Game: Florida State (21-4, 11-1) at Syracuse Orange (20-6, 10-3)
Time and Date: February 18, 2016 7:00PM EST
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse
Television: ACC Network/ESPN3
With the regular season starting to come to a close, Syracuse will play their final home game Thursday against Florida State. In a pregame ceremony, the seniors will be honored (Brianna Butler, Brittney Sykes, Cornelia Fondren, Taylor Ford, Maggie Morrison, and Aliyah Parris) for their four years in Orange. When recruited, these players made up the sixth ranked recruiting class and Butler and Sykes were the third and fourth McDonald's All-Americans in Syracuse women's basketball history. The group has won over 72-percent of their games, the best winning percentage for a class in Syracuse history.
On Thursday, this class will have the chance to win one final game in the Carrier Dome, but they will face a tough Seminoles team, ranked in the top 10 in both major polls. The second place team in the ACC has just one loss, a conference season opening loss at Louisville.Other than that, the Seminoles have steamrolled every ACC opponent, winning conference games by an average of 23 points. The last time out, Florida State defeated North Carolina by 31, a team that used a late comeback to take out the Orange early in conference play.
The Syracuse women are coming off a 55-52 win at North Carolina State. After this the Orange will play at Pittsburgh before closing out the regular season in Chestnut Hill to take on Boston College on February 25th.
What to Watch For
One More Win: Senior night is full of tears and hugs, especially for this group that has helped the women's basketball program grow. Butler is one of the all-time great offensive players in Syracuse history. Sykes has shown the heart any team wants, battling back from knee injuries. Ford, Fondren, and Morrison are unsung heros on this team, players that are able to get a stop of make a basket when the team is faltering. These players have given the Orange 89 wins, and they are going to want to win one more on their home floor.
A Team to Play in the Post: For virtually every contest, Syracuse has a significant size advantage with the Day sisters inside. But Florida State will pose a challenge, boasting five players over six feet tall. Briana Day has struggled against teams that have pushed her around inside. Expect the Seminoles to give her everything they've got and try to get her in foul trouble early. When she plays in foul trouble, she plays scared. That's going to allow the big bodied Seminoles room to work.
3-Point Shot: Syracuse loves to throw up an open or contested three. Butler and Morrison have made careers of it, and head coach Quinten Hillsman has said he doesn't care how many threes they put up as long as they make most of them. That is the one area the Seminoles struggle defensively. Teams are shooting nearly 33-percent from range, and Florida State seems content to give them up. Syracuse, one of the top shooting teams in the league, will have to knock down shots from outside to have a chance in this one.