February 5, 2014 - by
`Noles Host No. 2 Notre Dame on Thursday

Feb. 5, 2014

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – The Florida State women’s basketball team prepares for a big challenge on Thursday evening as it hosts No. 2 Notre Dame at 7 p.m. on ESPN3.com at the Donald L. Tucker Center.

Calling the game on ESPN3 will be play-by-play man Scott Kotick with color analysis by Melissa Bruner. Fans can also listen to the game on WNLS 1270-AM and through Seminoles.com with Jonathan Schillace and Bob Thomas on the broadcast.

Thursday night’s halftime entertainment between FSU and Notre Dame will feature the talented Human Slinky.

The Seminoles (15-6, 3-5) and Fighting Irish (21-0, 8-0) square off for the first time in series history as well as the first time as ACC opponents. Notre Dame enters the contest leading the ACC in a host of offensive categories, including scoring offense, field goal percentage and three-point percentage. FSU will try to counter the Irish’s potent offense with its scoring defense (61.4 ppg) that is tied for the second-best in the conference.

“Notre Dame is so efficient,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “Defensively, they make great choices. Offensively, they know what they’re looking for. You have a couple of kids who have been to the Final Four three straight years. They know how hard it is and they’re a hard group to guard.”

A win over the No. 2 Fighting Irish would tie for the highest-ranked victory in FSU history. The ‘Noles defeated No. 2/2 Duke in Tallahassee on Feb. 4, 2004, winning 80-74. Former standout guard Shante Williams led FSU in that contest with 20 points and eight assists.

Florida State owns four Top-5 victories on its home floor. They include a 68-61 win over No. 3 Maryland (1/12/93), an 80-74 win over No. 2 Duke (2/8/04), a 60-53 win over No. 3 Texas A&M (1/5/09) and an 82-75 overtime win over No. 3 Duke (1/29/09).

FSU has been efficient at home for the most part this season. The ‘Noles are 8-2 in Tallahassee and hold an average scoring margin of +20.1 points (73.6-53.5). Four players are averaging double figures at home in Natasha Howard (19.7), Morgan Jones (13.5), Ivey Slaughter (11.1) and Brittany Brown (10.9).

Senior forward Natasha Howard is in line to make her 116th career start on Thursday against the Fighting Irish. The start is significant because it would break the school record formerly held by guard Courtney Ward (115 from 2008-11). Howard is also three field goals shy of becoming just the third Florida State player with 600 field goals made for her career.

Ivey Slaughter has eight double-doubles this season as a freshman. Her eight double-doubles are the most in a single season by a freshman since former player Lorraine Rimson (1983-85) had 10 in the 1983-84 year. The most double-doubles in a season at FSU by a freshman is 12 by Laine Lasseter in 1978-79.

Notre Dame will look to remain undefeated on the season, having started 21-0, including 8-0 in their inaugural season in the ACC. The Fighting Irish are led by senior guard Kayla McBride, who averages 17.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

Notre Dame looks to return to the NCAA Tournament, where it was eliminated by UConn in the 2013 NCAA Final Four, 83-65. Last time out, the Fighting Irish routed Duke 88-67 behind McBride’s 23 points and 11 rebounds.

For more information on Florida State women’s basketball, follow the Seminoles on Twitter at @FSU_WBasketball and like their official Facebook page (Facebook.com/FSUWomensBasketball).

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