The Daily Nole

Women’s Basketball Gaining Momentum at the Best Time

Perrone Ford/FSU athletics

Far too often in the past few years have the FSU basketball teams been on inverse paths. The women’s team has often been the “prime jewel” so to speak, making it to the NCAA Tournament for three straight years, including an Elite Eight appearance last season. Meanwhile, the men’s team has seen a tournament drought since 2012.

Yet this year has been different. Both teams had high expectations coming into the 2015-2016 campaign. While neither have reached their full potential, both are on the upswing and fighting for postseason play. The more successful of the two has been the women’s team by far.

For a little while, it seemed that the team had hit some serious speed bumps. A six game stretch earlier in the season resulted in them splitting the contests 3-3, which included a loss to in-conference foe Louisville. The other two teams were top-ranked Connecticut and a top-25 Arizona State squad. Those aren’t bad losses by any means, but the inability to beat a then-ranked team was frustrating for those who assumed the Noles would be back to last season’s form.

How did the Seminoles respond? By winning eight straight games, including a top-25 win over rival Miami.

Some of the buzz around the team has died down because of aforementioned factors, but heading into the ACC Tournament and beyond, it has shown that it is still a serious threat. How, exactly?


With seven games left in the regular season, the numbers being put up by multiple players are lessons in basketball efficiency. Take for example, these couple of stats: There are six players on the team who have taken more than 100 total field goal attempts. The lowest percentage is .304 from Emiah Bingley (who coincidentally also has taken the second most 3-pointers). Despite that rather low number, the average shooting percentage is a .452 mark.

Quite simply, if starters are shooting at a rate of 45 percent, you will probably win most of your games. It’s a large part of why FSU is ranked among the nation’s top 25 offenses. Paired with a top 25 defense, and the Seminoles are right back at where they needed to be.

Shakayla Thomas has a serious argument for being the best player this season — despite only starting six games so far. Thomas is already a very decorated sophomore, having won three accolades her freshman season. It might be too soon to tell, but if Thomas continues on her current pace, she will have an even betteryear when it is all said and done.

Thomas is currently the leading scorer, averaging 17.5 points per game while shooting better than 58 percent. She is also the third leading rebounder (5.7 per game) and has the fourth most steals on the season with 25. Thomas is doing all this with at least 30 less minutes than any of the current starters. She is playing the best basketball of her career so far and has asserted herself as more than just the sixth option.

Some of the numbers might be skewed because of Thomas’ focus on playing inside, which also explains why she has only taken one 3-point attempt this year. But that has largely been Florida State’s offense for at least the past couple of years. The players it has, like Adut Bulgak inside and slashing scorers like Leticia Romero, necessitate an offense that operates more at close range.

The next test for the team will be an away game at Duke (17-7), and it will then close out the season with two top-25 teams (Notre Dame and Miami) in five games. The Seminoles have a total of seven regular season games remaining. If they can finish out the season on a 6-1 streak, it would almost certainly carry over into postseason.

If there’s one thing everyone has learned in the past two decades, it is this: never doubt a Sue Semrau coached team.

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