Coatney's Call: Florida State Preview
#25 Nebraska vs. #24 Florida State
Saturday, Dec. 8, 2:05 p.m. (central)
Bob Devaney Sports Center (Lincoln, Neb.)
Live Internet Video: HuskersNside (premium subscribers of Huskers.com)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
(Matt Coatney-PBP; Jeff Griesch-Analyst)
(B107.3 FM-Lincoln; The Wolf 93.3 FM-Omaha; 94.1 FM-KNEB, Scottsbluff; 1400 AM-KCOW, Alliance)
Internet: Free live audio on Huskers.com
Nebraska and Creighton seem to always have contests domintated by defense when they face each other in women's basketball. Wednesday night's 66-57 Husker win in Omaha was no different. Jordan Hooper and Sarah Nelson, each team's top scorers, combined for four points in the game and Carli Tritz, the preseason Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year only posted six points. With each squad trying to take away the other team's big guns, others had to pick up the scoring slack. Sophomore Hailie Sample came up big for the Huskers, scoring a career-high 20 points while Lindsey Moore added 15.
Nebraska will try to get back in the win column when the Huskers return home for a Saturday afternoon 2:05 p.m. (central) clash with nationally-ranked Florida State.
Florida State is a senior-laden squad that is off to its third 7-0 start in program history, beating opponents by an average margin of 25.9 points. Last week, FSU defeated Iowa 83-69 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Tallahassee before defeating Charlotte in the Seminoles' first true road game, 70-54 Sunday. Florida State has one win over a ranked team, defeating then-No. 17 Vanderbilt 73-59 in the San Juan Shootout.
The 'Noles rank second in the country in three-point percentage (.462), sixth in field goal percentage (.497) and 12th in assists per game (18.3).
Five Seminoles are scoring in double figures led by senior guard Leonor Rodriguez (15.9 ppg). She leads all guards in the nation in field goal percentage, hitting at a blistering .636 pace, including .625 (15-24) from beyond the arc, tops in the ACC. Rodriguez had made 16 consecutive free throws before missing one in Sunday's win over Charlotte. She was the ACC Player of the Week two weeks ago after averaging 19.0 points per game and shooting 80 percent (12-of-15) at the San Juan Shootout. A member of Spain's Senior Women's National Team at the FIBA 3x3 World Championships in Athens, Greece this summer, Rodriguez had three points, six rebounds and four assists in the FSU loss to Nebraska last season.
Junior forward Natasha Howard is on the preseason Naismith and Wooden Award National Player of the Year Watch Lists. A member of the ACC All-Defensive Team in 2011-12, Howard has scored in double figures in 10 consecutive games. She is currently second on the team in scoring (15.3) and leads the team in steals. Howard had nine points and five rebounds against the Huskers in 2011.
One of the main reasons for FSU's undefeated start this season is the addition of senior Morgan Toles at point guard. An SEC All-Freshman team member of the 2009-10 Auburn Tigers, Toles led the SEC in assists in 2010-11 and started 52 games for Auburn before transferring to Florida State. She became eligible late last season and played in four games. Toles had posted three 10-assist games in her career, with her latest being a 10 assist/zero turnover game against Eastern Kentucky on Nov. 23. She averages 3.5 points and 5.6 assists, which ranks third in the ACC, but doesn't lead the team in the latter category.
Senior guard Yashira "Cheetah" Delgado is second in the conference in assists (6.4 apg) and has dished at least five assists in all seven games this season. She played 33 games in 2010-11 at Arkansas and then transferred to Hillsborough Community College where she led the nation's junior colleges in assists (10.8 apg). Delgado has started three games but has come off the bench during the last three contests.
Toles and Delgado have attempted only 54 field goals combined, but together have dished out 84 assists.
Senior forward Chelsea Davis leads the team in blocked shots (12) and has scored in double figures in six of the 'Noles' seven games this season. Last season, despite playing just 19.2 minutes per game, Davis ranked fourth on the team in scoring, and this year is third (14.2 ppg). She had eight points and five rebounds in the 2011 game against the Huskers.
Senior Chasity Clayton rounds out the probable FSU starting lineup. She leads the team in rebounding (7.8 rpg) and her 18-rebound game against Samford on Nov. 11 is the most by any ACC player this year. Clayton just missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds against Nebraska last season.
Senior guard Alexa Deluzio gives FSU another veteran off the bench, and she led the team with 22 points in the win over Charlotte last week. She set the Seminole team season free throw shooting percentage record last year (84 percent).
Last season, FSU finished with 230 more turnovers than assists, but this season the 'Noles have only one fewer assist than turnovers. Florida State missed the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time in eight seasons and for the first time in a decade, the team had a losing record.
Sue Semrau is the winningest coach in FSU history. Now in her 16th season, she was an assistant coach at Wisconsin and Northern Illinois prior to heading to Tallahassee. Semrau is a three-time winner of the ACC Coach of the Year. She has a career record of 257-191 at FSU.
Nebraska is 11-1 all-time against Florida schools, with their only loss coming in their first meeting with FSU. The Seminoles defeated the Huskers 100-84 on Dec. 31, 1982 at the Miami Dial Classic. Last season in Tallahassee, Lindsey Moore scored 11 of her team-high 15 points in the second half, leading Nebraska back from a 13-point second half deficit to defeat the Seminoles 66-63 on Nov. 27, 2011. Emily Cady had 14 points and five rebounds and Brandi Jeffery added 12 points and two three-pointers in the Husker win.
I cordially invite you to join Jeff Griesch and me for Nebraska women's basketball on the Husker Sports Network. Our radio broadcast Saturday afternoon beings with the pre-game show at 1:45 p.m. (central) with the tip-off scheduled for 2:05 p.m. on the Husker Sports Network, including Lincoln affiliate KBBK 107.3 FM (B107.3), KTWI 93.3 FM (The Wolf) in Omaha, 1400 KCOW in Alliance, KNEB 94.1 in Scottsbluff and available to our entire 25 network stations. All Husker women's basketball broadcasts are also available for free worldwide on the internet at www.huskers.com. I hope you can join us.
There are a number of ways to get enhanced information about our broadcast and Husker women's basketball via social media. You can learn more about the team on the Nebraska Women's Basketball Facebook page or follow the team on their official Twitter page @huskerswbb. I also invite you to friend me on Facebook (Matt Coatney) or follow me on Twitter @coatman1.
Go Big Red!