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FSU Women Run Their Home Winning Streak to 27 With a Win Over Georgia Tech

#19 Florida State overcomes turnovers and Shakayla Thomas powers the Noles to a 75-69 victory with career highs in points and rebounds.

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Game Recap

Georgia Tech (10-7, 0-4 ACC) lost a lot of talent unexpectedly last year when their best player and All-ACC performer Kaela Davis decided to transfer to South Carolina. She left because she wanted a better chance to compete for a National Championship. It's not exactly a ringing endorsement for your program when something like this happens. However, Coach MaChelle Joseph picked up the pieces relatively well. Senior guard Aaliyah Whiteside stepped up and now leads the ACC in scoring at over 20 points a game. The Yellow Jackets started with a more than respectable 10-3 record before ACC play. Unfortunately for Tech, conference play began and they have not won since.

Meanwhile, Florida State (12-4, 2-1 ACC) has had their issues on the road but have been perfect at home sporting a 26 game home winning streak. The last time the Noles lost in Tallahassee was on Feb 27, 2014 (86-78) to this Georgia Tech team. FSU had ample motivation to keep the streak going this afternoon.

Both teams came out playing well early and the game was close throughout most of the first quarter with FSU nursing a four to six point lead. Then the Noles went on an 18-5 run that ended midway through the second quarter. It looked like FSU would cruise to another easy home victory but Tech had other ideas. The Yellow Jackets then hit FSU with a massive 17-1 run that gave them a 36-35 lead. A couple of Seminole free throws gave them a 37-36 lead going into halftime but the Noles knew that they were in a game.

Georgia Tech came back by forcing Seminole turnovers. FSU had a whopping 20 turnovers in the first half alone (29 for the game). The Jackets employed a 3/4 court press that the Noles struggled to handle. When the Seminoles broke the press they generally did well against Tech's set defense but they didn't do this enough and they saw their lead steadily evaporate.

The second half stayed relatively close and the fourth quarter was especially close. FSU never lost the lead but in the fourth they never extended the lead past six points. Whatever lead the Noles had was mostly due to the inspired play of Shakayla Thomas (32pts, 14rebs) who was seemingly everywhere. Thomas scored in a variety of ways; putbacks, jumpers, dribble-drives were all found in her repertoire today.

FSU needed all of Thomas' brilliance because of the turnovers and missed opportunities in the game. Florida State must value the ball better. In their last four games they have turnover totals of 29, 25, 24 and 25. They need to fix this issue. The scouting report is out and the Seminoles can expect to see more and more pressure as the season goes on. Teams will want to test FSU's backcourt and make the Noles prove that another player besides Leticia Romero can handle the ball and make good decisions under pressure. Of course the 29 turnovers are way too many but the Noles also gave away points at the free throw line shooting only 45.8% (11-24) on the day.

On the positive side, FSU was once again very effective on the boards. The Noles had a massive rebounding edge, 56-31, and that gave them a second chance points edge of 21-14 which was effectively their margin of victory. FSU struggled from 3 point range (4-19, 21.1%) but they were able to rebound many of their misses. Adut Bulgak had a nice game, even though she fouled out, with a double-double (14pts, 11rebs).

Generally speaking this game followed the normal recent script for Florida State games. FSU dominates on the boards but must overcome turnovers and mediocre shooting to get a win. Florida State had a tougher game at home than many expected but as Jim Valvano is famous for saying, "Survive and Advance". FSU did just that and have put themselves in a good position in the ACC.

Next Game

FSU travels to Clemson on Thursday, January 14 at 7pm to take on the Tigers (ESPN 3).