Jan. 8, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) - The No. 18/17 Florida State women's basketball team faces its second ACC test of the season as it travels to battle Miami on Thursday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m. at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Fla.
The game will not be televised or streamed through ESPN3.com, but fans not in attendance can listen to the action on WNLS 1270-AM and through Seminoles.com. Play-by-play man Jonathan Schillace will lead the call while color analyst Melissa Bruner will also assist breaking down the game.
"Miami is an extremely tough opponent that we are very familiar with," FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. "Katie (Meier) has done an outstanding job with this talented group of versatile scorers and they will present some challenges for us defensively. Miami is coming off a convincing win in their opener at Wake Forest and we expect a great battle with another in-state rival."
The Seminoles (13-1, 1-0) are 33-11 all-time against Miami, including 12-6 on the road against the Hurricanes (9-5, 1-0). In ACC games, FSU leads Miami 11-5 since the 2004-05 season. FSU is looking to start 2-0 in the ACC for the sixth time in school history. The other times FSU started 2-0 in ACC play were in 2000-01, 2006-07, 2008-09, 2010-11 and last year's 2012-13 campaign.
Florida State defeated Miami three times last season, including a 70-58 victory in the first round of the 2013 ACC Tournament. Prior to last season, the last time FSU defeated a conference opponent three times in one season was in the 1990-91 year when it defeated both Cincinnati and Louisville three times apiece in its final year in the Metro Conference.
FSU is searching for its 10th consecutive win against Florida-based opponents on Thursday night. Its current win streak vs. teams from the Sunshine State is the longest since winning 15 straight from Feb. 9, 2006 to Nov. 18, 2008. The Seminoles enter their matchup with Miami riding a nine-game win streak, the program's longest since winning 10 games in the 2009-10 season that featured FSU's first-ever trip to the NCAA Elite Eight.
FSU's 78-69 win at Pitt in the conference opener on Jan. 2 marked the fifth time this season that the `Noles never trailed in a ballgame. FSU also never trailed against Prairie View A&M, Jacksonville, UNF and Pacific. The `Noles forced junior scoring leader Brianna Kiesel of Pitt into eight turnovers. It is tied for the second-most turnovers by an ACC player this season.
FSU senior guard Cheetah Delgado is just nine assists away from cracking the Top 20 career assists list at FSU. Delgado has 231 career assists in just 47 games played, including only 19 started. It took Sue Galkantas, who owns the 20th spot, 120 games to reach 240 assists.
Helping FSU tremendously through its nine-game win streak is senior forward Natasha Howard. She has made a career-best 12 field goals in back-to-back games, going 12-of-14 vs. UT Martin on Dec. 28, 2013, and 12-of-15 at Pitt on Jan. 2, 2014. The Toledo, Ohio, native has 31 career double-doubles to tie former FSU star Sue Galkantas (1981-84) for the school record. She has five double-doubles this season, and her season high is 12 as a sophomore (2011-12 year).
The `Noles are looking for a repeat performance of its last experience facing the Hurricanes on the road. FSU's last trip to Miami resulted in a 93-78 win by the `Noles on Feb. 10, 2013, shooting 53.8 percent (35-of-65).
The matchup for Miami is its ACC home opener. Miami started off conference play on a good note with an 84-53 road victory at Wake Forest on Jan. 4. Junior Suriya McGuire led the `Canes with a career-high 22 points in the win that ended Wake Forest's five-game winning streak.
With the help of their two sophomores, Caprice Dennis averaging 13.4 points and 2.1 rebounds and Keyona Hayes with 11.2 points and 6.3 rebounds, the Hurricanes have been able to outscore their opponents by averaging 72.4 points per game with a +12.6 scoring margin.
Redshirt junior Jassany Williams helps the Hurricanes with her presence in the low post. She is currently tied for third in the ACC in blocked shots. The Hurricanes rank second in the ACC in blocked shots and in the Top 25 nationally.
Following FSU's road contest at Miami, the `Noles return home for its ACC home opener on Sunday, Jan. 12, at 1 p.m. to face No. 13/12 North Carolina at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
For more information on Florida State women's basketball, follow the Seminoles on Twitter at @FSU_WBasketball and like their official Facebook page (Facebook.com/FSUWomensBasketball).