(8) Texas Longhorns (21-4, 8-2 away) beat (4) Florida State Seminoles (23-3, 11-3 Home) 92-88 in double overtime.
Florida State controlled this game for the first 30 minutes. FSU led by 13 points with 14 seconds left in the third quarter. Texas point guard Brooke McCarty played like an All-American all game and she hit a three to beat the third quarter buzzer to pull Texas within 10. This would also turn out to be the spark needed to get the Longhorns back into the game.
Early in the fourth quarter the Horns hit the Seminoles with a 19-2 run to take a 68-63 lead. Florida State had a rough shooting night (33.7%) but was able to overcome it in the first three quarters because of Texas turnovers (21 for the game) and stellar offensive rebounding that led to the Noles having a 13 shot edge for the game. In that nightmare stretch for the Seminoles they continued to shoot terribly but weren't able to get the rebounds necessary to score. Texas also did a great job cleaning up the turnovers.
After that stretch FSU was down 68-63 but the Noles weren't done. Leticia Romero drove the lane and made a great layup on which she was fouled. She hit the free throw to complete the three point play. Both teams then ran nice plays for layups and FSU fouled to stop the clock. Joyner Holmes made one of two and FSU was down three with 16 seconds left. Romero came down and missed a contested three but FSU got the rebound and Texas called timeout. The Noles ran a great out of bounds play and Romero buried an open corner three to tie the game at 71 and send it to overtime.
The first overtime was tight with neither team leading by more than four. It ended up being a parade to the line as the last six points in the period were free throws. Chatrice White made one of two for FSU to tie the game at 80. Texas had a chance to win it but FSU played good defense in forcing McCarty into a contested jumper which she missed.
In the second overtime the two teams started out trading baskets. After several free throws FSU trailed by one when Ariel Atkins found Olamide Aborowa wide open underneath the basket for an open layup with a minute 13 seconds left to put the Horns up 91-88. Atkins then stole the ball on the subsequent play. FSU fouled but UT missed both free throws. With 12 seconds left FSU was down 91-88. Imani Wright missed a three pointer. Thomas got the rebound but instead of kicking it out with FSU down three, she drove the lane but missed. Texas rebounded and FSU fouled. Lashann Higgs made a free throw to give Texas the 92-88 win.
This was a really impressive effort in a lot of ways from both teams but Texas is certainly for real. They were down the whole game until their huge run but they didn't quit. Brooke McCarty was stellar for the Horns. She played all 50 minutes scoring a career high 29 points and 8 assists. She kept her team in the game early when the Noles threatened to pull away.
This was a game of attrition. SIx players total fouled out (four for Texas) .
FSU did a great job on the boards especially early. Texas is an outstanding rebounding team but FSU was working them early. One big reason that the Noles lost the lead was that the Horns starting negating offensive rebounding opportunities.
It's really strange to see the Noles lose a game in which they won the turnover battle 21-14.
In the end, FSU just didn't get enough efficiency in their offense to get this game against another elite opponent. Shakayla Thomas led FSU with 23 points and 11 rebounds but it took her 34 shots to get those points. Romero had 12 points on only seven shots. That's obviously not enough shots but she was in foul trouble all game playing only six minutes in the first half. She would eventually foul out. Another somewhat unexpected bright spot for the Noles was Ama Degbeon. The junior had 13 points off the bench and she has really elevated her game in the last couple of weeks.
This definitely is a missed opportunity for the Seminoles. This would have been FSU's best win had they been able to get it. Ultimately however this game won't decide FSU's fate. If the Noles can beat Notre Dame on February 26th in South Bend they will still be in great position for a #1 seed depending on the ACC Tournament.
The Seminoles get back to the ACC grind as they head to Charlottesville to take on the Virginia Cavaliers (16-9, 5-7 ACC) on Thursday, Feb 16 at 7pm. Sagarin has FSU as 15.5 point favorites.