Florida State used a hot start to knock off seventh-seeded Florida Gulf Coast University 65-47 Monday night to advance to the Sweet 16 of the 2015 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. The Seminoles depth and intensity, fueled by 4,772 in attendance at the Tucker Center, proved too much for FGCU.
"Playing together has become a habit, I'm so proud of them", FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. "This team knows what it wants and it'll be interesting to see what happens next down the road."
The second-seeded Noles started off quickly getting out to a 17-2 lead just five minutes into the game. However, the Eagles fought back doing what they do best by knocking down three pointers, cutting the lead to 26-20 at the midway point of the first half. That's when Shakayla Thomas took over scoring 10 points in the half to push the Seminole lead to 36-28 at the break.
The second half was all Florida State as another quick 11-2 run pushed the Seminole lead to 47-30 with just under 16 minutes left in the game. The rest of the half was all Florida State as they used stifling defense to wear down the Eagles and finish off the game. The Seminoles shot 46 percent from the floor on the night and held FGCU to just 31 percent on defense. FSU once again won the rebound battle against an opponent 35-19.
"There are times I watch them and they look like the second best team in the country", FGCU head coach Karl Smesko said. They played like that tonight, they have a legitimate shot at reaching the final four."
Thomas led Florida State with 12 points on 6-8 shooting, while Leticia Romero had another strong game with 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists.
The win moves Florida State to 31-4 on the season and they will wait to see who they will play in Greensboro in the Sweet 16. An advantage for FSU will be having already played three games in Greensboro Coliseum during the ACC Tournament, where they reached the finals.
This is also the third Sweet 16 in program history for the Seminoles, all under current head coach Sue Semrau.
The loss drops the Eagles to 31-3 and ends an incredible season for FGCU.