Florida State Hosts No. 25 Michigan State



Dec. 3, 2013

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) - The Florida State women's basketball team plays in its seventh Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. when it hosts No. 25 Michigan State on `White-Out the Tucker Center Night.'

The first 1,000 fans at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Wednesday will receive free White-Out T-shirts. Fans coming to the game are also encouraged to wear white.

The FSU women's basketball program is also offering a lucrative promotion for Wednesday's matchup with No. 25 Michigan State. One of the Florida State University Greeks will have the chance to win $500 for the chapter that shows the most spirit at the game.

The game will once again air live on ESPN3.com or through the WatchESPN app. Tom Block will handle the play-by-play duties while Melissa Bruner will provide the color analysis.

As with every FSU women's basketball game, fans can hear the action on WNLS 1270-AM with Jonathan Schillace and Zach Stipe on the call. The audio can also be accessed through Seminoles.com.

Since the Big Ten/ACC Challenge began in women's collegiate basketball in 2007, Florida State is 4-2. In its six-game Big Ten/ACC Challenge history, the `Noles have defeated Indiana twice (85-78, Nov. 30, 2007/82-74, Dec. 3, 2009), Penn State (73-60, Dec. 3, 2008) and Iowa (83-69, Nov. 28, 2012). FSU's two losses in the annual conference challenge include Michigan State on Dec. 1, 2010 (72-64) and Ohio State on Nov. 30, 2011 (78-75 OT).

"It's great that in our learning process we have found a way to win," head coach Sue Semrau said. "This will be a huge test for us tomorrow night with a great team coming in and the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and all of those things that make for a great atmosphere."

The Atlantic Coast Conference is 41-27 all-time against Big Ten teams in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. In terms of the actual year-by-year challenge, the ACC is 5-0-1 with the only tie taking place in 2011 (ACC 6, Big Ten 6).

Florida State is 0-2 all-time against Michigan State. Prior to their first meeting in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in 2010, both teams also met on Dec. 21, 1994, in the San Juan Shootout in Puerto Rico. The Spartans (5-2) won the contest, 82-69.

One of senior Natasha Howard's 29 career double-doubles came in FSU's last meeting with Michigan State. Howard tallied 13 points and 10 boards and is the only current Seminole who played in that game vs. the Spartans.

The Seminoles (6-1) are looking for their 26th Top 25 victory in the USA Today Poll under head coach Sue Semrau. Michigan State is ranked 25th in the poll while receiving votes in the AP Poll. Semrau has won 15 games against teams in the USA Today Top 25 Poll since the 2008-09 season.

Wednesday's game will mark Florida State's second matchup this season against Top 25 competition. On Nov. 24, FSU lost at No. 4 (AP)/3 (USA Today) Louisville by a 69-59 score in overtime.

Part of what has aided FSU's 6-1 start is its ability to hit from 3-point range as of late. The `Noles have begun to heat up from long range over the last four games. In that time, FSU has buried 25 3-pointers after connecting on just seven in its first three games of the season.

Florida State has also shown that its style of basketball means getting everyone involved and not focusing on the individual. Through their 6-1 start, the `Noles have assisted on 109 of their 194 field goals made (56.2 percent). FSU has four players with double-digit totals in assists - point guard Cheetah Delgado (42), shooting guard Morgan Jones (23), shooting guard Brittany Brown (18) and redshirt junior forward Lauren Coleman (13).

FSU's top three scorers in Morgan Jones (15.3 ppg), Natasha Howard (14.3 ppg) and Brittany Brown (14.3 ppg) have a difference of just one point. Howard has led FSU in scoring in three games, while Jones and Brown have each been the top scorer twice apiece.

Under seventh year head coach Suzy Merchant, the Spartans return three starters from the 2012-13 NCAA Tournament team which finished 25-9 overall and lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Maryland. Freshman guard Tori Jankoska leads four Spartans in double figures coming off the bench with an average of 14.9 points per game and 5.1 boards.

Senior starter Annalise Pickrel follows with 14.3 points per game, shooting 9-of-19 from 3-point range and averaging 6.9 rebounds. Michigan State stands 5-2 after a loss against IPFW on Dec. 1 with redshirt freshman Aerial Powers leading the team with 28 points and 14 rebounds in the loss.

Following Wednesday's game, FSU returns to the Tucker Center for Dads & Daughters Day on Sunday at 2 p.m. when it hosts Jacksonville.

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).


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