FSU Women hope to break through to first Final Four
STOCKTON, Calif. (WCTV) -- Monday night's objective is obvious. The Florida State Women's Basketball team hopes to reach the program's first ever Final Four.
Sue Semrau and the Lady Seminoles are sitting atop a 28-6 record, and rallied from 17 points down Saturday to beat a second-seeded Oregon State program that finished the season with a top ten ranking and was fresh off of a 2016 Final Four run.
Now, for the second time in three seasons, South Carolina is the only thing standing between FSU and program history.
It won't come easy, however. The Gamecocks have been on a roll in recent weeks, winning the SEC Championship over Mississippi State, and beating two of their three NCAA tournament opponents by more than 40 points.
South Carolina is no stranger to Semrau's program. The Gamecocks beat FSU 80-74 in the 2015 Elite Eight, on the way to their first final four in program history. The two teams have also scrimmaged each other the past two off-seasons.
Both programs also used the share a conference, the now-defunct Metro Conference, from 1983 until 1991, when FSU and South Carolina departed for the ACC and SEC, respectively.
This year, the Gamecocks may have one of their toughest squads ever. Led by A'ja Wilson, who averages 17.9 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game. The Gamecocks are efficient and rank in the top 20 in turnovers per game.
It will be a match up between two of the country's top offensive teams. The Lady Seminoles are 12th in the nation, averaging 79.8 points per game. South Carolina averages 76.5 points per game, good enough for 20th.
The Seminoles will again need a big performance by Shakayla Thomas, who has notched three double-doubles in three tournament games. Her most recent performance against Oregon State included 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Both teams are also used to big wins. Florida State averages the nation's fifth-best scoring margin, winning by an average of 21.8 points. South Carolina is right behind them with the seventh-best margin, averaging 19.7 points in their victories.
One thing is for certain Monday night in Stockton: The Seminoles hope to seal a big win. Which would be their biggest win in program history.
Tip off for FSU vs. South Carolina is Monday night at 9:06 p.m. The game will be aired on ESPN. The winner takes on Stanford Friday, in Dallas.