TALLAHASSEE— For the FGCU women’s basketball team there is no time to celebrate.
A day after the FGCU women won its first Division-I NCAA tournament game in school history, the women were right back on the court practicing for the match-up against Florida State on Monday at 6 p.m.
“Yesterday was an exciting day for us getting our first Division-I NCAA tournament win and we are moving on,” FGCU head coach Karl Smesko said. “We will prepare today for Florida State, who I believe is just an excellent team, a team very capable of going to the Final Four this year.”
For Smesko, moving on is part of the plan. He is not one to dwell on previous games.
“We let them enjoy the win for a little bit,” Smesko said. “They went back to the hotel and got something to eat. The coaches all got together and started to prepare for the next game. We all moved on. We are on to the next challenge.”
The next challenge is a tough one. The Eagles face one of the best teams in the country on their home floor where they are 15-0. The two-seed Seminoles blew out 15-seed Alabama State 91-49 yesterday.
“They are so physical,” FGCU senior guard Jenna Cobb said. “They push the ball better than anyone I have seen in a very long time. I think that the physicality they play with and the pace that they do things make them so good.”
Fitting with how Smesko keeps his team focused, the team didn’t celebrate the victory last night; instead they watched film on FSU.
“I think they just play really well together,” FGCU junior guard Stephanie Haas said. “They mesh well together. They also push the ball a lot and they do it really well.”
However, for the players coming down from the emotional high that they were on yesterday won’t be a problem.
“I think we kind of feed off of that feeling of transition,” Cobb said. “We use it as ammunition to get going. We’re just all so excited and just so happy that we’re all like ‘already let’s get ready for Florida State.’”
Nobody is happier than redshirt junior Whitney Knight who played for FGCU when they lost in 2012 in Tallahassee to St. Bonaventure.
“When that clock hit triple zeroes it was just an amazing feeling,” Knight said. “I can still remember the feeling after the overtime loss and how it was like a pit in my stomach. So just to have that opposite feeling is just great. To get a win especially on this court was a different feeling that will never be duplicated.”
FGCU faces FSU tomorrow night at 6 p.m. in Tallahassee on ESPNU for a trip to the Sweet 16.
Follow Justin and FGCU’s run in the NCAA tournament on Twitter at @FGCUEagleNews and @ByJustinKane
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(EN Photos/ Kelli Krebs)