January 24, 2019 - by
Top 25 Tilt on Tap for Thursday Night

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – The 22nd-ranked Florida State Seminoles (16-2, 4-1) and fourth-ranked Louisville Cardinals (17-1, 9-0) meet in a key ACC matchup on Thursday night at the Donald L. Tucker Center, which is also Faculty & Staff Appreciation Night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m., with the game airing on several ACC regional sports networks.

Florida residents can find the game on FOX Sports Florida, with Jenn Hildreth and Chelsea Shine Wilson on the call. Thursday’s game will be aired nationwide on a variety of networks.

Since Louisville joined the ACC in the 2014-15 academic year, FSU is 3-2 vs. the Cardinals and has won two straight in the series (W, 50-49 at No. 2 Louisville on 1/21/18 and 72-65 at home vs. No. 9 Louisville on 1/12/17).

The 30th all-time meeting between the two schools on Thursday (FSU leads 16-13 overall) is another big one. The Seminoles are going for their 16th AP Top 10 victory and ninth AP Top 5 win. FSU’s last two AP Top 5 wins have come against the Cardinals, including last year’s 50-49 slugfest as well as a 68-63 home win vs. No. 4 Louisville on Jan. 22, 2015.

FSU is 1-0 this season vs. ranked opponents, upending then-No. 12/14 Iowa, 71-67, in the Paradise Jam title game in the Bahamas. Junior guard Nausia Woolfolk was named the tournament MVP after scoring 25 points vs. Iowa.

Thursday’s matchup pits the ACC’s second-highest scoring team in Louisville (81.5 points per game) vs. the ACC’s second-best scoring defense in FSU (57.2 points allowed per game).

The Seminoles continue to climb the upper echelon of the ACC despite losing all five starters last season, having no seniors, having 45.5 percent of their roster (5 of 11) comprised of true freshmen and 64 percent of their roster (7 of 11) having never suited up for the Garnet and Gold entering the season.

Bucket-getter Kiah Gillespie has made 28 percent of FSU’s field goals this season (131 of 468), a percentage that leads the ACC. Her 131 made field goals ranks second among all classified juniors throughout the country.

Because of her excellent perimeter defense, freshman Amaya Brown’s minutes increased to 19.0 per game in wins over Duke and Boston College last week. Prior to last week’s games, Brown was averaging 14.0 minutes in ACC play and 14.4 overall.

Nicki Ekhomu leads the Seminoles in fourth-quarter scoring in their four ACC wins. In those wins, she is averaging 4.3 points in the fourth quarter along with five assists while going 11-of-13 from the free throw line (84.6 percent).

A big key to Florida State getting its four ACC wins has been its ability to get to the free throw line. In FSU’s four conference wins, it has averaged 22.5 free throw attempts.

The Cardinals are having another strong year under 12th-year head coach Jeff Walz. UofL has held its opponents to less than 50 points in each of its last three games and ranks second in the ACC and ninth in the country with a +20.3 scoring margin.

Redshirt senior guard Arica Carter has been a key part of Louisville’s solid season so far, scoring in double figures in four of her six ACC games. She is shooting 48.7 percent from beyond the arc (19-of-39) in conference play.

Senior guard Asia Durr continues to be one of the country’s most dangerous scoring threats, averaging 20.6 points per game. She has 11 20-point games this year and 48 for her career.

Florida State will get back on the road for a Sunday matchup at Virginia Tech at 2 p.m. at Cassell Coliseum on the ACC Network Extra.

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