Jan. 22, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The No. 24/25 Florida State women’s basketball team hosts third-ranked Duke on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. in what will be a Top 25 matchup at the Donald L. Tucker Center. The game will be streamed on ESPN3.com and through the WatchESPN app.
Thursday night’s anticipated matchup with the Blue Devils (18-1, 5-0) is “Campus Group Night.” All campus groups and departments can attend the game by checking into the marketing table on the concourse level. The group that checks in with the highest attendance will get a pizza party courtesy of FSU women’s basketball.
Fans can tune into the game as play-by-play man Tom Block and color analyst Melissa Bruner will provide the commentary on ESPN3. Fans can also listen to the radio on WNLS 1270-AM with the voices of Jonathan Schillace and heralded sports information director Zach Stipe on the call, or access the audio through Seminoles.com All-Access.
“Duke is junior and senior-laden,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “They’ve got some players who have played together a long time. They lost (Chelsea) Gray last year so they know what that’s like. They’re just so solid – they’re solid in what they are looking for and what they are trying to do. They’re solid on the defensive end as well. More than anything, I think we have to rebound the basketball and I think that’s where our emphasis is going to be.”
The two ACC foes play in their 44th meeting all-time. The Blue Devils lead the series 35-8 and have won the last seven matchups. Florida State’s last win over Duke came on Jan. 29, 2009, winning 82-75 in overtime in Tallahassee. The Blue Devils were ranked No. 3 in the AP Poll that game, the second-highest ranked win in FSU history. The highest Top 25 win for the ‘Noles in the AP Poll also came against No. 2 Duke on Feb. 8, 2004, winning 80-74 in Tallahassee.
FSU owns six victories over ranked opponents who have appeared in the Top five of the AP or USA Today Poll. FSU’s last top-five win came over No. 3/3 Texas A&M on Jan. 5, 2009, winning 60-53.
In Florida State’s loss to Virginia on Jan. 19, the ‘Noles set their season high with 35 bench points. FSU was guided by the hot hand of Emiah Bingley, who totaled 21 points off the bench. FSU’s previous high in bench points was 18 against Prairie View A&M on Nov. 17.
Bingley’s performance at UVA made her the fourth different Seminole to have a 20-point effort. She joins Natasha Howard (7), Morgan Jones (2) and Brittany Brown (1). It was the first 20-point performance by someone other than Howard since Jones had 24 at Florida on Nov. 21.
The ‘Noles are enduring their first three-game losing streak since the 2011-12 season. Through their 14-1 start, FSU allowed opponents to shoot just 28 percent (90-321) from long range. Over its current three-game losing streak, UNC, NC State and Virginia have combined to shoot 42.8 percent (26-57) from beyond the arc.
FSU senior forward Natasha Howard is just three rebounds shy of becoming only the fifth player in school history to have 900 rebounds, and just the second FSU player who played in the ACC. Howard has 897 career boards. The Toledo, Ohio, native has a strong chance to rank in the Top 25 in ACC history in total rebounds. She is 80 away from tying No. 25 LaQuanda Barksdale of UNC (977 from 1998-01).
Duke has already defeated four top-25 teams, and it’s lone loss on the season was to No. 1 Connecticut. All five of the Blue Devils starters are averaging double-digit scoring, led by senior guard Tricia Liston’s 17.2 points per game.
In ACC play, the Blue Devils are 5-0 and beating teams by 22 points on average. The last time out, Duke held on to defeat Virginia Tech 74-70 in Blacksburg, Va. Liston led the Blue Devils with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-4 beyond the arc. Duke leads the ACC in blocked shots per game (5.7).
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).