Tallahassee, FL - The No. 14 Florida State women’s basketball team will open the 2010-11 season Friday at the Donald L. Tucker Center with a 6 p.m. game against Alabama State.
Coming off the greatest season in program history – a campaign that saw the Seminoles capture a second consecutive regular-season ACC co-championship and first-ever berth in the Elite Eight – FSU will be looking to build off past successes and take the next step towards becoming a top-10 team this time around.
To do that, the ’Noles will rely on the playmaking ability of star point guard Courtney Ward. A 2010 Preseason All-ACC selection and Naismith Trophy watchlist member, Ward is the program’s all-time single-season and career assists leader.
The Seminoles’ senior point guard is charged with helping maintain the team’s high level of play despite the loss of three key seniors from a year ago: Jacinta Monroe, Alysha Harvin and Angel Gray.
Joining Ward in that task are veteran returners Cierra Bravard and Christian Hunnicutt as well as second-year players Alexa Deluzio, Chelsea Davis, Leonor Rodriguez and Chasity Clayton.
Ward, Hunnicutt, Bravard and Deluzio are all penciled in as starters for opening night and they will be joined in the starting five by freshman phenom Natasha Howard. The nation’s No. 2-ranked prospect a year ago, Howard scord 24 points in 19 minutes of action in Florida State’s 122-58 exhibition victory over Alabama-Huntsville on Oct. 24.
Olivia Bresnahan and Tay’ler Mingo are two other first-year Seminoles that figure to contribute heavily to the cause this season.
After taking on the Hornets Friday night, FSU travels to play at Auburn on Monday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.
Florida State vs. Alabama State Quick Hitters:
• The Seminoles are currently riding a 10-game winning streak in Tallahassee, which dates back to last season.
• FSU has been dominate in season-openers for nearly 20 years as the ’Noles are a perfect 13-0 in season-openers under head coach Sue Semrau’s watch and are 28-9 all-time in the first game of a new season. At the Donald L. Tucker Center the Seminoles are 26-4 in home openers and have won 11 straight.
• Highly-touted freshman Natasha Howard will start the first game of her career Friday.
•Florida State will be looking to not only defeat the Hornets, but also improve the program’s overall record against teams from the Alabama. The Seminoles are 17-21 all-time against teams from Alabama, including the 2-2 record against Alabama State. FSU’s second game of the year will take place at Auburn.
• The Seminoles do have some experience playing against Alabama State as they have played them four times in the history of the program. FSU is 3-3 all-time against SWAC teams, including a 1-0 record against Alcorn State and an 0-1 mark against Mississippi Valley State.