Dec. 19, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) - As the conference season approaches following the New Year, the No. 24/23 Florida State women's basketball team looks to handle a few more non-conference tests beginning with this weekend's Long Beach Classic at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif.
The Seminoles (9-1) start the tournament by facing Pacific on Friday evening at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The winner of the matchup faces the winner of Long Beach State/Richmond on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, while the consolation game is played at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.
Fans can listen to all of this weekend's action by tuning into WNLS 1270-AM on the radio or through Seminoles.com. Jonathan Schillace, host of the popular "Schillace In Your Face" segment, will provide the play-by-play while Melissa Bruner will give the color analysis.
"With each game we are looking to take steps in the right direction and be where we want to be when the ACC season comes around," FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. "We've got an opportunity to play a good Pacific team on Friday night and hopefully advance to the championship game on Saturday night. It's good for our team to be able to travel out West, face strong competition and hopefully come away with some valuable learning experiences that can help us the rest of the year."
Florida State and the Pacific Tigers (4-4) have never faced off before. The Seminoles return to the state of California for the first time since the 2007 NCAA Tournament. FSU has fond memories of its last trip to the Golden State, defeating Old Dominion in Palo Alto in the first round (85-75) before knocking off No. 2 seeded Stanford (68-61) to reach the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time ever.
Florida State is riding a five-game winning streak entering Friday night's game against the Tigers. Over the course of the win streak, the `Noles have allowed opponents to score just 48.8 points per game.
Freshman forward Ivey Slaughter had a career-best performance in FSU's last win over North Florida on Monday. The physical player from Macon, Ga., scored a career-high 19 points and tallied 11 boards, her fourth double-double of the season.
The `Noles made a key addition to their rotation in their last game against UNF, as sophomore guard Emiah Bingley made her season debut after sitting out the fall semester due to NCAA transfer rules. Bingley's addition means FSU now has nine active players on its roster.
Semrau has great familiarity with the state of California. She earned her bachelor's degree in communications at UC-San Diego while being a co-captain and co-MVP on the basketball team. Semrau then received her master's degree in athletic administration from USC.
FSU will keep riding the hot play of senior forward Natasha Howard, who leads the team with 16.3 points per game. Howard is one of two ACC players who are in the Top 10 in the conference in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage, joining Wake Forest forward Dearica Hamby.
Having played at Florida State for just over a year, senior guard Cheetah Delgado is just 36 assists away from cracking the Top 20 career list. Delgado has 204 assists in her FSU career, and that includes just 15 games as a starter.
Defensively, the `Noles continue to wreak havoc on the opposition. FSU's stifling 2-3 zone defense is allowing opponents to shoot just 32.1 percent from the field, which ranks as the eighth lowest in the nation. Through the first 10 games this season, Florida State's defense has not allowed an opponent to reach 70 points, which is typically near the NCAA women's basketball team average for points per game.
Pacific is coming off an 81-70 loss to Hawaii in its last game on Dec. 15. Redshirt senior guard Kiki Moore guided the Tigers in their most recent loss to the Rainbow Wahine, recording a game-high 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Pacific shot a respectable 46.2 percent from the field, but allowed Hawaii to shoot 51.7 percent.
Junior forward Kenyon Kendall has been outstanding this season for Pacific, averaging a double-double with 18.4 points and 11.4 boards per outing.
Pacific owns a 75-66 home win over Arizona on Nov. 23, and took No. 21 California right down to the wire on the road before falling in overtime, 68-66.
The Tigers' projected starting lineup includes plenty of experience, with three juniors and two seniors comprising the group.
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).