Jan. 25, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The No. 24/25 Florida State women’s basketball team tries to get back on the winning track as it hosts Virginia Tech on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Sunday’s matchup between the Seminoles (14-5, 2-4) and Hokies (10-8, 0-5) is “Faith and Family Day,” as anyone who brings in a bulletin will be admitted for just $3. There will also be a Fellow of Christian Athletes (FCA) rally following the game.
Also, FSU will be having its “Celebrate the Legacy” event this weekend, with several alumnae expected to be in town to enjoy the festivities.
“It’s exciting, we’ve got a lot of alumnae coming in this weekend and we really want to celebrate the legacy,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “I look at what they’ve been able to accomplish in a short period of time and it makes me very proud.”
The Seminoles have defeated Virginia Tech in eight of their last nine meetings since the 2006-07 season. However, Virginia Tech defeated FSU in Blacksburg, Va., last season, 71-52, behind current senior Uju Ugoka’s 21 points and 12 rebounds. Florida State has not lost to Virginia Tech at the Donald L. Tucker Center since the 2005-06 season, winning four straight in Tallahassee.
“Not only is Virginia Tech hungry for a win, but they’re a good basketball team,” Semrau added. “They defend very well and know what they want to do, and they’ve got a great player in Uju Ugoka who is a double-double every night. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
Sunday’s matchup pits two of the best post players not only in the ACC but in the country. FSU senior Natasha Howard is second in the conference shooting 63 percent from the field, while Virginia Tech forward Uju Ugoka of Lagos, Nigeria, is second in the ACC in scoring with 20.1 points per game.
The low-post battle between Howard and Ugoka should be entertaining. Both players own the second-most made field goals in a game this season by an ACC player, which is 14. Ugoka had 14 made field goals on Dec. 4 at Indiana, and Howard had a career-best 14 made field goals last game vs. No. 3 Duke.
Both teams have been stingy on defense this season. Virginia Tech ranks third in the conference in scoring defense, allowing 60.2 points per game, while FSU is fourth allowing 60.9 points per game.
One of these teams will get off the schneid following Sunday’s game. Florida State enters the game with a four-game losing streak, while Virginia Tech has lost its past six games.
FSU is coming off a tough 85-77 overtime loss to No. 3 Duke at home on Thursday. Howard became the third Seminole to record a 20-20 performance, posting 28 points and 22 rebounds in the defeat.
Thursday’s loss at No. 3 Duke had several glaring statistical anomalies. Perhaps the craziest stat was that Florida State shot a school-record low two free-throw attempts. The previous low was three on two occasions against South Carolina in 1982 and Florida in 1996.
Helping give FSU another presence on the glass has been Ivey Slaughter. She is second on Florida State averaging 8.3 boards per game. If the season ended today, her average would be tied for 14th on the school single-season list. It would also be the highest rebounding average by an FSU freshman since former player Lorraine Rimson averaged 8.7 boards in the 1983-84 season.
Virginia Tech is led by senior forward Ugoka, who averages a double-double with 20.1 points per game and 10.3 rebounds. In ACC play, the Hokies are 0-5 and have lost four of those games by seven or less. The last time out, Virginia Tech fell to Georgia Tech at home 73-52. Ugoka led the Hokies with 22 points and 10 rebounds on 8-of-19 shooting.
Following Sunday’s game, Florida State travels to Winston-Salem, N.C., to face Wake Forest on Sunday, Feb. 2, at 2 p.m.
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).