Florida State, Florida Gulf Coast should be up-tempo matchup
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) When the ball goes up in the Florida State and Florida Gulf Coast matchup both teams will be off and running. Both like to play up-tempo on offense and apply plenty of defensive pressure.
They will square off Monday night with a berth in the Sweet 16 awaiting the winner.
The Seminoles (30-4) won an NCAA Tournament opening round game for the 12th straight time dating back to 1991 with a 91-49 blowout of Alabama State on Saturday. FGCU (31-2), seven seed, outlasted Oklahoma State 75-67 for its first women's NCAA Division I tourney win.
''We know what we're going up against, we've seen them play,'' FGCU junior guard Kaneisha Atwater said. ''It's time for business.''
Both teams have topped the century mark in games this season.
The second-seeded Seminoles are averaging 76 points a game and posted a season- best 110 in a Jan. 25 runaway over Wake Forest; FGCU, a No. 7 seed, averaged 72.6 points a game and scored 102 points on Nov 23 against Ave Maria, a private Catholic university in Southwest Florida that plays in the NAIA.
''We've got to come up with a game plan where we use our strengths,'' Florida State coach Sue Semrau said of the showdown with FGCU. ''Some varying styles and yet some similarities.''
Some things to look for in Monday's matchup:
FATIGUE: While both teams are aggressive, the styles are different - Florida State goes nine deep while FGCU, a seven seed, substitutes little. ''I'm not real worried about the fatigue factor,'' FGCU coach Karl Smesko said. ''Just the pace that Florida State plays with and the physicality of Florida State.''
WILL POWER: The game could come down to a test of wills. Florida Gulf Coast loves to shoot the 3 and will drive hard to the basket if the defense crowds them outside. Florida State makes more of its living on the inside where Adut Bulgak, Ivey Slaughter and Shakayla Thomas account for 34 points a game and are all strong rebounders on the nation's third best rebounding team.
TRANSFER IMPACT: One of Smesko `s major concerns is Florida State sophomore point guard Leticia Romero, a transfer from Kansas State who became eligible in late December, is the one who makes the Seminoles go. ''They were really good before she became eligible and then you add one of the best players in the country,'' Smesko said Sunday. ''She's an exceptional point guard. Her decision making is phenomenal.'' The 5-8 Romero narrowly missed her second triple double of the season in Saturday's 91-49 rout of Alabama State when she scored 14 points, had 10 assists and eight rebounds.
DYNAMIC DUO: FGCU guards Kaneisha Atwater and Whitney Knight present their own problems for Florida State. The two combined for 45 points and 18 rebounds in the Eagles' 75-67 win over Oklahoma State in Saturday's opening round. ''Florida Gulf Coast does a great job of putting it on the deck and shooting the 3's,'' Florida State coach Sue Semrau said. ''They're really tough to guard.'' The 6-3 Knight, the Atlantic Sun Conference player of the year, presents a particularly unique challenge. Playing outside on offense where she is a deadly 3-point shooter and moving inside on defense to rebound and block shots. ''The matchups are all very interesting,'' Semrau said. ''It's going to be a great basketball game.''