After losing much of their production from last season, most would think there would be a drop-off this season, but that hasn’t been the case. With wins in each of their first two ACC games of the season, the Florida State Seminoles now own a 14-1 record and are ranked 22nd in the AP Poll.
Even though there were some big losses from last year’s team, there is still a great veteran presence on the roster along with young talent, and are coached by Sue Semerau in her 22nd season. The Lady ‘Noles are led by three juniors — Nicki Ekhomu, Nausia Woolfolk, and Kiah Gillespie — and in their last game against North Carolina, the trio combined for 50 of the team’s 64 points.
It has been the same story all season, too, as they have combined to average 44.9 points this season. Gillespie has led the team, averaging 17.9 points and a team-high 9.3 rebounds. The redshirt-junior has been a huge factor this season, which is her first in Tallahassee since transferring from Maryland.
Woolfolk and Ekhomu have each stepped up their games this season as well, with each raising their scoring averages by four points per game. But it hasn’t just been the juniors to play well so far this season.
Freshman Valencia Myers has added some much-needed strength inside to help Gillespie. Myers has averaged 8.9 points and 7.3 rebounds as a starter in all 15 games. She also has 25 blocks, which is more than double the closest player. Gillespie has 11 on the season.
Not only were the last two games huge because they were against ACC opponents, but they were also both road games. Winning on the road in conference matchups is a huge deal, and the Lady ‘Noles have done it thanks to strong finishes.
They may not have needed such strong finishes in some games, but they definitely have in their ACC games. Against Virginia, they trailed by six entering the final frame, but thanks to a strong fourth quarter, they left Charlottesville with a two-point win.
But a 14-1 start doesn’t mean much now because the rest of their schedule looks pretty difficult. Of their remaining 14 games, four are against teams currently ranked in the top-12, including the two top-ranked teams in country — Notre Dame and Louisville. They also play Miami twice, who is receiving votes in the AP Poll and is just barely outside the top-25.
The good news is that because they already took care of business in two away games, only six of their remaining 14 league games are on the road, hosting three of their four games against ranked opponents and splitting with the Hurricanes.
The next game on the schedule is hosting Clemson on Sunday, the first of two games against the Tigers. They are currently 11-5, but three of their losses did come against ranked teams at the time. They are led by a group of veterans as well in Kobi Thornton, Simone Westbrook, and Danielle Edwards.