun her fifth season as part of the Florida State women's basketball team but time flies when you are having fun. And that's exactly what the Seminoles have done during most of Deluzio's time in Tallahassee.
But after not making the NCAA Tournament for the first time in eight seasons last year, Deluzio is back to playing shooting guard and focused on recreating the culture of winning that has defined the FSU program -- and in the process, cap off what has been a memorable collegiate career.
Seminoles.com: Coach Semrau has said that you'll be a more fast-paced team offensively this year. Does that suit your playing style?
Deluzio: I feel like that's what the ACC is. It's just fast paced and so quick up and down on the court. Cierra Brevard was such an important player for our team but with her gone we have to move on and I feel like Chelsea Davis is great at what she does and she is also very mobile so I think it will work well with our guards and how fast we are at all five spots.
Seminoles.com: You were forced to switch position and play point guard last year because of depth issues. Are you happy to be back at your natural position of shooting guard for your final season?
Deluzio: I am so excited. I am not going to miss playing point guard but I last year was a learning year for my personally and I think it was good for me. It was very difficult and hard and I really have learned to appreciate that position and I have lot of grace and understanding for Morgan Toles and for Cheetah Delgado and anybody who plays that position.
Seminoles.com: Can playing point guard help you be a better shooting guard?
Deluzio: Definitely. Playing that spot can't hurt me. I told myself that over and over again last year because you are constantly in control of the ball and have to handle it and be team-first player. It really helped my ball-handling skills and just helped me become more of a leader."
Seminoles.com: How difficult was it for you last year to finish the season without what has been an annual trip to the NCAA Tournament?
Deluzio: It was very difficult. Very, very difficult. When you are so used to winning and so used to being successful it's tough. I came into a culture here that was all about winning and that's what we did every year, we won. So last year was very eye opening in the sense that it showed me just how hard you have to work to not only create that culture but to maintain it. I think that's why I am so excited about this year. Me and Chasity Clayton are the only two left on the team that have been to the Elite Eight and have experienced that success and we want to recreate that culture so that the girls can continue it.
Seminoles.com: Speaking of you and Clayton, is there a lot of pressure on you two to be leaders as redshirt seniors on this team?
Deluzio: I don't really view it as a lot of pressure but rather a great opportunity. I think if I were to think of it as pressure I would probably drive myself crazy. But it's a great opportunity to be in the position that we are in and able to play that extra year. We just want to recreate that culture that has been here the last several years.
Seminoles.com: This will be the fifth season that you are a part of this program. How much have you grown as a player and person since you came to Tallahassee?
Deluzio: As a basketball player I feel like it's inevitable to grow so much here because we have such great resources and a great coaching staff. As a person I came here shy, quiet and I didn't change as a person but I have grown so much since I got here. I am opinionated, I have a say in things and I speak my mind. I think definitely as a person I have grown a lot.
Seminoles.com: You have seen firsthand the amount support and passion that the Boosters have for the women's basketball program. What has that meant to you?
Deluzio: It really means everything. The Boosters, they make the experience for us. Without them I know I wouldn't have been able to experience the things that I have experienced. Just the players we travel and stay and it's really a once-in-a-lifetime experience for myself and a lot of the players here who come from backgrounds who maybe can't afford those sort of things or wouldn't have been able to experience that. So the Boosters giving of their time and money has been so beneficial and it has created an experience that we will never forget."