March 4, 2013
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The No. 23/24-ranked Florida State women’s basketball had a league-high three players capture All-ACC First Team honors as the ACC announced its all-conference team on Monday.
Senior guards Alexa Deluzio and Leonor Rodriguez and junior forward Natasha Howard were named to the 10-member Blue Ribbon Panel First Team, while senior forward Chasity Clayton became the first Seminole to ever be named ACC Sixth Player of the Year.
Three first-team award winners is an FSU record.
“This season has been a true team effort so it’s fitting that four of our upperclassmen and leaders have earned these awards from the ACC,” Florida State head coach Sue Semrau said. “I’m so proud of each of them. After the season we had a year ago, this team was determined to right the ship and these four players led the charge.”
The Seminoles finished fourth in the ACC for the ninth time since 2001 with an 11-7 mark in conference play and a 21-8 overall record.
As the No. 4 seed, FSU has a bye in this week’s ACC Tournament and will face the winner of Miami/Virginia Tech on Friday in the quarterfinals at 11 a.m.
The ACC coaches also selected Deluzio and Rodriguez for the Head Coaches All-ACC First Team, while Howard was named to the Coaches Second Team. The Sixth Player of the Year award was only voted on by the coaches.
Both the Blue Ribbon Panel of media members and sports information directors and the coaches selected a 10-member first team and a five-member second team.
Rodriguez leads Florida State and ranks fourth in the conference in scoring (15.8 points per game), while also averaging 3.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals with a shooting percentage of 48 percent on field goal attempts, 37 percent on three-pointers and 79 percent at the free throw line.
“Leo has improved as much as any player we’ve ever had here,” Semrau said. “I’ve seen the work she has put in for four years, day-after-day, and she has been a flat-out star this season. She’s been a joy to coach.”
She has 25 double-figure scoring games, including 10 20-point contests. During a February stretch Rodriguez became the first Seminole to score 20 points in three straight games in five years and her field goal percentage (.484) is the highest by any guard in the “Big Six” conferences.
This season, Rodriguez scored 28 points against Iowa in Tallahassee, shot a perfect 8-for-8 en route to 22 points against Eastern Kentucky in Puerto Rico, hung 24 points and went 4-of-4 from three at Nebraska and scored 21, 26 and 22 points in consecutive games against Miami, NC State and No. 14 North Carolina in February.
Deluzio ranks second on the Seminoles in scoring (14.0 ppg) and first in three-pointers (48), while also averaging 4.7 rebounds and shooting 44 percent from the floor, 36 percent from three and 77 percent from the free throw line.
“Lex has been a starter for three years,” Semrau said. “Last season she played out of position for us at point guard, but this year has been able to really excel in her natural shooting guard spot and the results have spoken for themselves.”
She ranks 10th in the ACC in scoring and free throw percentage and has 22 double-figure outputs, including five 20-point games.
Deluzio scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against Boston College in December to grab ACC Player of the Week honors on Dec. 31. She matched a career-best with six three-pointers against Virginia on Sunday.
Howard captures All-ACC honors for the third consecutive year. The Toledo, Ohio, native was named to the All-Freshman Team in 2011 as well as the All-ACC Third Team in 2012.
Howard has registered 11 double-doubles this season and averaged 13.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.5 blocks, while shooting 51 percent from the floor.
“Natasha just does it all for us – rebounding, defending, scoring, you name it,” Semrau said. “We’ve been able to count on her for a double-double nearly every night the past two years so it’s no surprise she’s received this honor.”
She ranks fourth in the conference in blocks and also is among the top 15 in the league in scoring, rebounds, steals and field goal percentage.
Howard had 18 points and an ACC-best 18 rebounds at Georgia Tech in January and had 20-point games versus Miami and Stetson.
Clayton averages 10.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest, while shooting 50 percent from the floor in 21 minutes per game. A versatile and athletic player, Clayton made nine starts this season, but did most of her damage coming off the bench with her ability to play on the wing and in the post.
“Chasity has been a starter on and off for most of her career and this year,” Semrau said. “She’s one of the top athletes we’ve had here at Florida State and it’s that versatility allows her to play multiple positions. It’s a mark of our team’s depth and success that she has been able to shine in her role off the bench.”
She opened the season with a 20-point, ACC-best 18-rebound effort against Samford and also scored 21 points against both Eastern Kentucky and UNCG.
Deluzio, Rodriguez and Howard join Cierra Bravard (2011), Jacinta Monroe (2010), Roneeka Hodges (2005), Brooke Wyckoff (2001) and Tia Paschal (1993) as the only All-ACC First Team honorees in FSU history.
Rodriguez, Howard, Deluzio and Clayton Capture ACC WBB Digest Honors, Too
Rodriguez and Deluzio were named to ACC Women’s Basketball Digest’s Second Team All-ACC Team, while Howard picked up All-ACC Third Team honors from the publication as well as All-ACC Defensive Team honors. Additionally, Rodriguez was named ACC Surprise Player of the Year, while Clayton nabbed Sixth Player of the Year honors. ACC WBB Digest had five-member First, Second and Third Teams.
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