March 4, 2021 - by
SEMINOLES BEGIN ACC TOURNAMENT TITLE QUEST VS. SYRACUSE

GREENSBORO, N.C. (Seminoles.com) – Fourth-seeded Florida State Women’s Basketball will battle No. 5 seed Syracuse to begin its stay in Greensboro in the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals on Friday at 2:30 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum. The matchup will air on a host of the ACC’s regional sports networks.

Predicted eighth in the ACC preseason coaches poll, the Seminoles (10-7, 9-7) surged higher above expectations than any team in the conference (based only on the coaches poll). Only the Seminoles and top-seeded Louisville have been able to garner Top-4 seeds in the ACC Tournament in six of the last seven seasons (FSU and Louisville each have six Top-4 seeds in that time span).

“We’re really working on a lot of stuff for ourselves,” FSU Interim Head Coach Brooke Wyckoff said. “That’s the biggest thing. No matter who we are facing, we can become better defenders, better offensive attackers and better decision makers.”

FSU’s game prep can become narrowed down now that it knows it will be facing the Orange (13-7, 9-7). The two teams met in the Donald L. Tucker Center on Feb. 11, with FSU coming away with a 67-52 win. Redshirt junior point guard Bianca Jackson was a key performer in that matchup with 18 points and five assists.

The Seminoles enter the ACC Tournament with an NCAA Tournament-worthy résumé. FSU is ranked 48th in the latest NET rankings, has an average opponent NET rank of sixth and owns an opponent success ranking of 19th. FSU owns a 4-3 mark against Top-50 opponents, headlined by a signature home win over Louisville (68-59), quality road wins over Virginia Tech (61-51) and UNC (61-51) and a home win over Syracuse (67-52). FSU’s 59-51 home win over Wake Forest last game also came when the Demon Deacons were ranked 49th.

Florida State is seeking a spot in the ACC Tournament Semifinals for the third time in the last four seasons and the seventh time overall. The Seminoles have won at least one game in the ACC Tournament in each of the last three seasons. Last year, FSU defeated top-seeded Louisville, 62-60, to reach the ACC Title Game. FSU entered the season losing nearly 65 percent of its scoring from that team.

The Seminoles have been able to execute in some very important areas, which is a big reason why they were able to nab the fourth seed. FSU ranks in the Top-5 in the conference in scoring defense (fifth; 64.65), free throw percentage (fourth; 74.2 percent), blocked shots (fifth; 3.76) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (fifth; 30.4 percent). At the start of the New Year, the Seminoles ranked last in the league in 3-point field goal percentage defense.

The Seminoles enter the ACC Tournament with some momentum after finishing the regular season 4-2 down the stretch. In that span, FSU picked up quality wins over Syracuse, Miami, Louisville and Wake Forest. Jackson helped guide FSU during that six-game stretch, averaging 13.3 points, shooting 47.1 percent from downtown (8-of-17) and recording 25 assists to 18 turnovers.

FSU is on track for another solid shooting season from the free throw line. FSU is fourth in the conference shooting 74.2 percent from the line and is looking to make it five consecutive years of shooting 70+ percent from the charity stripe.

Junior guard Morgan Jones was named to the Head Coaches’ All-ACC First Team and the ACC All-Defensive Team on Tuesday morning. Jones becomes the fourth Seminole ever, but the first guard in program history, to earn honors on both teams in the same season. The three other Noles who made both teams in the same season include Natasha Howard (2014), Jacinta Monroe (2010) and Brooke Wyckoff (2001).

Should the Seminoles get a win on Friday, they would face either No. 1 seed Louisville or No. 9 seed Wake Forest on Saturday at Noon in the ACC Tournament Semifinals on the ACC Network.

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