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Will Louisville overcome 1st major obstacle to open New Year?

Louisville needs all hands on deck as the Cardinals open ACC play against No. 15/13 Florida State. Coming off five consecutive wins, the Cardinals have found their identity, but still struggle getting defensive stops.

Photo by University of Louisville Sports Information Office/

Louisville, KY -- And they're off... The Cardinals kick off the New Year with a bang as they open ACC play against the No. 15/13 ranked Florida State Seminoles.

Wrapping Up 2015

Louisville (8-5) closed out non-conference play with five consecutive wins after defeating UT Martin, 88-66, on December 28th. The Cardinals showed off their offensive finesse as six players posted double figures. As a team Louisville shot 54%, tallying 46 points off UT Martin turnovers.

Myisha Hines-Allen continued her dominant streak pacing the Cardinals with 13 points. Fellow sophomore Mariya Moore racked up 11 points and nine assists, while junior Cortnee Walton added 12 points and nine rebounds, both just shy of a double-double.

Newcomers and standouts, Briahanna Jackson and Asia Durr both added 12 points apiece. But it was Taja Cole, who was 100% on the evening. Cole went 3-3 from the field, 1-1 from three and 4-4 at the charity stripe.

The Big Three

Louisville's Big Three dominated 2015, leading the Cardinals to eight wins.

Myisha Hines-Allen leads Louisville in scoring (15.2) and rebounding (8.0) while shooting a team-best 53.4% from the field. Briahanna Jackson is sitting at second in scoring (14.7) but leads the Cardinals in steals with a team-high 33 on the season. Mariya Moore is dishing out a team-best 64 assists while racking up 13.2 points.

Scouting the Seminoles

Florida State (10-3) enters the matchup winning three of the last four games.

The Seminoles are fresh off a victory defeating Jacksonville 77-60 at home. Florida State shot 55.8% from the field, including an impressive 6-for-11 performance beyond the arc.

Sophomore Shakayla Thomas paced the team with a game-high 23 points, connecting on 10-of-17. Junior Leticia Romero added 18 points, hitting four 3s and adding eight assists, and senior Adut Bulgak added 13 points.

The Seminoles have four players averaging double figures on the season. Shakayla Thomas leads the team posting 17 points per game. Adut Bulgak leads the team in rebounding (7.8) while putting up 14.4 points.

Leticia Romero is next in line racking up 11.8 points per game while dishing out 49 assists on the season. Junior Brittany Brown has a team-best 60 assists on the season while adding 10.6 points per game.

The Seminoles are crushing their opponents allowing only 53.2 points and holding teams to 37.5% from the field.

Florida State ranks sixth in the nation in rebounding margin (+15.3), 11th in field goal percentage (48.2%) and scoring margin (+22.8) and 17th in total steals with 132 on the season.

Keys for the Cardinals

The Cardinals have a tough task ahead with Florida State. The Seminoles are posting 48.2% from the field (11th nationally) and 37.3% from beyond the arc. Louisville needs maximum defensive effort from all players to stop Florida State from attacking the rim. Louisville is allowing opponents to connect on 46% from the field. The Cardinals have to defensive stops.

It's going to be a battle for the glass as both teams continue to be two of the top rebounding teams in the ACC. The pair sits at one and two respectively on rebounding defense. Florida State has the edge on Louisville only allowing 26.1 rebounds per game. Louisville allows 30.6 boards per game.

The Cardinals and the Seminoles tip off at 4 PM (EST) at the KFC Yum! Center. The game will air on ESPNU.