After an amazing run to close out the season, the Oregon State Beavers are back in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. The Beavers drew the 8 seeded Florida State Seminoles in the first round, in what should end up being one of the most closely fought games of the opening round. Here’s what the Seminoles look like.
- Record: 10-8
- Head Coach: Brooke Wyckoff (Interim, First Season)
- Leading Scorer: Bianca Jackson, 13.9 PPG
- PPG: 65.6
- OPPG: 64.8
It’s been a strange year for Florida State. In addition to the general strangeness that comes with playing sports during a pandemic Sue Semrau, who has been the team’s head coach for over 20 years, took a leave of absence for family reasons. That meant the Seminoles needed their first new head coach since 1997.
Assistant Coach Brooke Wyckoff, who was a star for the team in the late nineties, filled that gap and has performed well. Wyckoff guided the team to a fifth place finish in a very competitive ACC. The season was highlighted by a huge win over Louisville, at the time ranked third in the country, back in February.
The Seminoles are lead by an elite group of guards, with Bianca Jackson and Morgan Jones each averaging over 13 points a game. Jackson is one of the team’s best three point shooters, and also leads the team in assists. She’ll be the pivot point the Beavers need to attack to shut down the FSU offense.
Jones plays a midrange G/F style game. She doesn’t get out to the perimeter as often, getting most of her points from short jumpers or layups, though she can score from distance if needed. She leads the team in rebounds, and is a big threat defensively in terms of blocks and steals.
The Seminoles usually start four guards, and Kourtney Weber and Sammie Puisis round out the starters. Weber gives Florida State another balanced scoring threat; she’s shooting .452 overall and .393 on three pointers. Puisis, meanwhile, is all threes. Of the 140 shots she’s attempted this year, 108 have been from behind the arc. She’s only hit 31, for a .287 shooting percentage, but with that kind of volume she’s a big scoring threat.
The point being, the Seminoles have the tools to really stretch the perimeter. That could leave the floor open for the team’s starting forward, Valencia Myers. Myers wants to control the post, and on defense she’s going to be tough to deal with. She’s blocked 24 shots so far this year; between Myers, Jones and River Baldwin the Seminoles have three double digit shot blockers.
This is the kind of team that Oregon State has struggled with historically. They’ll be able to match up with the Beavers three point shooting, and if OSU’s shooting goes cold at the wrong time could just out to a sizeable lead. Myers is also going to frustrate with her shot blocking ability.
Still, Oregon State is also the kind of team that could give Florida State issues. Florida State seems like the kind of team that could struggle with the shear number of threats the Beavers can put on the floor. Granted, I am a homer, but with how good the Beavers have been lately I’d have to give them the edge.
Tip off against Florida State is set for Sunday at 4:30 PT. The game will be aired on ESPN2.