January 1, 2012 - by
ACC Opener

Jan. 1, 2012




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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – The Florida State women’s basketball team will face one of its toughest tests of the season on Monday when fifth-ranked Maryland comes to the Donald L. Tucker Center for a 7 p.m. contest to open Atlantic Coast Conference play.

The Seminoles have won two straight games and carry a three-game home win streak into the battle with the Terrapins, who are 13-0 and defeated No. 19 Delaware, 85-76, in their last game on Thursday.

“It’s hard to believe the ACC schedule is here, but we are excited about it,” Florida State head coach Sue Semrau said. “We played a tough non-conference schedule to prepare for it. Maryland is an excellent basketball team. They have a lot of different weapons and they rebound exceptionally well. They are going to be an extremely tough matchup for us.”

The Seminoles won five of six games in December to close out 2011. Sophomore Natasha Howard was fantastic during that stretch, averaging 15.2 ppg and 8.8 rpg. She recorded her fifth double-double of the season in FSU’s 60-47 win over UCF on Friday, scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Florida State will need the 6-3 forward to continue that kind of production against a Maryland team loaded with talent in the post. The Terrapins are led by 6-2 sophomore forward Alyssa Thomas, who was the 2011 ACC Rookie of the Year and is averaging 16.1 ppg, and 6-3 junior forward Tianna Hawkins, who leads the ACC in rebounding at 9.7 boards per contest. Maryland also employs a pair of 6-4 centers in senior Lynetta Kizer and sophomore Alicia DeVaughn.

Thomas hung 26 points on the Seminoles last season in Tallahassee, but Florida State edged Maryland, 72-66, as Cierra Bravard and Chelsea Davis led five FSU players in double figures with 14 points apiece.

Maryland leads the all-time series against Florida State, 23-14, but the Noles hold a 12-11 advantage since Semrau took over the Garnet and Gold program in 1997. The Seminoles have won two straight against the Terps and are 8-3 at home versus Maryland under Semrau.

During FSU’s current three-game home win streak, the Seminoles have averaged 80.7 ppg and shot 53.5 percent from the field, while holding opponents to just 53.7 ppg and 28.3 percent shooting. Junior Alexa Deluzio has averaged 17.0 ppg in FSU’s last three home wins.

Following Monday night’s clash with the Terps, FSU will host Clemson at 7 p.m. on Thursday before hitting the road to face Virginia Tech next Sunday at 2 p.m. in Blacksburg, Va.

For more information on Florida State women’s basketball, follow the Seminoles on Twitter at: @FSU_WBasketball.

–www.seminoles.com–

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