FSU, Ga. Tech, Georgia women all open NCAA Tournament today

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Sue Semrau just can't forget the last time Florida State hosted the NCAA women's basketball tournament.

She's tried.

"Still feel sick about that," Semrau said.

With good reason. The year was 2004, when four teams got sent to Tallahassee and Semrau's Seminoles weren't one of them. Semrau came to watch those games nonetheless, but today, Florida State's coach will have a decidedly better view -- from her own bench.

Florida State (26-5), the No. 3 seed in the Dayton Regional, hosts 14th-seeded Louisiana Tech (23-8). Playing at home can be both a blessing and a curse for teams in the women's tournament, a delicate balancing act between having the comforts of home and dealing with the burden of knowing you're supposed to win.

The Seminoles say they're embracing the chance.

"This is the granddaddy of them all, the last hurrah for the senior class," said 6-foot-5 forward Jacinta Monroe, Florida State's leading scorer and rebounder. "It's that much more important because of that, but at the same time, we can't add undue pressure to ourselves. We just have to keep a steady head, stay relaxed and play hard."

The Seminoles haven't played in two weeks, since Monroe turned an ankle in the Atlantic Coast Conference quarterfinals and Boston College quickly ushered Florida State out of that tournament, 67-60. Semrau has taken advantage of the time off -- not just to scout and practice, but to hit coffee shops and chicken joints and Mexican restaurants all over town, trying to drum up interest in the tourney.

"As coaches, you wonder what's the right button to push," Semrau said. "We really believe that the most important thing right now for us, that nobody else has, is our home-court advantage."



The No. 6-seeded Lady Yellow Jackets open against Arkansas Little-Rock today.

Georgia Tech will be making its fourth straight appearance and sixth overall in the NCAA Tournament. The Lady Yellow Jackets are 2-5 all-time in the tournament and have reached the second round in two of the last three seasons. Their sixth seed is the highest in program history. Last year, Georgia Tech, which was a No. 9 seed, defeated No. 8 Iowa on its home floor before dropping a second-round game to No. 1 Oklahoma. Tech will meet Arkansas-Little Rock of the Sun Belt Conference for the first time.

The winner of Sunday evening's game will face either No. 3 seeded Oklahoma or No. 14 seeded South Dakota State in the second round on Tuesday evening.