The Florida State Women’s Basketball team plays its only exhibition of the preseason on Sunday against Florida Southern. Tip-off is at 2 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center and admission is free.
Sunday’s exhibition is also fan day, with team posters being available and the whole team signing post-game autographs. The kid’s zone will also be open, and a post-game shoot-around will occur on the Tucker Center court.
“In October it’s always hard to tell where you are,” coach Sue Semrau said. “But I’ve loved our energy and I’ve loved how our team has come out and tried to improve on last year. Not just settling from ‘Well, let’s just try to take off from that.’ They’re really trying to improve.”
While official rankings will not be released until next week, Florida State has been pegged as high as 11th by Lindy’s and ESPNW after returning all five starters from a season ago. The Seminoles return everyone on the 2018-19 roster – a first in Semrau’s 23 seasons at Florida State.
FSU was selected third in the ACC Predicted Order of Finish last week, with redshirt senior forward Kiah Gillespie and senior point guard Nicki Ekhomu making the 10-member Preseason All-ACC Team. Gillespie has earned a slew of preseason accolades, most recently being named to the 20-member Katrina McClain Award Watch List given to the nation’s best power forward.
The Seminoles hope Sunday’s exhibition is the starting point toward improving on last year’s 24-9 campaign which included an NCAA Second Round appearance. Florida State entered last year with plenty of questions after not returning a single starter and having one of the youngest teams in the country.
This year, expectations are high in Tallahassee once again. A program that once was ranked for 71 consecutive weeks from 2015-18 is back to its usual standards.
“Practice has been going great and the coaches have been pushing us hard,” Ekhomu said. “We’re very confident (having) the returning players.”
Added into the mix of quality returnees are three established freshmen. River Baldwin is a 6-foot-5 McDonald’s All-America center, and shooting guard/forward Sammie Puisis is a 6-foot-1 player who is also a McDonald’s All-American. High energy forward/center London Clarkson rounds out the three newbies who can all contribute this season.
“Sunday is an opportunity for us to put on the uniform, get out and see what it feels like for the freshmen, and for the new team to come together,” Semrau added. “And to get everything working the way we want it to by the home opener.”
Florida State’s season opener takes place on Nov. 5 with a matchup against Charleston Southern at 7 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
FSU swimming picks up two wins
The No.15/20 Florida State swimming and diving teams secured a pair of wins on the against Georgia Tech on the road at the McAuley Aquatic Center on Saturday.
The 20th-ranked women’s team (2-2, 1-2 ACC) defeated Georgia Tech (0-1, 0-1 ACC) 177-123, while the No. 15 men (3-1, 2-1 ACC) edged the Yellow Jackets 160-140.
“We had a good day with two road wins against a very good ACC opponent,” FSU coach Neal Studd said. “We mixed up events a little today to see some of our team in different races. It was a good day.”
The Seminoles won a combined 21 events, including all four diving events.
“It was another great performance by these guys,” FSU head diving coach John Proctor said. “They all had a great day.”
The women’s team started out with a massive lead after finishing in first and second place in the 200 medley relay. The team of freshman Tania Quaglieri, sophomores Nina Kucheran and Aryanna Fernandes and Rebecca Moynihan turned in the top time of 1:41.23 and were followed by junior Emma Terebo, sophomores Hannah Womer and Kertu Alenk and freshman Elizabeth Harris at 1:42.90.
Freshman Guilia Grasso won the 200 free with a time of 1:51.56 and Kucheran contributed over a two-second win in the 100 breast (1:02.16).
Georgia Tech picked up a one-two finish in the 200 fly, but the Noles answered with a sweep of the 50 free as Alnek (23.48) was first, Moynihan (23.55) was second and Fernandes (24.13) placed third.
Off the break, the Seminoles added another sweep in the 100 free, led by Terebo (50.93) followed by Harris (51.35) in second place and Womer (52.31) in third.
The Jackets answered with a one-two showing in the 200 back, but Kucheran followed with her second individual win of the day, taking the 200 breast with at time of 2:16.27.
Senior Ayla Bonniwell tallied a season-high score of 327.68 for the win on 3-meter and her classmate Molly Carlson followed in third at 315.15. Later in the meet, Bonniwell and Carlson were first and second on 1-meter, scoring 309.30 and 296.63 respectively.
Fernandes was the winner in the 200 IM (2:04.39) and the Noles closed the meet out with a win in the 400 free relay behind Moynihan, Terebo, Harris and Alnek at 3:24.42.
After the men finished second in the 200 medley relay, freshman Scott Pekarske picked up his first-career victory in the 1000 free behind a season best swim of 9:19.52.
Georgia Tech won the 200 free, but the Seminoles captured big points behind a first, second and fourth place showing in the 100 back. Alaniz led the way at 49.64, followed by junior Jackson Lucas in second (50.35) and freshman Francesco Peron (51.54) in fourth.
Sophomore Izaak Bastian was the winner in the 100 breast with a time of 55.49, but Georgia Tech answered with a sweep of the 200 fly.
Freshman Peter Varjasi posted his season best swim in the 50 free to win by three one-hundredths of a second, with a time of 20.04.
In diving, senior Cam Thatcher picked up his first win of the season, claiming 3-meter diving with a score of 395.63 and junior Joshua Davidson was third at 370.35.
Off the break, the Seminoles found a grove as Varjasi (44.03) and senior Vladimir Stefanik (45.05) added first and second place points in the 100 free and Alaniz (1:48.42) and freshman Nick Vance (1:49.21) added a one-two punch in the 200 back.
Georgia Tech won the 200 breast, but Pekarske won a tight race in the 500 free, clocking 4:31.73.
The Jackets won the next two races, but the Seminoles put up a sweep on 1-meter, led by Davidson (325.28), followed by Thatcher (318.90) in second and senior Aidan Faminoff in third (318.60) in order to put the meet away for the Noles.
FSU closed out the meet with a victory in the 400 free relay behind Alaniz, sophomores Max McCusker, Jakub Ksiazek and Stefanik at 2:59.68.
Florida State will visit No.9/1 Florida on Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. and return home to host Florida Southern, North Florida and West Florida on Nov. 9 at 1 p.m. at the Morcom Aquatics Center.
FSU women’s golf in third place
Senior Amanda Doherty is in a tie for second place in the individual standings, and the Florida State Women’s Golf team is in third place in the team standings after the second of three rounds in the Landfall Tradition at the Country Club of Landfall. Doherty carded a 71 in the second round – her second consecutive sub-par round – and begins play in Sunday’s final round only two strokes out of the individual lead as she plays for her first career tournament victory of her Seminole career.
Alabama played the best round of the second day and moved into first place in the team standings. The Crimson Tide holds an 11 stroke lead over South Carolina in the race for the team championship. Florida State is in third place and looking for its second top five team finish of the season. Angelica Moresco of Alabama is the individual leader after 36 holes with a total of 139. She has carded scores of 69-70.
“We put together a good, solid round today,” said Head Coach Amy Bond. “We are going into tomorrow looking to shoot the round of the day. We are excited about playing in the final group and we’ll see where we finish. We’d really like to end the fall on a high note.”