As the champion of 16 straight conference tournaments, Old Dominion has traditionally entered the postseason on a winning streak. That momentum, however, has not carried over any of the past four years.
The seventh-seeded Lady Monarchs look to end their five-game NCAA tournament losing streak when they face 10th-seeded Florida State on Saturday at Palo Alto, Calif., in a Fresno Regional first-round game.
Old Dominion (24-8), which has won 12 straight, seeks its first tournament win since advancing to the 2002 Mideast Region final, in which it fell to eventual national champion Connecticut. The Lady Monarchs have lost in the first round each of the last four years.
“Old Dominion is a very historic program with a lot of tradition,” Florida State coach Sue Semrau said. “They play a tough schedule outside of their conference, and (Old Dominion coach) Wendy Larry does a tremendous job coaching them, so it will be a tough, tough matchup for us.”
Though Florida State (22-9) can’t match Old Dominion’s long-standing tradition, at least the Seminoles have been able to advance beyond the first round in each of the previous two seasons.
The Seminoles earned an at-large bid to join five other qualifiers from a deep ACC to make their fourth NCAA tournament appearance since 2001, and seventh in school history. They have never advanced past the second round.
Old Dominion guard T.J. Jordan was named Colonial Athletic Association tournament MVP for the second straight year after scoring 17 points in a 78-70 win over James Madison in Sunday’s final. Jordan averaged 15.0 points in the tournament, slightly above her team-leading season average.
Jordan was held to 10 points in an 87-72 loss to George Washington in the first round of last year’s NCAA tournament. The junior shot 3-for-15 from the field as the Monarchs lost despite playing in their home city of Norfolk, Va.
The Seminoles, meanwhile, hope they can regain their sharpness after their four-game win streak ended with a 76-49 defeat to N.C. State in an ACC tournament quarterfinal on March 2. It was Florida State’s lowest-scoring game this season.
Florida State will have had a layoff of more than two weeks to prepare for Saturday’s game.
“We beat everybody we were supposed to, but we didn’t get the big wins that we would have liked,” Semrau said. “We’re definitely excited to be in the tournament.”
Forward Alicia Gladden, the Seminoles’ only senior, leads Florida State with a 13.4-point average.
Should the Seminoles reach the second round for a third straight season, they might get a chance to avenge their 88-70 loss to Stanford from last year’s tournament.
The winner of this game is likely to next face host Stanford, the second seed in this region which opposes 15th-seeded Idaho State on Saturday.
Old Dominion routed Florida State 100-65 on Jan. 17, 1982 in the only meeting between the teams.