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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – No. 24/19 Florida State Women’s Basketball has another big opportunity on Thursday night when it hosts No. 9 NC State at 7 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
The Seminoles (19-3, 7-2) and Wolfpack (21-1, 8-1) meet for the 45th time, with both teams trying to maintain their positions toward the top of the ACC standings. It will be the first nationally-ranked meeting for both teams since No. 20 NC State hosted No. 17 Florida State on Jan. 16, 2014.
Florida State and NC State are two of the ACC’s best when it comes to rebounding defense (the amount of rebounds by your opponent). The Wolfpack lead the conference allowing just 33.0 rebounds in ACC play, while FSU is second allowing just 34.1 rebounds per game vs. ACC opponents.
.@valenciaalexis_ has been hosting plenty of block parties this season 🥳 #FSUWBB pic.twitter.com/38PozYyMLM
— FSU Women's Hoops (@fsuwbb) February 4, 2019
Two of the ACC’s best players will be showcased Thursday night in FSU redshirt junior forward Kiah Gillespie (17.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg) and NC State graduate guard Kiara Leslie (15.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg). The two close friends were teammates on Maryland’s 2015-16 and 2016-17 teams.
The Seminoles have been forcing turnovers at an alarming rate lately, with seven consecutive opponents accruing 17 or more turnovers. In ACC play, FSU leads the conference with a +4.4 turnover margin.
NC State will be FSU’s fourth ranked opponent this season, with the Seminoles holding a 2-1 record in those games (defeated No. 12/14 Iowa and No. 23 Miami; Lost to No. 4 Louisville). Against its three ranked opponents so far, Gillespie (15.3) and Nausia Woolfolk (14.0) are the team’s lone double-figure scorers.
Being two games in with just eight players since Amaya Brown’s injury, FSU’s bench has averaged 18.5 points (20 vs. Wake Forest; 17 vs. Miami). Its previous six ACC games it averaged 8.7 bench points.
In ACC play, Florida State has averaged 18.9 points off turnovers (27 vs. Wake Forest last game).
The Pack are led by two starters in double figures in Leslie and junior guard Aislinn Konig (11.7 points). They were the last remaining undefeated team in the country before falling at home to rival North Carolina on Sunday, 64-51.
NC State has built their strength on defense, holding 21 opponents below 40 percent this season and out-scoring 21 of its 22 opponents in the paint. They rank in the Top 10 nationally in defensive rebounding, fewest fouls committed, field goal percentage defense, rebound margin and rebounds per game.