FSU Women's Basketball: Farewell to Sara Bejedi, End of an Illustrious College Career

2023 Invesco QQQ Basketball Hall of Fame Women's Showcase - Florida State v UCLA
2023 Invesco QQQ Basketball Hall of Fame Women's Showcase - Florida State v UCLA / Greg Fiume/GettyImages

The Florida State Seminoles’ basketball season has officially come to an end following their NCAA first-round loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide. There are a lot of factors that take place in the defeat. There was a poor third quarter where the Seminoles were outscored 23-11 during the period. Or you could look at the dominant performance from Essence Cody which allowed the Crimson Tide to keep dancing. 

The season’s end means that Florida State has to say goodbye to fifth-year senior Sara Bejedi. For the last four years, Bejedi has bled Garnet and Gold and represented Florida State at the highest level. Bejedi shined as the team's best perimeter defender while also having her shining moments offensively. 

Bejedi plays the game at one speed. Her mentality is to remain in attack mode and set the tone for the rest of her team. Sometimes it can be a gift and a curse as there were many times when Bejedi was playing too fast and above the pace of the game. Regardless, fans still appreciated her high motor and ability to remain poised and confident. 

Bejedi wasn’t originally a Florida State Seminole. She started her college career at Arizona State and played a small role as one of the key contributors off the bench. Bejedi was nicknamed “the energizer bunny” by her team. It describes her play style as she continued to provide tremendous energy on both ends of the floor. 

Bejedi’s one season at Arizona State was very productive. She had two double-digit scoring performances and played a big role in helping the Sun Devils become a leading contender in the PAC-12. However, it was time for a change of scenery for Bejedi after her freshman season. She wanted to join a program that would help her elevate and shine at a high level. Florida State was a school that was in contention to sign Bejedi before she chose Arizona State. Despite not picking them the first time, the Seminoles welcomed her with open arms when she decided to transfer. 

Bejedi’s career as a Seminole got off to a slow start. She only appeared in four games during the 2020-21 season. Luckily, she was fully healthy and ready to go by the next season. During the 2021-22 season, Bejedi did a little bit of everything in the limited minutes that she had. She continued to wreak havoc as a ball-stopper but also contributed at a high level offensively with scoring, rebounding, and playmaking. Bejedi’s impact helped the Seminoles finish the regular season with a 16-12  record and advanced to the quarterfinal of the NCAA Tournament. 

The beauty of Bejedi’s college career was her continued growth as a player. Not only was she contributing to the stat sheet but also became an important voice for the team. Bejedi’s leadership came into play as the 2022-23 season progressed and she showed up in pressure situations for the team. 

Bejedi continued to emerge as a two-way talent in her third season at Florida State. What continued to stand out was her defense as she was known as one of the best defenders in the ACC. When conference play began, she delivered big performances with three 20+ point performances and made big plays down the stretch of games. 

A big Sara Bejedi moment took place on January 19th in a matchup against Virginia. While the Cavaliers held a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, the Seminoles needed their key players to step up in their comeback. Down the stretch, Bejedi showed poise and confidence. As the Noles climbed their way back into the game, she knocked down two huge threes and had a driving layup to extend Florida State’s lead late in the fourth quarter. She finished the contest with 15 points while taking a 77-68 victory on the road. 

The Seminoles later made the NCAA Tournament again but fell to Georgia in the first round. Heading into the 2023-24 season, Bejedi was entering her last college season. She already accomplished so much as a Florida State Seminole and wanted to close this chapter of her life on a high note. With that being said, the goal for Bejedi was to appreciate her last season and cherish every moment. 

Throughout the season, Bejedi continued to be a leader and set examples on and off the floor. The Seminoles got off to a great start to the season and the momentum continued when conference play began. The ACC once again was a tough conference and teams couldn’t afford a night off. With that being said, the Noles had to play efficiently every night to keep afloat. 

Conference Play was a rollercoaster for Florida State. They had moments where they looked like the best team in the ACC as well as times where they went on a losing streak. For Bejedi, her highlight of the season came on January 14 against Virginia Tech. As Florida State got off to a 4-1 start to conference play, their biggest test came early against the reigning Conference Champions. 

While Virginia Tech featured dynamic duo Elizabeth Kitley and Georgia Amoore, Florida State needed another player to step up offensively next to Ta’Niya Latson. While players like O’Mariah Gordon and Makayla Timpson contributed at a high level, it was Sara Bejedi who stole the show. She started the first quarter with 14 points and never looked back. Her huge plays down the stretch led to the Seminoles running away with the win. In the end, Bejedi's career-high 31 points led the way to an 89-81 victory at home. 

As the weeks went by, the career of Sara Bejedi was winding down. However, she still had more to give. On February 15, she reached 1,000 career points in a road win over Wake Forest. Weeks later, Bejedi stepped up big in the Seminoles’ regular-season finale against Clemson, providing two three-pointers and a clutch free throw down the stretch. The Seminoles reached the ACC Tournament Semifinal before falling short to NC State. Nearly two weeks later, they fell short in the NCAA Tournament once again. 

In four seasons, Sara Bejedi left her mark in her Garnet and Gold uniform. She set the tone for what it means to play with passion and to give everything you have. Off the court, she was a sweet soul. On the court, she turned into an animal that was searching for its prey. As Bejedi said her final goodbyes to her college career, she leaves the game as one of the fiercest players to ever play for the Florida State Seminoles.

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