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FSU women edge Georgia Tech in Atlanta

Florida State uses a balanced attack to get by the Yellow Jackets.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The (6) Florida State Seminoles (20-2, 8-1 ACC) defeated the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (13-7, 2-5 ACC) 69-63 in Atlanta to remain in first place in the ACC.

Pre Game

Georgia Tech is a team that finds itself squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble. They probably wouldn't make the field of 64 today but they are certainly in range with a couple more impressive victories. Tonight against Florida State would certainly give them one of those head turning wins.

The Yellow Jackets play a tough, physical brand of basketball. They are extremely deep. They play 11 players at least 10 minutes a game and nine of them play at least 19 minutes. They have no players who average 25 minutes a game.

They are led by 5'9 sophomore guard Kaylan Pugh. Pugh (11.8pts, 5.8reb) leads the team in scoring and rebounding. She is a transfer from Ohio State and due to NCAA rules she had to sit out the fall semester. This is only her ninth game for GT. Zaire O'Neil is a 5'11 junior forward who averages 11.2 pts and 5.1 rebs. Francesca Pan is a 6'1 wing who is the only other double figure scorer for GT with 11 points a game. Tech is 189th in the nation in offensive points per possession at .890. They are significantly better on defense ranking 59th in DPPP at .829. FSU is 5th in OPPP at 1.096 and 4th in DPPP at .74.

Game Recap

The Noles jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead that was capped by an Imani Wright jumper. However, Tech fought back with five straight points ending with a layup from Pugh to cut the lead to 8-7. From there the teams mostly traded baskets until Wright hit a three to give FSU a 16-13 lead to end the quarter.

In the second quarter it remained close. FSU never relinquished the lead but could never grow it past four points until the last three minutes when FSU hit Tech with a 7-0 run sparked by an Ama Degbeon layup. That run gave the Seminoles a 30-23 lead going into halftime.

In the third quarter the teams mostly traded baskets with FSU's lead getting cut to 47-44 courtesy of another layup by Pugh. Brittany Brown would answer for FSU with a layup of her own to stretch the FSU lead to 49-44 at the end of the quarter.

In the fourth, Tech hit FSU with a quick 6-0 run capped by a layup from O'Neil to take a 50-49 lead. FSU promptly answered with a 7-0 run sparked by a Chatrice White layup to take a 56-50 lead. Tech refused to fold as they hit FSU with a 5-0 run to cut the lead to 60-57. FSU responded with a 6-0 run to get some breathing room. After that the teams traded baskets until Tech was reduced to fouling with seconds left in the game and Leticia Romero hit a pair of free throws to ice the game for the Seminoles.

Shakayla Thomas led FSU with 17 points and 4 rebounds while Imani Wright had 14 points and 5 rebounds and Ivey Slaughter chipped in with 11 points and 6 boards. Tech was led by Pugh off the bench with 23 points and 7 rebounds.

Post Game

This was a big win for FSU as they fight to maintain their lead in the ACC and try to burnish their resume in hopes of getting a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Noles can't afford any slip ups against middle of the road teams and they avoided one tonight.

Off the Court

On Monday the NCAA Women's Tournament Selection Committee released its top 16 teams in their S-Curve for the NCAA Tournament. They will make two more reveals before the final tournament field is announced. The teams in order are below:


2. Baylor

3. South Carolina

4. Mississippi State

5. Florida State

6. Washington

7. Notre Dame

8. Oregon State

9. Maryland

10. Texas

11. Duke

12. Stanford

13. Louisville

14. UCLA

15. Kentucky

16. Arizona State

FSU's fifth place provides them an excellent chance to grab a #1 seed if they can avoid a hiccup provided one of the teams above them slips. Florida State's high ranking also shows that they are getting credit from the committee for playing UConn so close without having the services of Romero. FSU is the highest ranked team with more than one loss.

Next Game

The Noles get a week off before traveling to Boston to take on BC on Thursday, Feb 2nd at 7pm. The Eagles (8-13, 1-7 ACC) fell tonight in Winston-Salem against Wake Forest 71-55.