March 20, 2021 - by
NINTH-SEEDED SEMINOLES PREPARE FOR NCAA FIRST ROUND

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Seminoles.com) – For the first time in its 19 NCAA appearances, Florida State Women’s Basketball is a No. 9 seed as it prepares to face eighth-seeded Oregon State on Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. ET in the NCAA First Round on ESPN2.

Sunday’s game will be played at The University Events Center in San Marcos, Texas, which is on the campus of Texas State University.

“We’re super excited about this matchup,” FSU Interim Head Coach Brooke Wyckoff said. “It’s going to be a great game essentially between two young teams that are rolling here toward the end of the season. We’re happy to be here for sure.”

The Beavers (11-7, 7-6) have had a similar experience to the Seminoles (10-8, 9-7) this season in their low number of games played. The Beavers are receiving votes in this week’s Associated Press Poll and have shot 47.8 percent from the floor over their last 10 games.

The Seminoles are one of only 10 programs to make the last eight NCAA Tournaments, joining Baylor, Louisville, Maryland, South Carolina, Stanford, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas A&M and UConn.

Wyckoff has led the Seminoles to an overachieving season based on expectations. Since the ACC added Louisville in 2014 and set its current group of 15 teams, the 2020-21 Seminoles are the only team in the league to be picked as low as eighth in the ACC preseason coaches poll and finish with a Top-4 seed (finished fourth in the regular season this year).

Florida State has been led this season by All-ACC First Team guard Morgan Jones, who has enjoyed a career year averaging 13.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, shooting 46.3 percent (87-of-188) from the floor along with a team-leading 23 steals and 15 total blocked shots in 18 games. Jones is an example of several players stepping up in new roles this season, as she entered the year with career averages of 5.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in 17.9 minutes played.

FSU and Oregon State have met twice before, with the series record split at 1-1. The two teams last met in the NCAA Sweet 16 in Stockton, Calif., on March 25, 2017, when No. 3 seed FSU knocked off No. 2 seed Oregon State 66-53. Current graduate assistant Ivey Slaughter set an NCAA Regional Round record with nine steals that game.

Oregon State has won eight of its last 10 games, with three of those victories coming against ranked opponents in No. 19 Oregon twice (71-64 and 88-77) and at No. 8 UCLA (71-64).

Bianca Jackson has played seven NCAA Tournament games, including starting all four games for South Carolina in the 2017-18 season. Of FSU’s 10 active players, Savannah Wilkinson is second on the team with three NCAA games played, followed by two apiece from Sayawni Lassiter, Valencia Myers, Kourtney Weber and Jones.

“I think the ACC is one of the toughest conferences, if not the toughest at a Power-5 level,” Jones said. “I think we play at a fast pace every night in the ACC, and it prepares us because it gets us used to getting a stop and running in transition, rather than stopping and bring the ball up the court. I think that’s something that we will use in the tournament.”

The Seminoles own a 3-3 record all-time vs. Pac 12 opponents in the NCAA Tournament. FSU has won each of its last two meetings vs. Pac 12 schools, defeating No. 2 seed Oregon State, 66-53, in the 2017 Sweet 16 and winning against No. 3 seed Arizona State, 66-65, in the 2015 NCAA Sweet 16.

Jackson has shouldered most of the load over the last five games. In that span, she leads the Seminoles averaging 14.8 points, shooting 42 percent, 50 percent from downtown and generating 19 assists to 14 turnovers.

The winner between Florida State-Oregon State will face the winner of No. 1 seed South Carolina and No. 16 seed Mercer as part of the Hemisfair Region on Tuesday at a time to be determined.

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