The (7) Florida State Seminoles (19-2, 7-1 ACC) earned an 82-54 victory over the (17) Virginia Tech Hokies (16-3, 3-3 ACC) in Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech coach Kenny Brooks is in his first year in Blacksburg. Brooks comes over from James Madison University where he led the Dukes to 11 straight post season appearances. Brooks clearly has the Hokies moving in the right direction. After last year's disappointing 18-14 season Brooks guided Tech to a sparkling 15-0 record and a top 15 ranking to begin the season.The schedule was a bit soft but that 15 game streak did include an impressive 67-63 win over then #17 Tennessee.
Unfortunately for Tech the schedule has toughened up as of late and they have dropped three of their last four. Those games were at #14 Miami, at #15 Duke and now FSU. Tech is clearly better under Brooks. They score .981 OPPP (58th nationally) and hold teams to .7444 DPPP (57th). FSU is at 1.099 OPPP (5th) and .7444 DPPP (4th). VT isn't great at anything nor are they terrible at anything. They rank in the middle of the pack in nearly every statistical category.
5'6 sophomore guard Chanette Hicks (16.5pts, 5.1ast) is the engine that makes this team go. Hicks isn't a three point shooter but she threatens the defense with exceptional quickness and always seems to be playing downhill. 6'2 senior forward Sidney Cook and 6'3 senior forward Regan Magarity provide the production in the post. Cook (14.1pts, 9.1reb) can be a load down low. She combines good quickness and footwork with an nice array of moves to get the job done. Magarity (13.5pts, 10.2reb) is a rugged rebounder from Sweden. 5'7 senior guard Vanessa Panousis (9.1pts) is a steadying presence in the backcourt for the Hokies.
Ivy Slaughter (6pts, 5reb, 3stl) started the game with a quick layup for FSU. However, both teams started out a bit disjointed in this one. Halfway through the first quarter only eight points had been scored with FSU enjoying a 6-2 lead. The Noles were missing shots and VT was turning the ball over and missing shots. The Hokes scored five quick points to take a brief lead after Kendyl Brooks hit a three. FSU responded with an 11-2 run sparked by a Chatrice White (11pts, 4reb) layup to end the quarter with a 17-9 lead.
In the second quarter the Noles broke the game open with another 11-2 run to go up 28-14. Hicks (18pts) hit a layup to stop the bleeding but FSU was able to take a 33-22 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter the Seminoles took total control with an 11-2 run capped by a Leticia Romero (18pts, 7reb, 5ast) three ball. The Noles had a 44-24 lead at that point. They cruised to a 60-36 lead to end the third quarter and rolled on to the 82-54 win.
FSU has now won six straight games against ranked opponents and they are undefeated on the road this season.
FSU beat the #17 ranked team in the nation by nearly 30 on the road in a game where they didn't do anything particularly special. To be sure, they played well overall as they kept turnovers down (FSU 12, VT 28) and they won the rebounding battle as usual (41 to 35). But they didn't shoot particularly well (46.6% FG, 27.3 3PT). This game wasn't particularly remarkable and in that way it was very revealing about where FSU is as a program right now. If you can pound a top 20 team at their place by nearly 30 in what can best be described as a workmanlike performance then you are truly an elite team.
Romero led the Noles with 18 points while Shakayla Thomas had 17. FSU's bench played well as Maria Conde had eight points and Chatrice White had 11 points and four rebounds. Ama Degbeon continued her strong play of late contributing five points, four rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
The Seminoles travel to Atlanta on Thursday, Jan 26 at 7pm to face the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The Jackets (13-5, 2-3 ACC) are 19 point underdogs according to Sagarin.