TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – The Seminoles (6-5, 5-5) begin a key four-game homestand after playing four consecutive road games, beginning the home stretch with the Syracuse Orange (11-4, 8-4) on Thursday night at 8 p.m. on the ACC Network at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
“We’re going to have our work cut out for us,” Interim Head Coach Brooke Wyckoff said of the upcoming four-game home stretch. “Just because we’re at home – it helps a little bit – but we’re still facing some really good ACC competition. It’s nice to sleep in our own beds and have that rest mentally and physically, but it’s still the gauntlet of the ACC (Thursday and Sunday) and there’s some really good matchups. We’re glad to be at home and in front of our fans.”
Syracuse continues to use its full-court attack in what has been a program staple under head coach Quentin Hillsman, who is in his 15th season leading the Orange. Four double-figure scorers highlight Syracuse this season, led by 6-foot-7 freshman center Kamilla Cardoso’s 15.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.
Redshirt senior guard Kiara Lewis is averaging 14.3 points, while fifth-year guard Tiana Mangakahia is averaging 10.6 points and leads the team with 111 assists. Junior guard Emily Engstler rounds out the double-figure scorers with 10.1 points.
You know where to be Thursday night.
— FSU Women’s Hoops (@fsuwbb) February 10, 2021
Thursday night’s matchup will be FSU’s third game this season against the current slate of ACC teams with a .500 conference record or better (also played at Louisville and at Georgia Tech). Against the upper echelon conference foes, junior guard Morgan Jones and redshirt junior guard Bianca Jackson are each averaging 14.0 points per game. Jones went 11-of-22 in those games vs. UofL and Georgia Tech.
Graduate transfer point guard Tiana England made her Seminole debut last game at Miami after returning from a medical issue that had sidelined her the entire pre-season through Feb. 4. England came off the bench and dished one assist in 12 minutes, 39 seconds. The St. John’s transfer is fourth among active NCAA players with 510 career assists, while Syracuse’s Tiana Mangakahia is first overall with 702 dimes.
In last year’s road matchup at Syracuse, current sophomore guard Sammie Puisis notched 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting from deep. This season, Puisis leads the Seminoles with 21 3-point field goals and has willingly adjusted to the ‘4’ position after playing outside last year.
Florida State is 4-0 this season at home with wins over Florida (81-75), Virginia (69-51), Pittsburgh (67-53) and Clemson (95-88, 2OT). It is making nearly twice as many free throws compared to its opponents at home (17.5-8.8).
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At home this season, Jones is averaging 18.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and is shooting 53.6 percent (30-of-56). Her signature performances this season at the Tucker Center include an ACC-high 36 points vs. Clemson and 22 points in the season opener vs. Florida.
Jones’ 36 points scored in FSU’s last home game vs. Clemson on Jan. 21 is the most by an ACC player since both Asia Durr (44 points vs. NC State) and Mangakahia (44 points vs. FSU) had big performances on the same night on Feb. 28, 2019.
FSU returns home for its ‘Paint it Pink’ game on Sunday at 2 p.m. vs. Miami.