clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

FSU Women Get Back on Track Against Mercer

The #11 Seminoles return to their winning ways in a 79-36 home rout of the Mercer Bears.

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State renewed its rivalry with the Mercer Bears on Tuesday night in the TLCCC. Adut Bulgak started the game on fire. The senior center scored Florida State's first eight points and her teammates picked it up from there as the Noles (8-2) cruised to a 79-36 win over the visiting Mercer Bears (6-4). Despite Bulgak's hot start, the Seminoles displayed a balanced attack as four players reached double figure points led by Shakayla Thomas' 18 points off the bench.

The Bears hung in with FSU for a while only trailing by six (18-12) after the first quarter. However, in the second quarter the Noles outscored Mercer 20-8 and took 38-20 lead into halftime. Florida State was never seriously threatened in the second half.

That second quarter was a bit of a departure for FSU because the Noles hit four three pointers enroute to their 20 second quarter points. Mercer was content to sit back in a 2-3 zone for most of the game to limit FSU's chances inside. This left the Noles with plenty of outside shooting opportunities. The Seminoles took advantage going 10 for 20 from downtown led by Leticia Romero (4-6) and Brittany Brown (3-4). Romero nearly had her second triple double as a Nole finishing with 14pts, nine rebounds and seven assists in 30 minutes of play.

Even though Mercer's zone left FSU with open threes, the strategy was a good one because the Bears simply couldn't play man to man against the Noles for long. Mercer only features one player taller than 6'1 (6'3 center Rachel Selph) so they couldn't match up with the bigger Seminoles. Unfortunately for Mercer the zone left FSU with numerous opportunities to get offensive rebounds. FSU took full advantage grabbing 22 offensive boards and finishing with 54 total rebounds. Mercer only had 21 total rebounds for the game.

FSU was able to generate a big lead and this allowed the coaches to experiment with lineups and strategy. The Noles played both man to man and zone defense and they unveiled a 3/4 court trap. Every player on the active roster scored points tonight, including Kai James who returned after missing two games due to a team mandated suspension. Capitalizing on the return of James, Sue Semrau and staff even tinkered with a "twin towers" lineup playing both James and Bulgak together. This intriguing lineup could work because Bulgak has the ability to slide to the power forward spot and play a bit of a stretch four due to her outside shooting skill.

Turnovers were FSU's undoing in their last game against UCONN as they committed 26 in that game. Tonight against Mercer the Noles took much better care of the ball and only had 14 turnovers for the game. Of course, playing against the Bears is not the same as playing against the Huskies and their pressure defense so the turnover story remains one to monitor going forward.

This was a good game for FSU to be able to play after the disappointing loss to UCONN. The Noles were able to return home and take care of business. This has been a hallmark of the Seminoles both this year and last year. The Noles don't get beat by teams with inferior talent. If they can keep this up they will have no bad losses on their resume in March and that will help them greatly in their quest to get a high seed in the NCAA Tournament and the home games that come with it.

The Noles will play in Macon GA next year against Mercer in the second leg of a home and home series. In a classy move, the FSU coaching staff scheduled the series so that forward Ivey Slaughter could play in front of her hometown fans in her senior year.

FSU will take on Murray State (4-5) on Saturday, Dec 19 at 2pm in the TLCCC (ESPN 3) in their next game. The game against the Racers will serve as another tuneup game before FSU travels to Tempe, AZ to face the (21) Arizona State Sun Devils.