Semrau, Florida State focused on Oregon State (Mar 22, 2017)

BY AP • March 22, 2017

STOCKTON, Calif. -- Third-seeded Florida State's quest for its first women's basketball title in school history continues Saturday against another program that understands the Seminoles' situation.

Like Florida State, second-seeded Oregon State has its eyes on its first national championship as well.

The two tangle in the Stockton Regional of the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16, with a spot in the Elite Eight awaiting one team. And for whomever wins, a date with either No. 1 seed South Carolina or No. 12 Quinnipiac -- the two teams in the other half of the bracket -- looms Monday night.

Florida State (27-6) is making its third straight Sweet 16 appearance -- and fifth in head coach Sue Semrau's 20 seasons with the program. The closest the Seminoles have come to hoisting the NCAA championship plaque was in 2010 and 2015 when they reached the Elite Eight.

But believe it or not, Florida State -- which has made the NCAA Tournament in 12 of the last 13 seasons -- isn't concerned with that statistic. The next game is the only thing on its mind, Semrau said.

"It's about right now. Right now we talk to them about getting some rest and we don't play until Saturday and we are just going to take it one day at a time," said Semrau, who earned her 400th career win in Florida State's victory against Missouri after advancing with an equally easy win in the first round against Western Illinois.

"Everybody wants to look forward and talk about this, that and the other. Right now, we want to enjoy this. This is a hard thing to do and it really separates you if you can be one of 16 teams in the country that get a chance to play on this second weekend."

Oregon State (31-4) is making its second straight Sweet 16 appearance after the Beavers easily dropped Creighton 64-52 on Sunday. Oregon State, however, nearly didn't make it this far after staving off 15th-seeded Long Beach State, 56-55. The Beavers made it to a program-best Final Four last year, but fell to eventual champion Connecticut.

But with a corps of players back from last season and loaded with experience, another run at the title may be in the cards. Oregon State's senior class finished 60-6 record at Gill Coliseum, site of the first two rounds, and now it is hungry for more.

"What a great finish to their home career, to be 60-6 is astounding," coach Scott Rueck said. "Simply incredible. A place that had never won a Pac-12 title before their arrival and now they have won three straight. Now they are going to be able to participate in their second straight Sweet 16 with a chance of more."

The Seminoles bring to the table ACC Player of the Year Shakayla Thomas, a double-double machine who leads a high-octane offense that ranks in the Top 15 in scoring (12th, 79.8 points per game) and field-goal percentage (13th, 46.6).

On the flip side, Oregon State boasts one of the nation's top scoring defenses, holding opponents to 54.1 points per game on average. Guard Sydney Wiese leads the Beavers' attack at 15.1 points per game.

With Stockton considerably closer in terms of distance for Oregon State fans than those of Florida State, the Beavers are hoping that their secret weapon this weekend is back-to-back home-court advantages.

"A lot of people were saying to me as I walked off the floor, 'See you in Stockton,'" Rueck said Monday. "What a great opportunity for us to go down there and have an opportunity to play two games in front of our fans once again."



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