FSU Women's Basketball: Sara Bejedi's Impactful Week Leads to Seminoles' Success

The fifth-year senior stepped up to the plate as she led the Seminoles to two big wins against ranked opponents
Seminoles senior Sara Bejedi (4) shoots as FSU women's basketball faces Duke at the Donald L. Tucker
Seminoles senior Sara Bejedi (4) shoots as FSU women's basketball faces Duke at the Donald L. Tucker / Chasity Maynard/Tallahassee Democrat /

Florida State had an eventful past week. On the football side, Mike Norvell shut down the rumors of being the next head coach of Alabama as he signed an extension to remain head coach. Also, the two basketball teams were able to grab huge wins to add to their winning record. If there was one player who stood out amongst the men's and women’s basketball teams, it was Sara Bejedi. The fifth-year senior is making the most of her final chapter as a Seminole with continued leadership both on and off the court. 

The Seminoles had a busy week ahead of them as they hosted two top-25 teams on their home court. First on the dock was the North Carolina Tar Heels, who was known as one of the best defensive teams in the ACC. How were the Noles going to overcome the physicality and rotations of the Tar Heel defense? Well, a solid game plan from head coach Brooke Wyckoff allowed the team to be prepared for the upcoming matchup.

After the Noles lost a nail-biter to NC State in overtime on January 4, the team responded with a big win on the road against Clemson. It seemed like Sara Bejedi had a couple of good shootarounds leading up to the game because she was on fire in the contest against the Tigers. In the game against NC State, Bejedi shot only 3-14 from the floor. How did she respond? By scoring 19 points against Clemson and shooting 5/7 from the three-point line. 

Bejedi’s contributions against Clemson helped the Noles get back in the win column. However, it was back to the drawing board. The ACC is a conference where you can’t take any games off. There’s one elite matchup after another and they must bring their best effort if they want to come out on top. 

The Seminoles were preparing to host two ranked matchups on their home floor, for the first time since 2017. The first team on the dock was the North Carolina Tar Heels. These teams matched up well as they featured talented guards and had a great post presence. With two ranked matchups on their home floor, Bejedi understood she needed to step up as an upperclassman. She wanted to continue her great shooting performance against Clemson and apply the same energy moving forward. 

Thursday night was a showdown against North Carolina. The Seminoles did an excellent job defensively by rotating well and disrupting the Tar Heels’ halfcourt offense. Bejedi had the task of defending guard Deja Kelly, who was the Tar Heels’ best perimeter scorer. Bejedi takes every defensive challenge personally. When coach Wyckoff asks her to defend the team’s best scorer, she rises to the challenge and looks to have the edge over her opponent. 

While Florida State took care of business on defense, everything took care of itself on the other end. Ta’Niya Latson is normally the one who leads the charge on offense. However, the sophomore guard only finished with eight points in the evening. With that being said, Bejedi took the role of being the leader on offense. She carried her hot shooting from Clemson back to Tallahassee where she scored 23 points on 5-9 from three. Over the two games, Bejedi shot 63% from three and showed no signs of slowing down. 

It was a big win for Florida State as they protected their home floor against one of their ACC rivals. However, it was back to the drawing board as they prepared for a matchup against Virginia Tech. This was a team that thrived as a unit with great ball movement and execution. Led by their 1-2 punch, Elizabeth Kitley, and Georgia Amoore, Virginia Tech was one of the best in the ACC and looked to repeat as conference champions. 

Sunday was a big test for the Florida State Seminoles. While they had their share of success, they also had their struggles in matchups against the top-ranked teams in the country. Once again, this was where the Noles’ senior had to lead the way. Being the veteran of the team, Bejedi understood her energy would play a big role in this matchup. 

From the start of the game, Sara Bejedi was in attack mode. She started her afternoon with a corner three and never slowed down. Bejedi came out of the gates with 14 first-quarter points and led the Noles to a double-digit lead. Despite Virginia Tech going on an impressive second-quarter run, Bejedi continued to stay aggressive on both ends of the floor. 

The fourth quarter belonged to the Seminoles’ senior. As Bejedi started the game with a wing three-pointer, she did the same to start the final period. Florida State did an excellent job sharing the ball and finding high-quality shots. It’s a reason behind their 15-0 scoring run in the final period. Bejedi continued to steal the show with one three-pointer after another. She also rocked the crowd down the stretch as she forced Liz Kitley into an offensive foul. In the end, the Seminoles pulled the upset in an 89-81 victory behind a career-high 31 points from Bejedi. 

Based on her recent performances, Bejedi was awarded in multiple ways. Not only was she a leading factor in two home wins but also won ESPN Player of the Week, USBWA National Player of the Week, and also being a part of NCAA March Madness’ starting five for week 11. In multiple interviews, Bejedi has always expressed her lack of receiving accolades throughout her career. However, after an impressive week, she had, the world took notice of her true value for the Florida State Seminoles. 

The final season of Sara Bejedi continues to be impressive. She may not deliver big-scoring performances on a nightly basis. However, she’ll always show her importance to the team by being the best perimeter defender on the team plus setting the tone as well. In a tough ACC conference, Bejedi will have to continue the momentum as the Noles take on Syracuse Thursday night in New York.

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