Florida State coach Sue Semrau doesn't have to mention to her team what's at stake against Oklahoma State in Des Moines, Iowa.
A win in tonight's nationally-televised game on ESPN2 would put the No. 11 seed Seminoles (19-13) in the Sweet 16 for the second straight year. They never advanced that far in the NCAA Tournament before last year. A return wouldn't be a shock if the Seminoles play as well against No. 3 Oklahoma State (26-7) as they did in Saturday's 60-49 opening-round win over Ohio State.
"It was fun for us," Semrau said Sunday in a phone interview.
Junior wing Tanae Davis-Cain scored 27, one off the school record for an NCAA Tournament game. Junior Mara Freshour, who has had to play virtually every position at some point this season, was able to be strictly the off guard — her best spot — and had 14 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and three steals.
"People did what they were capable of doing," Semrau said. "That's more of what we would have looked like throughout the course of the year had we not struggled with all the adversity we had."
Translation: Maybe then FSU would have beaten a team or two that made the NCAA and not been considered a longshot to earn its fourth consecutive bid.
Once there, Semrau said there was a "different attitude and mentality" from her players. They put that into action against the No. 6-seeded Buckeyes.
Can they do it again?
Semrau said Oklahoma State star guard Andrea Riley, who scored 26 in an 85-73 opening-round win against East Tennessee State, will be a challenge.
The Seminoles will be without sophomore forward Cayla Moore. She injured her left knee late in the first half Saturday.
"We won't be as deep," Semrau said, "but we've handled everything this year and we'll handle that, too."