FSU Women’s Basketball NCAA Tournament 1st Round Preview


The second-seeded FSU women’s basketball team will play its first game of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon, as the ‘Noles will welcome the 15-seed Alabama State Hornets to Tallahassee for a first-round matchup. Here’s what you need to know about the Alabama State team and what challenges they may pose to the Seminoles.

Series History

This will be the sixth time that the Seminoles and Hornets have met. The Seminoles hold a 3-2 series lead. The most recent game between these two programs was on November 12th, 2010, which the Seminoles won by a score of 89-39.

Season Recap

Alabama State finished the 2014-2015 regular season with a record of 17-14, which was good for third in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) regular season standings. However, the Hornets got hot at the right time, narrowly beating Grambling State and Jackson State in the SWAC Tournament before handily defeating Southern in the SWAC Championship by a score of 73-55. This is the second NCAA Tournament appearance for Alabama State, the first since the 2003 season, and the 15-seed that the Hornets received is the highest NCAA Tournament seed in program history.

Key Players

  • Sophomore SF Britney Wright leads the Hornets in scoring and steals, averaging 17.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game. She was named the MVP of the SWAC Tournament with 19.0 points per game, 9.0 rebounds per game, and 2.0 steals per game in the tournament.
  • Junior C Jasmine Peeples has been a large presence in the paint both offensively and defensively for the Hornets, averaging a double-double for the season with 11.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, as well as 3 blocked shots per game.

When asked about Britney Wright with regard to her game changing ability, FSU coach Sue Semrau said,

"Tremendous player. When you have a kid on your team that averages 17 points per game, that’s impressive. She is someone who can do it in a lot of different ways. It’s not just that she is an inside player or an outside player. She’s more like a guard playing a post as well as playing a guard. She’s gonna be a tough matchup."

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How Do the ‘Noles Matchup?

Alabama State does some things very well. They led the SWAC in field goal percentage defense, holding their opponents to just 35.6% shooting on the season. They also led the SWAC in defensive rebounds with 29.0 per game, 3-point field goals made per game with 4.8, blocked shots with 4.8 per game, and 3-point field goal percentage, shooting 31.6% from 3 on the season.

Unfortunately for the Hornets, Florida State has done many of the same things as well all season against better competition. The Seminoles led the ACC in scoring defense, holding opponents to just 56.9 points per game, 3-point field goal defense, holding opponents to just 28% from 3, defensive and offensive rebounding percentage, and most importantly, rebounding margin. On the season, Alabama State has outrebounded their opponents by an average margin of 2.6 boards. Meanwhile, FSU was the only D1 men’s or women’s program to out-rebound every regular season opponent, and they did it by an average margin of 12.6 boards.

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This is by no means a bad Alabama State team. Any team that makes the tournament, regardless of what conference it comes from, deserves to be here. That being said, this Florida State team is too big and too good. With 5 players who regularly score in double digits, the balanced attack will overwhelm the Hornets early and often. It may be close for the first 8-10 minutes, but I think this one gets ugly by the end of the first half. My final score prediction is 90-47, FSU.