The (8) Florida State Seminoles (25-4, 13-2 ACC) used a balanced attack to get an important 79-48 win over the Pittsburgh Panthers (13-15, 4-11 ACC).
Coming into this game Pitt had lost 7 of its last 8 games. The Panthers are not bad defensively (.869 DPPP 115th nationally) but their problem is on offense. Pitt ranks 201st in OPPP at .888. FSU is 10th in OPPP (1.08) and 9th in DPPP (.767). The Panthers are also not a great rebounding team ranking 13th in the ACC in rebounding margin. It hurts them that they are a relatively small team with only one player taller than 6'1. However, their 2-3 zone has helped them rank third in the conference in field goal percentage defense.
The player to watch for Pitt is 6'0 sophomore forward Brenna Wise. Wise leads the team in scoring (14.1pts) and rebounding (6.6reb). She is a versatile player who attacks mostly from the wing but has the ability to go into the post when guarded by a smaller player. 6'4 senior Brandi Harvey-Carr is Pitt's only true post player. She is second on the team in scoring (9.6pts) and rebounding (4.7reb). Pitt is led by 5'7 junior point guard Aysia Bugg. Bugg is from Bolingbrook, IL which is the same hometown as FSU freshman Nicole Ekhomu. Bugg is a heady floor general who leads the team in assists (3.5apg).
Pitt got off to a good start with Wise and Bugg both hitting jumpers. Then FSU found their groove as the Noles went on a quick 10-0 run that was sparked by an Imani Wright three ball. For the rest of the period the two teams mostly traded baskets and FSU ended the first quarter with a 19-11 lead.
In the second quarter the Seminoles asserted their dominance. The Noles started the quarter with a 13-1 run that was capped by an Ivey Slaughter mid range jumper. FSU held a 32-12 lead at this point. At the end of the quarter it was 38-17 and FSU was crusing. The Seminoles held Pitt to only six points in the quarter.
The second half was more of the same as the Panthers could never get closer than 20 points en route to a 79-48 Florida State victory.
Wise was the only Panther in double figures with 23 points. She also led Pitt in rebounding with five. FSU employed a balanced attack with all five starters in double figures led by Chatrice White and Brittany Brown with 13.
This was Senior Night for FSU even though the Noles will almost certainly have home games in the NCAA Tournament. Seniors Kai James, Brittany Brown, Ivey Slaughter, Leticia Romero and Gabby Bevillard are the winningest class in FSU history with a career record of 103-29 (.780).
Shakayla Thomas sat out tonight's game but she did dress and she participated in warmup drills. FSU is being very cautious with Thomas and this is a smart move. Obviously the player's health is paramount but FSU also has to get Thomas ready for the important games. The truth is that the Noles knew that they would be fine without her tonight.
FSU got good contributions from the bench tonight. The stat line wasn't that impressive but A'Tyanna Gaulden may have played her best game at FSU. She was the speedy player she has always been but she was much more under control tonight and she flashed the elite passing that made her a 5* in high school. Ama Degbeon and Nicole Ekhomu also had strong games for FSU.
Florida State will head to South Bend, IN on Sunday, Feb. 26th for a 1pm date with (5) Notre Dame (26-3, 14-1 ACC). The winner of this game will win the ACC's regular season title. The Irish defeated BC tonight 82-45. We will have more on this game soon.