Dec. 18, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida State women's basketball team, in its final stretch of non-conference contests, will host Mercer on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
The Seminoles (8-1) are back in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll at No. 23 this week following a 96-60 victory over Grambling State on Saturday in Tallahassee.
After winning only eight games combined in the past two seasons, Mercer has a 6-3 record this season under third-year head coach Susie Gardner. The Bears are led by sophomore guard Precious Bridges (17.3 ppg) and are coming off of a 65-55 win over Alabama State on Dec. 16.
"It's very important to play a full 40 minutes," head coach Sue Semrau said. "Mercer is a much improved team. I have so much respect for Susie Gardner and the job she has done there. We have to be gearing up to play our best basketball at this point in the year."
Led by senior guards Leonor Rodriguez (16.9 ppg) and Alexa Deluzio (15.4), FSU ranks first in the country in three-point shooting (.472), fourth in field goal percentage (.497) and fifth in scoring (82.2). The Garnet and Gold are also the only team in the country with five players averaging double figures in scoring. Senior forwards Chasity Clayton (12.8) and Chelsea Davis (12.7) and junior forward Natasha Howard (14.3) join Deluzio and Rodriguez.
Davis and Howard were especially dominant on Saturday versus the Tigers. Each tallied double-doubles as the Noles held a 58-27 advantage on the glass.
Semrau wants more of the same and said rebounding has been the Noles No. 1 priority at recent practices.
"We've been a team that had been a great rebounding team at the beginning of the year, but in the three games prior to Grambling we didn't do a good job on the boards," Semrau said. "We've got to get tougher. We've got to get more rebounds."
Semrau is 16-0 all-time against teams in the Atlantic Sun, and the Seminoles hold a 28-12 record against the conference. Mercer is actually 6-4 in the all-time series with FSU, winning the first six contests from 1973-1981.
Florida State defeated A-Sun member Stetson, 76-44, in the third game of the season on Nov. 18. Howard and Davis led the way with 23 points and 22 points, respectively.