February 9, 2023
Locked On Women’s Basketball: Is Florida State’s Brooke Wyckoff the NCAA Coach of the Year?
Wyckoff and star freshman Ta'Niya Latson are building something special
At the beginning of the season, no one had Brooke Wyckoff’s Florida State team where they are — 20-5 overall, 9-3 in the ACC, contending for a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament and playing a brand of basketball that is must-see every night.
Wyckoff joins host Howard Megdal to discuss how it’s all come together, what makes Ta’Niya Latson so special, and why a program defined by former head coach Sue Semrau has its sights set on something even the glory years with Sue and Brooke as a player never accomplished: a Final Four appearance.
They tackled expectations first, noting that in addition having a new coach in Wyckoff, Florida State has a relatively young roster as well. Wyckoff was officially promoted to head coach last March after serving as an interim coach.
“It was a question mark for everybody, including us. We had four brand new players, as I said, coming in with six returners. And it was really kind of a mystery. How is this all going to work? I mean, obviously, we had high hopes we were confident. But, I totally understood the low projections, I never mind those, because then you know, that we can sneak up on people. And don’t have our target that target on our back too early, without having been proven. And so I love coming into the season with that, just, hey, we have to prove something every single day to ourselves, first and foremost, and then to the rest of the world. And so, you know, I feel like we’ve done that up to this point. But we still have, we still have work to do.”
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Then, they dove into the team’s quick-moving offense and “Nope” mentality on defense that is inspired by NBA player Kawhi Leonard.
“You’re not going to score on me, you’re not going to score on us. And so it’s something we’ve had to work at every single day. We’re seeing the results now, and I’m just so proud of our team. And but it really is, if we get stops and defensive rebounds, we can go that’s when we’re at our best offensively in transition offense. And so, you know, that’s why we love basketball. It’s just geometric. Everything just works so well together. And below is when you do it the right way.”
When it came to Latson, whom Howard spoke with earlier this season, Wyckoff said her poise and ability to lead the program is building a new future for Florida State.
“She embraces pressure, she puts a healthy amount of pressure on herself and she’s able to go out and perform. It’s a lot you know, myself included, you put pressure on yourself and you start to get jittery and you make mistakes and things like that. And that’s not the case with her she’s elite mentally. Obviously, physically she’s just gifted and has a high basketball IQ. So I’m so proud of her for that and, then defensively she understands like when we can get defensive stops, and that’s the steepest learning curve, I think for freshmen is, you know, defensive rotations and being able to focus every single time where I need to be now I need a box out, she’s gotten better in that area as well. And she totally understands how important that is to what we do offensively.”
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