FSU Women’s Basketball NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Preview


After a dominant opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament, the #2 seed FSU women’s basketball team returns to action on Friday night when they take on the #3 seed Arizona State Sun Devils in a Sweet 16 matchup in Greensboro, North Carolina. Here is what you need to know about Arizona State and how they match up with Florida State.

Series History

This will be just the 4th ever meeting between the Sun Devils and the Seminoles. Arizona State leads the series 2-1. FSU won the most recent matchup back in 2010 by a score of 65-55. This is also the 2nd time that these teams will meet in postseason play with ASU knocking FSU out of the NCAA Tournament in the 2nd round back in 2009.

Season Recap

The Arizona State Sun Devils had a very successful season in the Pac-12 Conference, finishing the regular season with a record of 26-4 (15-3 in Pac-12 play), earning the #2 seed for the Pac-12 Tournament. In the opening game of the Pac-12 Tournament. Arizona State pummeled the Washington State Cougars 67-48. However, ASU was upset by #3 seed Stanford in the Pac-12 Tournament semi-finals and that loss could very well have kept them from being considered for a #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Sun Devils enters the Sweet 16 with an overall record of 29-5 after steamrolling Ohio University in the opening round and erasing a 16-point deficit to take down Arkansas-Little Rock in the 2nd round.

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Key Players

  • Sophie Brunner, a Sophomore forward from Freeport, Illinois, is the unquestioned leader of the Arizona State team, leading the Sun Devils in points per game (11.9), rebounds per game (7.6) and steals per game (1.9 per game). On the season, Brunner is shooting at an insane rate, hitting 54.2% of her shots and is a 73% free throw shooter.
  • Katie Hempen, a Junior guard from Highland, Illinois, is the main perimeter threat for ASU. She has made 73 3 pointers, nearly twice as many as any other member of the team and has accounted for nearly half of all of ASU’s 3 pointers this season. She averages 11.7 points per game and hits 37.6% of her 3 pointers. When asked about Hempen in today’s press conference, FSU Head Coach Sue Semrau praised her, “I love her game. I love her style of play. You know, she’s a special kid.”

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How Do the ‘Noles Matchup?

Of the 3 teams that FSU has run into so far in this tournament, Arizona State seems to have the most similar play style as Florida State. They run a tough defense that creates a lot of pressure and makes you earn your points the hard way, just like the ‘Noles. When asked about how both teams play defense, Semrau had nice things to say about them defensively, “I think for both teams it’s gonna be hard to score. And you know, just the pride that both teams take in their defense.” Both teams allow under 60 points per game on average and both average a double digit scoring margin difference with Arizona State outscoring opponents by an average of 12.2 points and FSU outscoring their opponents by an average of 19.4 points. Neither team relies heavily on the 3 but both have players with the ability to consistently hit 3 pointers. All in all, the teams play very similar styles and it should be an interesting showdown.


The difference maker in this game will be that although the teams do similar things offensively and defensively, Florida State has done them more effectively throughout the season and against better competition in the ACC. The ‘Noles have averaged more points than ASU, outrebounded their opponents by a significantly larger margin, created more steals, forced more turnovers, assisted more, and have a better shooting percentage. Nothing against the Pac-12 as they are some very good teams in that conference but it’s no ACC and that will show as FSU wins this one 66-56.