No. 7/7 Florida State Women’s Basketball (15-2, 3-1) and the No. 9/8 Louisville Cardinals (15-3, 3-1) battle in an AP Top 10 matchup on Thursday night in Tallahassee. The 7 p.m. tip-off between league powers will mark the first AP Top 10 matchup at the Donald L. Tucker Center for women’s hoops.
The game will be live streamed on the ACC Network Extra, with Tom Block and Melissa Bruner on the call, while Jonathan Schillace and Bob Thomas handle audio duties on WQTL 106.1 FM and the free Seminole Gameday App.
The Seminoles have participated in four AP Top 10 matchups, with tonight’s game being the fifth. FSU is 3-1 in those games, with all of them taking place in the 2014-15 season. Ironically, FSU’s first-ever Top 10 game came against then-No. 10 Louisville (FSU was seventh) on March 7, 2015, in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. (FSU 66, UofL 51).
The other AP Top 10 matchups FSU has played are as follows: March 8, 2015 - #7 FSU vs. #2 Notre Dame in the ACC Championship (ND 71, FSU 58); March 27, 2015 - #7 FSU vs. #9 Arizona State in the NCAA Sweet 16 in Greensboro, N.C. (FSU 66, ASU 65) and March 29, 2015 - #7 FSU vs. #3 South Carolina in the NCAA Elite Eight in Greensboro, N.C. (SC 80, FSU 74).
Junior forward Shakayla Thomas had a standout performance in FSU’s impressive 69-45 win over No. 13/15 Duke last game in Tallahassee. She totaled a season-high 22 points (10-of-17) with eight rebounds, her 10th career 20-point game. In Thomas’ 10 career 20-point efforts, she has shot a combined 64.2 percent (97-of-151) while shooting above 50 percent in every performance.
Louisville’s last visit to the Tucker Center on Jan. 22, 2015, featured a game-winning basketball from then-freshman Thomas with 33 seconds left, making it 65-63. FSU would defeat No. 4 Louisville, 68-63.
In two career games against Louisville, Thomas is averaging 14.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and is shooting 52.2 percent from the floor. This includes a double-double (13/10) as a freshman vs. the Cardinals.
Senior guard Brittany Brown is hoping for a special night on Thursday. Brown’s 273 career steals rank second in program history, needing just three to break the FSU career record of 275 held by Alicia “Ice” Gladden (2003-07). Brown, a Fort Walton Beach, Fla., native, also has 998 career points and needs just two points to become the 34th Seminole in the 1,000-point club.
Florida State’s four AP Top 25 wins this season is tied for the third-most nationally, trailing only top-ranked UConn (8) and No. 2 Baylor (5). FSU is tied with South Carolina (4) but could surpass the Gamecocks with a win over Louisville.
FSU joins only Baylor, Maryland, South Carolina and USF as the teams that rank in the Top 10 nationally in both scoring margin and rebound margin. FSU ranks sixth in scoring margin (+26.1 per game) and seventh in rebounding margin (+11.9), with both leading the ACC.
Redshirt junior guard Imani Wright leads FSU in scoring against the current RPI Top 50, averaging 16.2 points. She is also shooting 40.4 percent (19-of-47) from deep against those teams.
Florida State leads the ACC and sits at 10th nationally in scoring offense at 82.6 points per game. Since joining the conference in 1991-92, FSU has never led the ACC in scoring offense.
The Seminoles head on the road to the Palmetto State for an ACC matchup at Clemson on Sunday at 2 p.m.