Sue Semrau wanted to see what the future of the Florida State women’s basketball program would look like.
So he went to the Donald L. Tucker Center and saw the Seminoles’ first preseason exhibition last Sunday.
Just seven months after her retirement, Semrau saw a team that played very differently from the one she coached for the past 25 seasons. Which might be surprising considering that new FSU coach Brooke Wyckoff spent her entire college basketball experience learning under Semrau.
“She is putting them in a position to use their strengths,” Semrau said of Wyckoff, who was a star striker for her from 1997 to 2001 and served as one of her assistant coaches for 11 seasons (2011-2022).
“That’s the sign of a good coach.”
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FSU scored their most points in an exhibition or game in program history that night, defeating West Georgia 115-46. Four days later, the Seminoles surpassed that unofficial record with a 119-27 victory over Flagler College in another exhibition.
West Georgia and Flagler College, two Division II programs, are obviously not the best competition. But if there’s one thing to take away from those blowouts, it’s that FSU intends to present a modernized offense based on pace and space.
The first chance to see these revamped Seminoles on a game stage will be when they host Bethune-Cookman for their season opener at 11 am Monday (TV: ACC Network Extra).
“That’s the goal of all basketball players: They want to play for free,” Wyckoff told the Democrat. “They want to do what they want. This is a great mix of structure with freedom and simplicity.”
How much FSU turned over its roster after last season could present a challenge. The Seminoles only returned shooting guards O’Mariah Gordon and Sara Bejedi, and forwards Makayla Timpson, Erin Howard, Valencia Myers and Mariana Valenzuela.
Gordon missed both shows with a foot injury and is out indefinitely.
Seven of last season’s FSU players were transferred to other programs: forward River Baldwin (NC State) and guards Morgan Jones (Louisville), Bianca Jackson (Georgia Tech), Sammie Puisis (USF), Kourtney Weber (Mississippi State), Amaya Brown (New Mexico) and Izabela Nicoletti (Fairfield).
The Seminoles added two transfers at guards Taylor O’Brien (Bucknell) and Jazmine Massengill (Kentucky). O’Brien led the Bisons with 16.7 points last season. Massengill was ranked No. 8 nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.76).
Guards Ta’Niya Latson and Brianna “Snoop” Turnage are the two freshman additions to FSU. Latson, a former five-star recruit from American Heritage High in Plantation, is expected to be one of the Seminoles’ best players.
“This basketball is going to be different,” Semrau said. “Brooke was one of the best defensemen I’ve ever coached. She led Florida State in blocked shots forever. She was a great rebounder. That will always be what she’s about. …
“But this year’s offense, because of the different skills that are on the floor, it’s much faster. It’s much more fluid in the sense that they throw the ball a little bit earlier on the shot clock and really rely on speed and movement.
“It’s going to be a really exciting brand to watch.”
More about Sue Semrau:Florida State women’s basketball coach Sue Semrau announces her retirement
FSU Rhythm and Space System Explained
Before getting his promotion, Wyckoff already had an idea of who he would like to hire as his head assistant coach.
Bill Ferrara Jr.
The two knew each other from their recruiting battles and the training clinics they attended while Ferrara was serving as an assistant coach for Florida (2015-17). Wyckoff surprisingly recalls receiving a text message from him after Semrau announced his retirement.
He felt it was a sign.
“It’s crazy. We didn’t talk very often. Hardly ever, but we had each other’s numbers,” Wyckoff said. “He texted me and was like, ‘Hey, I just saw the news. Having a good time. Just thinking of you.’ …
“Everything that has happened since then points to the fact that this was correct. This was the perfect fit for everyone.”
As an assistant coach, Ferrara helped rejuvenate the offenses of several women’s basketball programs. She has been to Central Michigan (2007-10), Hofstra (2010-13), George Washington (2013-15), Florida (2015-17), New Mexico (2017-21), and St. John’s (2021-22). .
Now, he’s looking to improve the Seminoles with his philosophy of pace and space.
“There aren’t many places that are going to play like us,” Ferrara said.
Whether it’s threes or ones, Ferrara insists on scoring three points on every shot with this system. He also empowers his players to treat every possession like a fast break, using tempo to drive the ball.
And instead of using deliberate pace to establish an offensive set, FSU often strikes within 10 seconds of the shot clock.
“It makes us incredibly difficult to protect,” Ferrara said. “Most transition defenses are based on having someone behind and then having someone pick up the ball and pick up the point guard.
“We don’t have a point guard. Whoever has the ball is our point guard”.
It’s also an offense that seems to be a good fit for Latson.
Latson had a game-high 36 points on 13-of-18 shooting, along with seven rebounds and six assists, in just 21 minutes against Flagler College. He posted 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting against West Georgia.
Ferrara said Latson has the best instincts for a freshman he has ever seen, and he coached 2021 WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones in George Washington.
“It’s a lot of fun. I’ve always played like this. This is my game,” Latson said. “So I’m glad I picked Florida State, especially with the new system they had. I think it really fits my game and allows me to be me.” same”.
What Latson and the Seminoles look like against improved competition will be worth watching outside of conference. Ferrara expressed optimism about how it will all translate.
“When I accepted the job, the first text I got was from Sue,” Ferrara said. “Sue texted me and said, ‘Bill, you’re taking this to a place we haven’t been yet.’ And I believed that. That’s why I’m here.
“I’m not here to beat West Georgia and just go to the NCAA Tournament. The standards here are quite high.
“And because we have a special leader and someone who believes in this place the same way she does, I think there’s no limit to what we could do.”
A closer look at Brooke Wyckoff:Florida State coach Brooke Wyckoff embraces new landscape of women’s college basketball
Wyckoff continues to emphasize defense, rebounding
FSU will look totally different offensively.
But Wykcoff wants to keep every other aspect of his team the same. She doesn’t want to sacrifice defense and rebounding for a better offense.
“You can’t make defense not be an emphasis,” Wyckoff said. “We scored 115 the other day, and the pace and space look great when the ball goes in. But we can’t count on the ball going through the basket every time.
“We have to be able to play defense. The elite teams in this league are really strong defensive teams. I mean, they’re really good offensively. But their defense anchors them.
“So the offense is fun, and I’m glad we have it. And I’m glad we can do that. But our success will be anchored on the defensive end and rebounding. Or we won’t be very good.
Takeaways from FSU’s victory over Miami:FSU Seminoles crush Miami, become bowl eligible for first time since 2019
FSU Women’s Basketball Schedule
Nov. 7: Bethune-Cookman, Tallahassee (11 a.m.)
November 10: at Kent State, Kent, Ohio (7 p.m.)
November 13: Georgia State, Tallahassee (2 p.m.)
November 16: Florida, Tallahassee (6 p.m.)
November 19: in Houston, Houston (5 p.m.)
November 24: Oklahoma, Cancun, Mexico (11 a.m.)
November 25: Purdue, Cancun, Mexico (1:30 p.m.)
November 26: Harvard, Cancun, Mexico (11 a.m.)
December 1: in Wisconsin, Madison, Wis. (7:30 pm)
December 4: Stetson, Tallahassee (2 p.m.)
December 11: Texas Southern, Tallahassee (2 p.m.)
Dec. 15: Presbyterian, Tallahassee (6 p.m.)
December 18: in Connecticut, Uncasville, Conn. (1 p.m., ESPN)
December 21: *Miami, Tallahassee (noon)
December 29: in North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC (8 pm)
January 1: at Georgia Tech, Atlanta (2 p.m.)
January 5: Clemson, Tallahassee (6 p.m.)
January 8: at Boston College Chestnut Hill, Ma. (noon)
January 12: North Carolina State, Tallahassee (6 p.m.)
January 15: Louisville, Tallahassee (1 p.m.)
January 19: in Virginia, Charlottesville Va. (7 p.m.)
January 22: Pittsburgh, Tallahassee (2 p.m.)
January 26: at Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana (8 p.m.)
January 29: Duke, Tallahassee (6 p.m.)
February 2: Wake Forest, Tallahassee (2 p.m.)
February 9: in Miami, Miami (6 p.m.)
February 12: at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia (2 p.m.)
February 16: Syracuse, Tallahassee (6 p.m.)
February 19: Georgia Tech, Tallahassee (2 p.m.)
February 23 at Wake Forest, Winston-Salem, NC (6 p.m.)
February 26 Sunday: at Clemson, Clemson, SC (2 pm)
March 1-5, Wednesday-Sunday: ACC Tournament, Greensboro, NC
Contact Carter Karels at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Carter Karls. You can also follow our coverage on Facebook (NoleSports) and Instagram (tlhnolesports).
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