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Florida State Women Rout Murray State

FSU hits the century mark behind dominating interior play and outstanding rebounding. FSU faces #21 Arizona State next.

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Game Recap

Florida State (9-2) defeated Murray State (4-7) 101-59 this afternoon in the TLCCC. Adut Bulgak and Shakayla Thomas shared the scoring lead for the Seminoles (#10 Coaches, #11 AP) with 21 points apiece. Bulgak also added eight rebounds while Thomas only missed one shot all day going 9-10 for the game.

The Racers actually came out hot in this game. The Noles started the game in a zone and Murray State did their best to shoot them out of it. The first five made shots for the Racers were all threes and Murray State only trailed by one (18-17) after the first quarter. Last year's Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year Ke'Shunan James was particularly impressive for the Racers scoring eight points in the quarter including two shots from downtown.

Unfortunately for Murray State NCAA rules mandate that both teams must play a second quarter. The Noles imposed their will in the second stanza. The Racers went through an almost 4 minute stretch without scoring and FSU hit them with a 12-0 run that ballooned the lead to 20 points. That run included a spectacular half court alley-oop pass from Brittany Brown to Shakayla Thomas. Look for this play later tonight on SportsCenter's top 10.

In the third quarter the Noles hit Murray State with a 19-3 run to take a 68-38 lead. At that point the game was virtually over. FSU would finish with 101 points which is their first time hitting the century mark this year. It is their 27th time overall reaching the 100 point total.

FSU played mostly zone trying to force Murray State to stick to outside shots. This seemed like a sound strategy going into the game as the Racers were only hitting 27.6% from three coming into the game. However, the Racers were not shy about taking threes early. Murray State took 12 threes in the first quarter connecting on five of those shots. By staying on the perimeter, Murray State sacrificed inside opportunities. The Noles dominated inside and enjoyed a 62-2 advantage in points in the paint. I'm not sure that I have ever seen that big a discrepancy in a game before.

FSU also continued their domination on the glass. The Noles enjoyed a 51-14 advantage on the boards including limiting the Racers to only two offensive rebounds for the game. Murray State is not a big team and frankly doesn't match up at all well with FSU from a talent standpoint. However, holding a team to two offensive rebounds for a game is sick. If the Noles continue to rebound this well they have a chance against virtually anyone in the country.

Head Coach Sue Semrau used this game to experiment and tinker with lineups and both defensive and offensive sets. For the second straight game we saw extended minutes from the twin tower lineup of Adut Bulgak and Kai James. The Seminoles played multiple defenses including heavy doses of zone as well as man to man. FSU also tried a 3/4 court trap for a time in this game. In their next game we will see what lineups the coaches have the most confidence in because there will likely not be much time for experimentation in Tempe.

Next Game

FSU faces a quick turnaround as they travel to Tempe AZ to face the Arizona State Sun Devils (6-3). The Noles beat the Sun Devils 66-65 in last year's Sweet 16. Arizona State (#21 AP, #23 Coaches) will be looking for revenge and if FSU doesn't play well they could get it. Their record doesn't look that impressive but ASU has lost two games to two top 10 teams (South Carolina and Kentucky) by a total of six points. They have also battled injuries. Last year's second leading scorer and leading rebounder, Sophie Brunner has played only three games all year due to an ankle injury she suffered against South Carolina on November 27. She hasn't played since and if she is not able to go against FSU that will be a big loss for the Sun Devils. Brunner had 11 points and 8 rebounds against the Noles last year in the Sweet 16.

Even without Brunner this will be a tough test for the Noles. ASU beat a tough #19 Syracuse squad in the Carrier Dome 61-54 on December 12. To win this game FSU will have to stay tight on senior guard Katie Hempen. She is easily ASU's best outside shooter (46.3% 3pt) and FSU can't afford to let her get going. Quinn Dornstauder has taken up the slack down low from Brunner's absence and is leading the team with 11.8 points per game. It will be a battle down low between her and fellow Canadian Adut Bulgak.

This is a game that will be important for seeding in March because regardless of outcome both teams will very likely be dancing. Both Arizona State and Florida State want to prove that they can beat other excellent teams and this is a great chance for both teams to prove their point. The game tips at 5pm on Monday December 21 and will be televised on ESPNU.


Sophie Brunner returned last night for Arizona State's 90-80 win over Marquette. Brunner started and played 22 minutes for the Sun Devils and had 14 points and four rebounds. She should be good to go against Florida State on Monday.