Florida State Women’s Basketball has announced its 2016-17 Atlantic Coast Conference schedule, which features a strong 16-game slate that includes appealing home matchups vs. some of the ACC’s best.
Highlighting the conference schedule are home games against defending national runner-up Syracuse (Thursday, Jan. 19, 7 p.m.), Louisville (Thursday, Jan. 12, 7 p.m.), rival Miami (Monday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m.) and longtime foe Duke (Sunday, Jan. 8, at 3 p.m.).
“Overall, this is one of the toughest home schedules I’ve ever had as a head coach,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “When you combine the teams we’re playing at the Tucker Center in conference and non-conference play, our fans will be treated to some fantastic matchups. Our league schedule once again is one of the hardest in the nation, but a challenging regular season better prepares you for what comes in the NCAA Tournament. We’re looking forward to getting the season started.”
All eight of Florida State’s ACC home games will be televised or livestreamed once again. Its matchup with the Blue Devils, who it has defeated in consecutive seasons, will be an ESPN Flex package that will air either on ESPN2, ESPNU or via the newly-named ACC Network Extra.
FSU’s Tallahassee tilt with the Hurricanes on Feb. 6 will air on the league’s regional sports networks. The other four home games in conference play include NC State in its ACC home opener (Monday, Jan. 2, 7 p.m.), Wake Forest (Thursday, Feb. 9, 7 p.m.), Clemson (Saturday, Feb. 18, 2 p.m.) and Pittsburgh (Thursday, Feb. 23, 7 p.m.).
All four games will air on ACC Network Extra, which can be accessed on your mobile device or through a Smart TV.
The Seminoles’ conference tilt figures to be tough from start to finish: FSU begins ACC play with a road matchup at Miami in an earlier-than-normal time frame on Thursday, Dec. 29, at 7 p.m. FSU wraps up the regular season at Notre Dame on Sunday, Feb. 26, at 1 p.m. on ESPN2.
The other away games in the conference mix are at North Carolina (Thursday, Jan. 5, at 7 p.m.), at Clemson (Sunday, Jan. 15, at 2 p.m.) and at Virginia Tech (Sunday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m.). FSU also plays on the road in a regional sports network televised game at Virginia (Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m.), and plays Boston College (Thursday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m.) as well as Georgia Tech (Thursday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m.) on the road.
Two noticeable schedule trends are the heavier presence of Monday home games and FSU’s three-game home and road swings. FSU’s eight home ACC games include two Monday home games, three Thursday games, two Sunday contests and one Saturday game.
FSU also has a three-game road stretch in ACC play from Jan. 22-Feb. 2, 2017, at Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Boston College. It is FSU’s first three-game stretch on the road in ACC play since facing UNC, Virginia and Georgia Tech from Jan. 22-Feb. 2, 2006.
The Seminoles’ conference schedule includes five opponents ranked in the Top 25 of ESPNW’s Way-Too-Early Preseason Poll. They involve home matchups with Louisville (No. 2), Miami (No. 18), Syracuse (No. 20) and NC State (No. 25). Top-ranked Notre Dame is on the road.
Overall, FSU faces eight opponents in the unofficial rankings. In non-conference play, the Seminoles host four-time defending champion UConn (No. 4) on ESPN2 on Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. to kick off ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. Rival Florida (No. 17) also comes to Tallahassee on Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. for an ACC Network Extra matchup, as well as Texas (No. 6) on Feb. 13 on ESPN2.
Dates and location for the 2017 ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament will be announced at a later date.
Florida State’s 57 victories over the last two years is its most in a two-year period in program history. Last season, FSU finished 25-8 and became one of eight programs who reached at least the NCAA Sweet 16 in each of the last two years.
This season FSU is bolstered by returning star power in Olympic silver medalist and senior point guard Leticia Romero. She is trying to become the first three-time All-American in program history, and is joined by returnees Shakayla Thomas (two-time ACC Player of the Year), senior guard Brittany Brown (All-ACC Defensive Team) and senior forward Ivey Slaughter.
Veteran center Kai James is another key returnee, along with sharp-shooting redshirt junior guard Imani Wright who will suit up with FSU for the first time this season. Sophomore forward Maria Conde, an important bench contributor, also returns as well as junior center Ama Degbeon.
The nation’s seventh-ranked recruiting class includes freshmen guards Nicole Ekhomu, A’Tyanna Gaulden and Nausia Woolfolk. Forwards Jasmine Walker and Iho Lopez also join the Seminoles.
Illinois transfer Chatrice White, one of the top centers from the Big Ten, will sit out the 2016-17 season and have two more years of eligibility remaining.