March 5, 2020 - by
FLORIDA STATE FACES WAKE FOREST IN ACC QUARTERFINALS

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – The fourth-seeded Florida State Seminoles (22-7, 11-7) begin their 29th ACC Tournament on Friday in the quarterfinals against 13th-seeded Wake Forest (16-15, 7-11) at the Greensboro Coliseum. Tip-off is set for 11 a.m. on FOX Sports Florida (North and Central Florida) and FOX Sports Sun (South Florida).

Florida State enters the ACC Tournament ranked 22nd in the AP poll. FSU is making its seventh appearance in the ACC Tournament as the No. 4 seed, all coming under head coach Sue Semrau. Its other appearances as the No. 4 seed came in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2013 and 2016.

Redshirt senior forward Kiah Gillespie and senior point guard Nicki Ekhomu were each named to the All-ACC First Team by both the league’s head coaches and the Blue Ribbon Panel. It marks the fourth time that two Seminoles were named to the league’s first team in the same year, with the last time being in 2018 when Imani Wright and Shakayla Thomas were recognized.

After leading the Seminoles in scoring with an average of 15.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, Gillespie was also one of 10 power forwards nationally to be named a finalist for the Katrina McClain Award. The Meriden, Conn., native owns 24 double-doubles at FSU in 62 career games (T4th all-time at FSU).

FSU swept the Demon Deacons in two regular-season meetings this season with a 70-65 triumph in Winston-Salem on January 24, and a 78-67 win in Tallahassee on February 20th. In the two games played in 2020, Ekhomu scored a total of 37 points with seven rebounds, while Gillespie recorded 29 with 13 boards.

The matchup on Friday will feature three of the ACC’s top scorers in two Seminoles and one Demon Deacon, who all rank amongst the top eight in the conference in points per game average. Gillespie (seventh – 15.5) and Ekhomu (eighth – 15.0) go head-to-head with Ivana Raca (fifth – 17.1).

The rebounding margins are almost indistinguishable between the two programs- both are averaging 40.3 rebounds per game, and the Seminoles are averaging 32.9 opponent rebounds, compared to Wake Forest’s 34.0. In the battle of the boards, the matchup could be very tightly-contested on the defensive end.

FSU is 2-2 against Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament. The last time the two programs faced off in Greensboro, three Seminoles scored in double-figures to propel Florida State to a 57-52 win over the Demon Deacons in the first round of the tournament on March 6, 2008.

FSU is 2-0 this season on neutral courts, nabbing two of its biggest wins vs. No. 6 Texas A&M and No. 24 Michigan. In two neutral-site games, senior guard Nausia Woolfolk combined to lead the Seminoles by averaging 22.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and shooting 60.7 percent. In ACC play this season, the Noles outscored opponents on an average of 15.3-11.3 (+4.0/game) off the bench.

The Seminoles are looking to clinch a spot in the ACC Tournament Semifinals for the second time in the last three years and for the sixth time overall. The winner of Friday morning’s matchup will face either No. 1 seed Louisville or No. 8 seed Syracuse in the semifinals on Saturday at noon on ESPNU.

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