No. 10 Florida St seeking defining win vs. No. 2 Notre Dame
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Going into the final week of the regular season, the little things begin to stand out. For No. 10 Florida State it's the record against ranked opponents.
That is why Monday's game against second-ranked Notre Dame has higher stakes. The Seminoles are 1-5 against teams currently ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 and 1-3 against teams ranked at the time they played them.
''It's time to go out and prove we can take on the top competition. I don't think we have shown that yet this year,'' said senior Emiah Bingley, who is averaging 10.0 points over the past four games.
Last season Florida State was 4-2 against ranked foes going into the NCAA Tournament. That was one factor why it got a second seed and got to host the first two rounds. When the tournament selection committee released its rankings last week, the Seminoles (21-5, 11-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) were not in their top 10 but were listed as one of five teams receiving consideration for a high seed. The committee will release one more set of rankings on Feb. 29.
Sophomore point guard Brittany Brown said that coach Sue Semrau has mentioned the importance of seeding in both the ACC and NCAA tournaments since last Thursday's 83-73 loss at 22nd-ranked Syracuse, which snapped an 11-game win streak.
Florida State has six wins over top five teams in Semrau's 19 seasons as head coach, including one last year against then-No. 4 Louisville. They have dropped three straight since then including a 24-point defeat at top-ranked Connecticut on Dec. 11.
The Seminoles' highest win over a ranked opponent was when they beat then-No. 2 Duke in a 2004 game at home.
Notre Dame (25-1) comes in with an 18-game win streak and has won all four meetings against Florida State. The Seminoles have the nation's third-longest home win streak at 31 games. Their last loss at the Tucker Center was on Feb. 27, 2014, against Georgia Tech.
Florida State has two other concerns going into the game - senior center Adut Bulgak is questionable with a sprained ankle and perimeter defense has become a problem. North Carolina and Syracuse were 20 of 54 from beyond the arc in the past two games. Notre Dame (25-1, 13-0 ACC) is fourth in the nation in 3-point percentage (40.6 percent).
Senior Madison Cable, who is averaging 13.5 points per game, leads the conference and nation, making 47 percent of her perimeter shots.
Sophomore forward Brianna Turner, who leads the team in scoring (14.2) and rebounding (7.0), is coming off her second double-double of the season in last Thursday's 86-52 win over Wake Forest.
Florida State's Leticia Romero (10.5 points), is averaging 14 points in two games against Notre Dame and has gone 10 of 15 from the field. Fellow sophomore Shakayla Thomas comes into the game third in the conference in scoring at 17.1 points per game.
''The biggest key for us in preparing is we have to be a more complete team,'' Semrau said. ''Notre Dame is so precise in what they do but we have to understand what they do and the ways we have an advantage.''
Notre Dame is 7-1 against ranked opponents this season and have won 51 of 52 ACC games since joining the conference for the 2013-14 season.