NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament notebook | Southeastern Louisiana, Florida State players out with injury

The Lions are missing one of their top players in the NCAA Tournament, while the Seminoles are down to eight active players.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Southeastern Louisiana head coach Ayla Guzzardo talks to the media during the 2023 NCAA First Round women’s basketball pre-game press conferences and open practices at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, March 16, 2023.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Editor

Southeastern Louisiana will be without one of its top players for its matchup against Iowa on Friday.

Lions head coach Ayla Guzzardo confirmed guard Alexius Horne will be out for the tournament with a knee injury. Horne, who also missed the Southland Conference Tournament, was a first-team All-SLC selection this season.

“I don’t want to say it changed our whole dynamic, because throughout this whole season, we have had players really step up, a different variety of players,” Guzzardo said. “But Lex was one of those people that had been consistent pretty much all year.”

But the Lions aren’t counting themselves out of the tournament just yet. Guzzardo pointed to multiple players who have stepped up throughout the season, including junior Hailey Giaratano, freshman Jalencia Pierre, and sophomore Taylor Bell. 

Southeastern Louisiana is in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history after winning the Southland Conference Tournament last week. The Lions also won the Southland regular season championship.

“Winning two championships, that was a blessing,” Pierre said. “But as we come over here, we are trying to make a statement for ourselves even bigger than what it is now. So we just have to come out here and play our best ball.”

The 15th-seeded Lions will take on the second-seeded Hawkeyes on Friday at 3 p.m. at a sold-out Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

While the Lions only averaged 455 fans a game in Louisiana, they’ve been preparing for the 15,000 Iowa fans on Friday afternoon.

This past week we have been focusing on talking loud, being able to hear each other and just focusing on that,” Giaratano said. I think if we really focus in and hear each other, hear our play calls, hear what our coaches are saying, I think we’ll be okay.”

Florida State playing with eight available athletes

The Seminoles also caught bad luck with injuries on Thursday, as the team announced that both Ta’Niya Latson and O’Mariah Gordon will miss the entire tournament with injuries.

Latson, an honorable mention All-American as a freshman this season, was the Seminoles’ leading scorer at 21.3 points per game.

“Sitting out due to an injury is tough, but sitting out during March is even tougher,” Latson said in a statement posted to her Twitter. “Even though I will not be on the floor this postseason, I will be behind my team, cheering them on from the sidelines every step of the way.”


Florida State head coach Brooke Wyckoff said Latson’s injury was something that popped up during the ACC Tournament, but she didn’t disclose the nature of either of her players’ injuries.

With both Latson and Gordon out, the Seminoles are down to eight players for their NCAA Tournament run.

“Fortunately or unfortunately, we’ve been in this situation before throughout the season,” Wyckoff said. “We’ve been down to eight players at certain times, so that’s one of the things that I love about our group, is that we only have 10, but I feel that — I’ve always felt we’re deep. Any of those 10 are capable and ready to step in and play and give valuable minutes.”

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