Florida State women's basketball forward Erin Howard: 'No one is talking about us'

Tallahassee Democrat
Tallahassee Democrat

Florida State women’s basketball forward Erin Howard remembers where her team placed in the ACC Preseason Poll.

She also understands why the Seminoles finished ninth.

Longtime FSU coach Sue Semrau retiring in March left the program in a state of uncertainty. And even after the Seminoles promoted top assistant Brooke Wyckoff, they quickly lost seven players to the transfer portal.

What FSU showed through its first eight games, though, has Howard wondering why her team is still not receiving the recognition she feels like they deserve.

“No one is talking about us,” Howard said.

More on FSU women's basketball:How Florida State women's basketball will look much different under new coach Brooke Wyckoff

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The unranked Seminoles (7-1) are worth mentioning after they nearly went undefeated in November and averaged 85 points per game (13th nationally) during that span.

Freshman guard Ta’Niya Latson continues to lead the group, coming in at No. 6 in the country in points per game (24.4). Forward Makayla Timpson has taken a noticeable step forward as a sophomore, averaging 13.1 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game.

And for the last five games, FSU has held up despite being without its second-leading scorer in Taylor O’Brien (16.3 points per game). The first-year transfer from Bucknell remains out indefinitely with an injury.

Even before O’Brien’s absence, the Seminoles relied on their entire bench. All 10 of FSU’s players receive at least 12 minutes per game, and eight of them average 17 minutes or more.

“We have 10 players who can come in and impact a game,” Wyckoff said. “We have had players like Ta’Niya who have been very consistent in what she has brought, which has been phenomenal.

“But around her, we have had different players step up game after game and make huge impacts. No matter what a team is throwing at you, you have an answer for it.”

With a loaded December schedule, the Seminoles have an opportunity to prove themselves this month.

FSU will first take part in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, facing Wisconsin (3-5) on the road at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (TV: Big Ten+).

The Seminoles then will have a three-game home stand against Stetson (Dec. 4), Texas Southern (Dec. 11) and Presbyterian (Dec. 15) before challenging No. 3 UConn in Uncasville, Conn. (Dec. 18). FSU starts ACC play to round out the month, hosting Miami (Dec. 21) prior to playing at No. 6 North Carolina (Dec. 29).

How the Seminoles look against the Huskies and the Tar Heels should be a telling glimpse of what this team could accomplish.

"We are the underdog," said Howard about FSU not garnering enough attention to her liking. “There is no pressure on us. Not nothing to lose, but in a sense, nothing to lose. So going out there every night to prove people wrong.”

FSU men's basketball:Florida State men's basketball falls short in gritty effort against No. 5 Purdue

Florida State learning from close games

Wyckoff pinpointed one reason why the Seminoles suffered their first loss of the season to Oklahoma State last Thursday.

FSU had an uninspiring defensive effort in the first half before falling 79-77 in the Women’s Cancun Challenge game in Mexico. The Cowboys entered halftime with a 49-35 lead after shooting 19 of 36 (52.8%) from the floor and 7 of 12 (58.3%) from three-point range.

OSU totaled only 30 points in the second half, shooting just 1 of 12 (8.3%) from three-point range and 10 of 32 (31.3%) overall. While the Seminoles fell short, they bounced back with victories over Purdue (76-75) and Harvard (88-57).

“I learned who we are when faced with adversity or failure,” Wyckoff said. “I was really excited to see how we bounced back from that first loss and really from a bad first half in that first loss. …

“The next two days, they responded exactly as you would hope. We came out with a really positive trip overall.”

Coming into the season, FSU figured to experience some growing pains.

The Seminoles have been learning an entirely different system – a pace-and-space style – under associate head coach Bill Ferrara Jr. And from freshmen Brianna “Snoop” Turnage and Latson to transfers Jazmine Massengill and O’Brien, they have a few fresh faces after losing several players.

Following its trip to Cancun, FSU has now played in five games that have been decided by single-digits. The Seminoles having so many close games this early in the season figures to only prepare them for ACC play and the postseason.

“It’s nice to not just be out winning by 20-plus – although that is fun as well,” Wyckoff said. “But to get those tight games against good teams early on so we can really see what we need to work on, see how we can improve and see what we are made of.”

FSU football players talk about future:Defensive end Jared Verse, safety Jammie Robinson discuss bowl game plans

Erin Howard returning home vs. Wisconsin

When the Seminoles face the Badgers, Howard will be having a homecoming game of sorts.

Howard, a Madison, Wis. native, expects to have more than 100 friends and family members attend the game. She played high school basketball at the local Madison East High, and her father, James Howard, played on Wisconsin’s basketball team for a season.

“It’s very exciting,” Erin said. “I’ve circled this game since coach Brooke called and told me that we are playing Wisconsin. I grew up there. I’m from there.

“I literally lived 10 minutes from campus. So it’s a great opportunity to go home and play in front of my parents, my family and all of my friends who are going to come out.”


Who: FSU (7-1) vs. Wisconsin (3-5)

When/Where: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Kohl Center in Madison, Wis.

TV/Radio: Big Ten+/96.5 FM.

Reach Carter Karels at or follow him on Twitter @CarterKarels. You can also follow our coverage on Facebook (NoleSports) and Instagram (tlhnolesports).

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