The last time we saw the Florida State Seminoles they were recovering from a very close hard fought loss against the four time defending national champion UConn Huskies. There were some who were wondering whether that game would affect the Noles in their next game but FSU put those thoughts to rest early as they jumped out to an early lead against the Jacksonville Dolphins and never looked back. The Seminoles won the game going away by a 90-47 score. Shakayla Thomas led the way for FSU with 20 points and Imani Wright and Chatrice White were the only other Seminoles in double figures at 10 points apiece.
FSU used tough defense to get out in transition for easy buckets. Florida State took an early lead at 12-2 on a Brittany Brown three and cruised to a 29-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Noles also benefited from sharp shooting (70% 3PT) and excellent rebounding to keep the lead. With 5:30 left in the second quarter Brown hit a layup to put the Seminoles up 38-18. The Dolphins would never get closer than 20 points for the rest of the game. FSU went in the locker room at halftime up 46-22. The second half was mostly extended garbage time as every available player got in the game for FSU.
Other than the win the big news for Nole fans was that Leticia Romero (9pts, 6ast) saw her first action of the year. Romero played 18 minutes and if it wasn't for the rout she clearly could have played more. She was the first sub off the bench coming in two minutes into the game for Maria Conde. Romero looked none the worse for wear and seems poised to regain her starting spot, probably as soon as Sunday.
The only disappointing aspect of this game was the free throw shooting as the Noles shot 19-34 (.559). They obviously need to get that cleared up against better teams but FSU had a great performance against JU tonight.
It's obviously very early as FSU has only played 10% of the regular season but a few observations can be made even at this early stage.
1. Brittany Brown is the (very) early MVP for this team. Brown has taken her game to another level in the early going and if she keeps this up the ceiling for FSU could be even higher than we thought.
2. The chemistry on this team looks good and could lead to special things in the future. Two years ago the Noles got to the Elite Eight despite the fact that they were integrating four new players (Meaghan Conwright, Adut Bulgak, Leticia Romero and Shakayla Thomas) into major roles. This year FSU has two new transfers in Imani Wright and Chatrice White plus the heralded freshman class who have joined the team. So far all of these new players are fitting in seamlessly. If that continues the Seminoles could do major damage in the ACC and in the Tournament.
3. The rebounding seems to be holding up. Much of FSU's recent success can attributed to superior rebounding. Adut Bulgak was a big reason for that and with her departure to the WNBA there were questions about whether the rebounding dominance would continue. Through three games (an admittedly small sample size) the Noles have yet to lose the rebounding battle.
Overall FSU looks every bit like the mature, talented top 10 quality team we thought they were. Tonight they handled an outmatched opponent in business-like fashion. They will attempt to do the same thing on Sunday at 1pm when James Madison visits the TLCCC.