FSU women learning to adapt through schedule changes

Brooke Wyckoff acknowledges the frustration with all of the schedule shifts in college basketball due to the pandemic. But the interim Florida State women’s basketball coach has learned to adapt quickly.

The Seminoles (4-2, 3-2 ACC) have played just one game in January and were preparing for a matchup with No. 2 NC State on Thursday night. But the Wolfpack are in the COVID protocol and on Tuesday the ACC announced Clemson will instead fly to Tallahassee to play on Thursday at 7 p.m. (live stream on ACC Network Extra).

“It does become comical,” Wyckoff said. “It does change by the hour. If you’re going to get upset about every time there’s a change it does no good. We’ve done a great job, our players and our coaches, just adapting and being flexible. We’re just happy to be playing basketball.”

FSU has played six games but already seen 10 postponements or cancellations, although matchups with Florida and Louisville were quickly rescheduled. Still, the Seminoles lost three non-conference games, were in the COVID protocol for a few weeks and saw matchups against Duke and Virginia pushed off the schedule (both programs have halted their women’s basketball seasons).

The biggest challenge has been building a scouting report and then shelving it. And quickly building a new scouting report, on roughly 54 hours’ notice, for the next game.

On Tuesday, FSU’s coaches had done preparation for NC State but by midday had to pivot and take a closer look at Clemson. One advantage is the Seminoles and Tigers played on Dec. 17, a Clemson win, so there is familiarity.

“The attitude that everyone has had on this staff has been amazing,” Wyckoff said. “When we found out we were going to play Clemson, about an hour before we practiced, our staff did a great job of dividing and conquering and just being able to watch a bunch of film … These assistant coaches have been phenomenal. They’re able to be nimble. 

“We have film ready for all (ACC) teams. We keep the latest couple of games in the hooper so we can access them quickly. The good news is we’ve scouted a bunch of teams already. Some of these are just dusting them off.” 

This will also be FSU’s first home game since a Dec. 20 win over Pittsburgh. FSU is 3-0 in Tallahassee, securing wins over Florida, Virginia and Pitt. 

Despite the fluctuations in the schedule, FSU has adjusted. Among those are Kourtney Weber, who is one of the nation’s top 25 players in field-goal percentage (57.7) and free-throw percentage (95.5). Morgan Jones has been a consistent contributor, scoring in double figures in five of six games. And even in a loss at No. 2 Louisville on Sunday, Bianca Jackson scored a career-high 21 points.

Wyckoff said the players have had the right mindset about moving past the postponements and pushing forward.

“They have done an amazing job of rolling with the punches,” Wyckoff said. “It was really hard in the non-conference when we kept getting games canceled or postponed. We hadn’t played any (teams) yet and we just wanted to get going. That was really difficult. But they kept pushing. Now the good news about playing in conference, when one game gets changed or gets postponed we usually have been able to find one to fill in. It’s a matter of who.”

And of course quickly preparing for that game.

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