Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida State women's basketball star Jacinta Monroe improves confidence, consistency

Junior forward Jacinta Monroe, left, saw her game take off in the NCAA Tournament and worked harder than ever this summer.

Courtesy of Florida State University

Junior forward Jacinta Monroe, left, saw her game take off in the NCAA Tournament and worked harder than ever this summer.


It wasn't your typical self-evaluation. Shoot: For Florida State forward Jacinta Monroe, it sounded more like a confession.

"Last year, my confidence level was fluctuating," said the 2006 Gatorade Florida girls player of the year out of Fort Lauderdale. "It was high one day and then low the next day. It had nothing to do with the opponents. It was me. I just had confidence issues."

Injuries and academic issues forced coach Sue Semrau to use 18 different starting lineups in FSU's 33 games, and the lack of continuity affected Monroe more than any other player.

But that wasn't the whole story.

"There were some games where a couple bad plays or whatever and you'd lose her," senior guard Mara Freshour said. "And it was hard to get her back."

Not so these days. Monroe, a 6-foot-4 junior, worked harder than ever in the offseason on her game and exudes a palpable assuredness that each and every night, she will play well. Very well.

That sure bodes well for the No. 21 Seminoles, who begin their quest for a fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth Sunday against visiting Florida Gulf Coast.

"She comes with a maturity to practice. She doesn't let things bother her; the circumstances outside no longer dictate how hard she's going to go," Semrau said. "Her mind is made up that she is going to be a dominant player regardless of who's on the floor."

If so, look out. Despite her admitted up-and-down season, Monroe still averaged 10.2 points (third on the team behind now senior guard Tanae Davis-Cain and Freshour), 6.2 rebounds (team high) and 2.4 blocks (to give her 141, 69 shy of breaking the school record set by Brooke Wyckoff).

Monroe will tell you that the turning point came in last year's postseason. After a lackluster performance in FSU's loss to Duke in the ACC tournament (she had two points and one rebound in 16 minutes), she had eight points and nine rebounds in an upset of Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament and followed that with 14 points (4-of-9 shooting from the floor and 6-of-7 from the line) and a game-high 13 rebounds in a 73-72 overtime loss to Oklahoma State.

"The light switched on for me," she said.

Her coaches and teammates sure have noticed a difference.

Monroe had 29 points and 15 rebounds in FSU's first exhibition game, but Semrau said the most impressive thing that night was that she was steady and sure, even in how she boxed out and directed her teammates — things that don't show up in a box score; things that didn't always show up in Monroe's game.

"She's bringing a confidence that I've never seen, and she's also bringing a consistency," Freshour said.

The presence of freshman center Cierra Bravard should help Monroe maintain both traits. The 6-4 Bravard is powerfully built and will demand double teams in the post. That should create more space for everyone and help stabilize everyone's role at both ends of the court.

"Last year, I knew I was needed, but, as far as my niche and what I was good at, I wasn't too sure, I was just all over the place," Monroe said. "Because of the work I put in over the summer, my confidence has skyrocketed. Not to the point where I'm going to be boastful about it, but where I can go in, night in and night out, and play hard and score."

Brian Landman can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3347.

Florida State women's basketball star Jacinta Monroe improves confidence, consistency 11/10/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 13, 2008 5:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Donald Trump calls for NFL to set a rule forbidding players from kneeling during national anthem


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is up and tweeting, and his target is the NFL.

    The Dallas Cowboys, led by owner Jerry Jones, center, take a knee prior to the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Monday in Glendale, Ariz. [AP photo]
  2. No gimmes in scrappy Wiregrass Ranch's volleyball district

    Volleyball Preps

    WESLEY CHAPEL — Wiregrass Ranch High coach Michelle Davis is realistic about her volleyball team this season. They will scrap for every point. They will never give up. They will encourage each other no matter what.

     Wiregrass Ranch High School girls volleyball player Jaizah Anderson (2) gets ready to spike the ball during Thursday's (9/21/17) match with Zephyrhills High School in Zephyrhills, Fla.
  3. Steelers' Villanueva apologizes, says he didn't intend to stand alone during anthem (w/video)


    PITTSBURGH — Alejandro Villanueva just wanted to get a glimpse of the American flag, the symbol he wore on his military uniform during three tours in Afghanistan before beginning an unlikely journey from Army Ranger to the NFL.

    Alejandro Villanueva stands alone during the national anthem at Soldier Field in Chicago. [Associated Press]
  4. Rick and Tom podcast: Bucs' Gerald McCoy frustrated with disrespectful fans


    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss Gerald McCoy's latest comments on disrespectful fans who attack his teammates, Donald Trump, protests by DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans, and his respect for the …

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) warms up before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  5. NFL owners' unity with players might be short-lived


    The image was striking — several owners of NFL teams locking arms with their players on the sidelines Sunday, and the Cowboys' Jerry Jones on Monday night, in a dramatic statement of defiance to a president who ridiculed their sport and condemned players for refusing to stand during the national anthem as a …

    Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, currently without a team, has cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for not standing during the national anthem. [Associated Press]