It's not so much the first round draw that the Florida State women's basketball team faces that seems daunting- it's the venue and the team looming in the second round that seem almost unfair.
The Lady Seminoles, an 8 seed, will face off with Princeton on Sunday at 5 PM in Waco, Texas. That, in itself, is a tall enough order but looming in the wings should the Seminoles advance are the top-ranked, defending national champion, Baylor Bears with star Britney Griner.
"I don’t even know who we’re playing after Princeton," joked head coach Sue Semrau. "That’s something we have to do a good job of thinking about our first opponent, that’s the only game that’s promised and we’ve done a good job in the past of being able to really focus on what we need to focus on."
The Seminoles are back in the tournament after a one-year hiatus. Under Semrau the Seminoles had reached the dance for seven straight years before 2011-12's disappointing season. Since that point the team has been deeply motivated to return to the NCAA tournament and redeem last year's team.
This year they were 22-9 and more than happy to take an 8 seed when the tournament committee made its selections.
"It’s great, that’s something that going into the postseason was obviously on our mind strongly," said Semrau. "I’m really proud of this senior class that made this push and made this happen this year."
"We’re expecting a tough first game, Princeton is not an easy team. We watched film a little bit yesterday, they’re very fundamental so that will be tough," said senior guard Alexa Deluzio. "But I think our team is just excited to be back in the tournament, last year we didn’t make it so we kind of had that hunger to get back and we accomplished that.”
But Florida State isn't just happy to be back in the tournament, they're looking to make a statement. They know what a meeting with Baylor in the round of 32 would mean.
They also know they can't look past Princeton.
"Princeton’s a really solid team," said Semrau. "They have the player of the year in the Ivy, they have the defensive player of the league in the Ivy. They are certainly a quality basketball team."
But while Semrau refuses to even acknowledge the challenge that may lie just a round ahead, joking she's never even heard of Britney Griner, her team is acutely aware.
"I mean obviously, we as individual players we kind of look forward to that matchup, we have to take care of Princeton first like I said they’re not an easy team at all," said Deluzio. "Baylor’s a tough team, but that’s going to make the victory that much more sweet.
"I’m looking forward to it."
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