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FSU Women Return to the Court With a Win Over Jacksonville

The Noles overcome turnovers to put away the Dolphins 77-60 in their first game in a week. ACC play starts on Friday.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Game Recap

(#15) Florida State (10-3) took a week off to enjoy the holidays and it showed. The Seminoles were a bit rusty but they still had enough to handle a scrappy Jacksonville (6-7) team 77-60 on Monday in the TLCCC. Shakayla Thomas again led the Noles in scoring with 23 points off the bench. Leticia Romero was aggressive from the point guard spot with 18 points and eight assists. Christin Mercer led the Dolphins with 18 points off the bench.

The game started off ragged. FSU had three turnovers before getting their first field goal, an Adut Bulgak layup. Fortunately JU was also turning the ball over and FSU was able to get out in transition. The Seminoles jumped out to a 14-2 lead by the first media timeout. They were able to extend the lead to 20-7 to end the first quarter.

The Dolphins refused to quit however. Due to turnovers and missed layups neither team scored until 2:26 went by in the second quarter when Mercer hit a jumper to get Jacksonville going. The Dolphins then went on an 11-2 run to cut FSU's lead to five points before a Maria Conde three pointer stopped the bleeding. In that stretch the Noles went over six minutes of game time without scoring. From there the Seminoles were able to right the ship and they ended the half with a 41-26 lead.

The second half was more of the same for the Noles. When FSU wasn't turning the ball over they were able to play good offense by finding open shooters and making the Dolphins pay for staying in their 2-3 zone. FSU ended up shooting 54.5% from three (6-11) with Romero going 3 for 4. Overall the Noles shot 55.8% for the game.

However, this good offense was marred by the turnovers. FSU committed 25 of them (JU had 20) and that is obviously way too many. The Seminoles can get away with this against an outclassed JU team but in ACC play they will get tagged with L's if they don't value the ball better. The turnovers seemed to be mostly a mix of trying to do too much (trying to be unselfish and make the extra pass) combined with good old fashioned carelessness and a bit of rust from the long layoff.

It also seemed as if FSU knew that Jacksonville simply couldn't match up from a talent standpoint. The Noles didn't exactly look dialed in for the entire game and some of the turnovers come from lapses in concentration. Whatever the reason, FSU had better get this fixed and soon. If this continues against ACC teams the Noles will be in trouble.

The Dolphins had a significant height deficit as Mercer (6'1) is the only player on the roster above six feet tall. The Seminoles took advantage outrebounding Jacksonville 35-23. It was the 49th time in the last 52 games that the Noles had the rebounding edge.

Even though the Dolphins are better than their record indicates, they simply don't have the talent to match up with Florida State. Unless the Noles played their worst game in over two years they weren't losing this one. That all changes starting Friday when ACC play begins.

Next Game

The Noles will travel to the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville to take on the Cardinals at 4pm on New Year's Day (ESPN U).

The bad news for UL is that the Cards lost a ton of talent off of last year's Sweet 16 team. Louisville lost five seniors (Sara Hammond, Sherrone Vails, Shawnta Dyer, Bria Smith and Jude Schimmel) who accounted for 54.2% of the minutes and 50.3% of the scoring last year. The good news is that the Cardinals had the best or second best (depending on how much you like Duke's class) recruiting class in the nation in 2015. Because of all of the talent lost Louisville is a really young team. Of their top nine players seven are freshmen or sophomores and the other two are juniors who didn't play last year because of injury or transfer rules.

This youth led the Cards to have a rocky start to the season starting with a 1-4 record. However, since then they have righted the ship. Louisville (8-5) will bring a five game winning streak into the matchup with FSU. Since that awful start their only loss has been on the road at top 10 Kentucky.

FSU will have to contain Myisha Hines-Allen (15.2pts, 8rebs) down low, Briahanna Jackson (14.7pts, 3.7rebs) on the perimeter, and Mariya Moore (13.2pts, 4.2rebs) on the wing.

Louisville has very good talent but they are a year or two away. Most of their recent wins have come against relatively weak teams, although they did get a very good win beating Michigan State 85-78 in East Lansing. If the Noles can cut down on the turnovers and win the battle on the boards like they normally do they should come away with a win. If FSU loses this game we will have to re-evaluate the goals for this team but I don't think that will happen.