March 21, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) - The No. 10 seeded Florida State women's basketball team makes its 13th NCAA Tournament appearance on Saturday as it faces No. 7 Iowa State at 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT on ESPN2 inside the Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.
Calling the action on ESPN2 will be play-by-play man Clay Matvick and color analyst Fran Fraschilla. Jonathan Schillace and Melissa Bruner will be on the radio on WNLS 1270-AM as well as through Seminoles.com.
"Iowa State is a very good team. Not only can the guards shoot it, but the center can shoot it," FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. "We decided early with an eight-player rotation we needed to be diligent and really good at something. I think we've been pretty good with our zone this season and I think it will be a good matchup on both ends."
Florida State is making its 13th NCAA postseason appearance and ninth in its last 10 seasons. It is 9-2 all-time in NCAA Tournament first-round games. FSU has won its first game of the NCAA Tournament in its last 10 appearances dating back to 1991.
Florida State's selection to the Ames, Iowa, first and second-round site brings back memories for FSU head coach Sue Semrau. In 2001, she made her first NCAA postseason appearance at FSU in Ames, Iowa, coaching second-team All-American and current assistant coach Brooke Wyckoff in that season. Florida State Athletics Senior Women's Administrator Vanessa Fuchs was also a player on that team.
"It's really fun," Semrau said about coming back to Ames where she made her first NCAA coaching appearance. "I have a boss now who played in that game (vs. Iowa State). I've got an assistant coach who played in that game. You see how things can go full circle. There's a lot of satisfaction to see how far we've come 13 years later."
The `Noles are a No. 10 seed for the third time in school history. The last time was the 2007 NCAA Sweet 16 squad that reached the regional round for the first time. FSU is a double-digit seed in the Big Dance for the fourth time ever.
FSU and Iowa State will face off for the second time on Saturday. The first time also came in postseason play, as the Cyclones defeated the Seminoles, 85-70, in Ames on March 18, 2001, in the NCAA Second Round.
The `Noles have a connection to Iowa State in reserve sophomore guard Emiah Bingley. The energetic player spent a semester as a Cyclone during her freshman season in the 2012-13 year.
In the current Field of 64, Florida State's daunting schedule has shown as it has played 12 teams in the tournament. Florida State is participating in its ninth NCAA Tournament in the last 10 seasons. All but three of FSU's NCAA postseason appearances have come under Semrau.
The Seminoles enter the NCAA postseason with nine Top 100 RPI wins. They include Syracuse (25), Michigan State (51), Stetson (58), Florida (63), Pacific (75), UT-Martin (76), Virginia (83) and Miami twice (94).
Florida State enters the NCAA postseason averaging 70.6 points per game. The 2013-14 squad looks to be the 19th FSU squad to average above 70 points per game in a season. Senior forward Natasha Howard is averaging 29.2 points over Florida State's last nine games played. Included in her recent hot streak are five 30-point games that has elevated her scoring from 17.9 ppg to 21.2 ppg.
Florida State gets back to playing a non-ACC school for the first time since defeating UT-Martin by a 76-53 score on Dec. 28. In 13 non-ACC games this season, opponents weren't as efficient against FSU's zone scheme. Non-ACC opponents shot just 32.6 percent (247-758) and averaged just 54.7 points against the `Noles.
Redshirt sophomore guard Morgan Jones looks to give FSU a boost in NCAA Tournament action. In non-ACC games this year she averaged 14.5 points and shot 37 percent from three-point range.
Iowa State is ranked 23rd in the USA Today Coaches Poll, with the Cyclones (20-10) owning a 10-3 all-time record at the Hilton Coliseum in NCAA Tournament play. The Cyclones are the nation's top free-throw shooting team, shooting 80.4 percent from the charity stripe.
The Cyclones have four double-figure scorers, headlined by senior forward Hallie Christofferson and her 18.6 points per game. She is one of four Iowa State players to earn a spot on one of the All-Big 12 Teams, garnering first-team honors. Junior guard Nikki Moody earned a spot on the second team, while freshmen Seanna Johnson and Jadda Buckley were part of the All-Big 12 Freshman Team.
Iowa State has not lost a non-conference game all season, going 11-0 which includes a 78-42 win against common opponent Cincinnati.
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).