Florida State Women's Basketball: NCAA Tournament 1st Round Preview vs Alabama

Wake Forest v Florida State
Wake Forest v Florida State / Lance King/GettyImages

The time has finally come when the Florida State Women’s Basketball Team has made its 11th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. The ceiling is a National Championship. It’s an accomplishment that the team wants for themselves and wants the entire city of Tallahassee to celebrate with them. 

Last year, the Seminoles were disappointed in the first round as they were eliminated by the Georgia Bulldogs. It was a disappointing loss based on the fact that the game was winnable in certain stretches. Although Florida State didn’t dance to the next round, it was an opportunity for the players and coaches to look deeper into themselves. It was best to figure out where the team went wrong and figure out a way to return better than before. 

There was one piece missing last season for the Florida State Seminoles: Ta'Niya Latson. Latson took the country by storm as a freshman as she led the ACC in scoring while winning Freshman of the Year. When she went down with her injury, it changed the dynamic of the team as they were forced to play in the postseason without their best player.

Throughout this season, the Seminoles have been one of the best teams in the ACC. They are electric when pushing the ball in transition. Their pace and space-style offense has allowed them to find high-percentage shots before the opposing team can set up their half-court defense. The Noles finished the regular season with a 21-9 record and advanced to the ACC Tournament Semifinal.

The Alabama Crimson Tide stands on the other side of the first round for the Seminoles. These two teams are 5-5 in all-time matchups with their last contest taking place 13 years ago. The Crimson Tide were one of the underrated programs in the SEC and finished the regular season with a 23-8 record. They feature elite talents that include Sarah Ashlee Barker, Aaliyah Nye, Loyal McQueen, and several others. 

Alabama plays a terrific style of offense. They move the ball extremely well and always find a way for high-percentage shots. Florida State is going to have to figure out ways to close off driving lanes as well as slow down their three-point shooting. The Seminoles’ defense has shown to be versatile with switching, rotating, and recovery. With that being said, head coach Brooke Wyckoff will have the team ready to compete on the defensive end. 

A big key in this contest is rebounding. In the NCAA Tournament, teams must crash the glass to give themselves an advantage. Last season, the Seminoles were outrebounded against Georgia by 10 and gave up 10 offensive boards. On this occasion, they want to change that. With the contributions of Makayla Timpson, Snoop Turnage, Avery Treadwell, and others, the Seminoles will look to have the rebound advantage in this contest. 

Another key is the stars must shine. In her first NCAA Tournament appearance, Ta’Niya Latson is expected to put the team on her back. It’s important that she steals the show with her offensive showing and outduels Sarah Ashlee Barker. Also, the other key contributors must shine for Florida State as well. Sara Bejedi has to continue to put pressure on the defense with her shooting and attacking. O’Mariah Gordon and Makayla Timpson must also be key contributors as well. If the Seminoles want to come out on top, it will have to be a great showing for the team offensively. 

A win against Alabama in the first round would only be the beginning for the Florida State Seminoles. It would be a confidence booster as they would dance to the next round motivated and ready to win again. If you ask me, I believe Florida State has a great shot at making the Elite Eight. The road will not be easy but the team has been battle-tested all season and will be prepared for the challenges ahead of the NCAA Tournament.