January 21, 2018 - by
No. 12/11 Noles Face Big Road Test at No. 2 Louisville


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – For the fourth time in the last five meetings, No. 12/11 Florida State (17-2, 5-1) and No. 2/2 Louisville (20-0, 6-0) square off as AP Top 25 opponents on Sunday evening in a nationally-televised 5 p.m. matchup at the KFC Yum! Center.

The game will air on ESPN2, while fans can also listen locally on WQTL 106.1 FM or via Seminoles.com. Florida State will be tasked with earning a road win against a Cardinals squad that many feel could be the most complete team in the country.

FSU and Louisville are both in the Top two in the ACC in scoring margin (FSU +24.6; UofL +23.6) and rebounding defense (UofL allowing 29.9/game; FSU allowing 31.3/game). FSU’s Shakayla Thomas and Louisville’s Myisha Hines-Allen are the only two who rank in the Top 10 in the ACC in scoring and field goal percentage.

The Seminoles own a 3-1 record against Louisville since the Cardinals joined the Atlantic Coast Conference beginning in the 2014-15 academic year. All three of FSU’s wins were AP Top 10 victories, highlighted by a 68-63 win in Tallahassee on Jan. 22, 2015, when No. 17 FSU knocked off No. 4 Louisville behind then-freshman Shakayla Thomas’ 13 points and 10 rebounds.

With the Cardinals sporting a No. 2 AP ranking, Florida State is going for its eighth AP Top 5 win as a program. A win over UofL would tie for the highest-ranked win in program history, as FSU defeated No. 2 Duke, 80-74, on Feb. 8, 2004, in Tallahassee. FSU’s highest-ranked road win includes defeating No. 4 Duke in Durham, N.C., on Feb. 8, 2001 (W, 71-69).

Behind redshirt senior Imani Wright’s school-record nine 3-point field goals and 31 points, FSU won a wild 81-79 overtime game at Wake Forest on Thursday. The Noles overcame a 15-point deficit with 9:43 left in the fourth quarter, and also overcame redshirt senior point guard AJ Alix sitting out the game due to illness.

Senior forward Shakayla Thomas enjoyed a monstrous second half performance at Wake Forest. In the game’s final 25 minutes (including overtime), she delivered 26 points, eight rebounds and went 9-of-16 from the floor. She finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds.

Florida State does not have a mid-week game next week, and hosts No. 5 Notre Dame in a big home matchup on Sunday, Jan. 28, at 4 p.m. on ESPN2.

• Florida State owns the sixth-best NCAA RPI in the country entering Sunday’s game, which includes Top 30 wins vs. Arizona State (22) and at Iowa (30). In the NCAA Committee’s reveal of the Top 16 seeds as of Thursday night, the Seminoles were the 11th overall seed.
• Senior center Ama Degbeon is tied for the FSU team lead with four double-doubles this season, which includes two straight at Wake Forest (10 points, 10 rebounds) and vs. Virginia Tech (10 points, 13 rebounds).
• Sophomore guard Nicki Ekhomu’s 11 rebounds last game at Wake Forest marked her third game with 10+ boards this season. She averages 6.2 rebounds per game.
• The Seminoles have six games this season where they have recorded 10 or more made 3-point field goals. They tied a school record with 12 made in a 105-67 win over Miami on Jan. 11 in Tallahassee.
• FSU ranks in the Top 5 in the NCAA in rebound margin (+13.6; 3rd), scoring offense (87.7; 4th), scoring margin (+24.6; 4th) and total rebounds (854; 5th).
• Imani Wright’s 3.7 made 3-pointers per game leads the ACC and ranks eighth in the country. She is 12 shy of breaking the season record of 78 held by Courtney Ward (2010-11).
• Shakayla Thomas is averaging 10.6 points in the second half this year, which is 56.7 percent of her scoring average.
• A win over Louisville on Sunday would give FSU a 6-1 start in ACC play for the fourth consecutive year. Since the 2014-15 season, FSU is 45-9 in conference play.

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