For the ninth straight year, Florida State women’s basketball coach Sue Semrau will be barefoot on the sideline Sunday.
When her Seminoles (9-1) take on Creighton (4-4) at 2 p.m. inside the Tucker Civic Center, Semrau will coach without shoes to raise awareness for the Samaritan’s Feet initiative.
The movement aims to ensure that all children around the world are able to have shoes.
“It’s been so important to me because it’s an opportunity for the world to know that we are so fortunate that we even have shoes. So many diseases are caused because people don’t have shoes,” Semrau said.
“Especially with basketball shoes the way they are now, you want a chance to have as many as you can and to be humble enough to see that a lot of people don’t even have shoes at all is to me one of the best gifts I can give to the people of Tallahassee and my team.”
Ahead of the game, the Seminoles also participated in a shoe drive Saturday at First Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee to provide footwear for underprivileged children in the area.
Finally back home
After a lengthy stretch of home games to begin the season, FSU has found itself playing on the road almost exclusively over the last month.
The Seminoles played their first five games of the season at home, but Sunday’s matchup with the Bluejays will be FSU’s second home game in the last 28 days.
The matchup with Creighton is the second half of a home-and-home between the two programs. FSU won 92-82 last season in Omaha, Nebraska.
Creighton will test FSU as it plays with an offense reliant on three-point shooting unlike any the Seminoles have played this season.
The Bluejays are averaging 30.8 three-point shots per game this season.
“We’re getting ready to play a team on Sunday that plays very untraditionally for what we’re used to. We’ve got to really work on doing some things untraditionally. It’s going to be fun to see how we handle it,” Semrau said.
“You’ve got to get comfortable being uncomfortable. This team, they’re used to that, they’re ready to do that.”
Creighton has hit 10 or more three-pointers in six of its eight games this season. It’s coming off a game in which it set a program record with 18 made threes on 41 attempts (43.9 percent).
“Everybody on the team, all five players can shoot from anywhere on the court,” junior forward Kiah Gillespie said.
“It’s definitely not anything that we’re used to, but I definitely think it’s something that’ll help us. There are ACC teams that have players that come off screens and shoot threes so I think it’s something we’ll definitely see down the line.”
Thriving through adversity
So far this season, FSU has been up to the task late in games.
Three of the Seminoles’ last four games — all away from Tallahassee — have been decided by four or fewer points. All three finished as FSU victories with the wins coming over Iowa in the Bahamas and on the road against Mercer and St. John’s.
“They’re young, but they’re finding a way. I think that’s important for a young team to be able to do,” Semrau said.
“It’s not like we have a ton of experience that is coming out on the floor and saying, ‘Oh, this is how we do it every time,’ but to win some close games has been really important for us.”
Added freshman center Valencia Myers, “It’s really important to know that when things are close, we are able to come together, finish it and pull it out, not get nervous, not let the pressure get to us.”
With ACC play on the horizon after just three more non-conference games, it will be interesting to see if that late-game clutch factor carries into conference play.
“I think this kind of adversity is shaping what kind of team we’ll be in the ACC,” Gillespie said.
“It’s definitely something that we need.”
Florida State vs. Creighton
When: Today, 2 p.m.
Where: Tucker Civic Center
TV/Radio: WatchESPN (Online)/106.1 FM