By BRIAN LANDMAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 17, 2001
Florida State women's basketball coach Sue Semrau knows the possible ramifications of Thursday's home game against ACC rival North Carolina.
For the first time since FSU joined the ACC in 1991, the Seminoles are on the cusp of a national ranking, which would be a boon in perception and confidence for Semrau's team. FSU received 16 votes in the latest Associated Press poll, tied for sixth among the group outside the Top 25.
But Semrau can't be -- and isn't -- concerned about that.
"They do so many nice things," Semrau said of the Tar Heels, "so the focus has to be on the basketball game and not any implications. Fortunately we have a team that's very concerned with each game as it comes and really not any of the what ifs. We have a vision of where we want to go."
That's out of the ACC cellar and into the league's upper echelon.
FSU's best league finish was fifth: 8-8 in 1991-92. This season's team has a win over then-No. 12 North Carolina State, and it gave No. 5 Duke one of its toughest games, (73-60).
"They're probably the best they've been in a long, long time," UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said of the Seminoles.
A win against UNC would move FSU into at least a three-way tie for second in the league at 4-2 with Virginia and Clemson. If Duke were to lose at home Thursday to N.C. State, there could be a four-way tie for first.
"Any win in this conference really is taking steps for us," Semrau said. "We've worked hard to lay a foundation and get some consistency in our program. I've been really pleased with the way our players have responded. They really are zeroed in and focused."
WHO MADE THIS SCHEDULE? Men's basketball coach Steve Robinson, realizing he would have a young team, had hoped for a less daunting schedule. He hasn't gotten it. His team has the nation's 21st-toughest schedule, and that's not counting Tuesday's game at No. 13 Virginia.
Up next for Robinson's bunch is No. 6 North Carolina on Saturday. BIG-TIME ADDITION: The up-and-coming track and field program should get another leg up on the competition with the hiring of former Olympic champion Maicel Malone-Wallace. She won seven NCAA titles during her career at Arizona State and a gold medal in the 4x400-meter relay in the 1996 Olympics. Malone-Wallace will work with the men and women sprinters, some of whom will race Friday at the Virginia Tech Invitational, the third indoor meet of the season.
GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER: Heisman winner Chris Weinke is the scheduled special guest for the United Way/Heisman Foundation Super Celebration on Jan. 26 at the Coliseum. Tickets are $100. For more information, call (727) 789-4406 or visit www.supercelebration.com. For tickets call Ticketmaster at (813) 287-8844.
- Brian Landman covers Florida State. He can be reached at (813) 226-3347 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.