The (3) Florida State Seminoles (27-6) use a big third quarter to get an impressive 77-55 win over the (6) Missouri Tigers. The win was the 400th for Head Coach Sue Semrau. This victory seals Florida State's third straight Sweet 16 appearance.
FSU jumped out to an 11-4 lead that was capped by a jumper from Leticia Romero. The Tigers responded with a 10-1 run to end the quarter that was sparked by an old fashioned three point play from Cierra Porter. After Sierra Michaelis made a three pointer the Tigers took a 14-12 lead into the second quarter.
Jordan Chavis started the second quarter in fine fashion for Mizzou by hitting a three. After that the Noles made their move. Imani Wright came down and hit a jumper and that sparked FSU on a 17-2 run to take a 29-19 lead. There was no quit in Missouri however as the Tigers responded with an 8-0 run of their own to close the gap to 29-27. The Noles then scored the final three points of the quarter to take a 32-27 lead into the locker room.
In the third quarter the Seminoles took control of the game. FSU scored the first eight points of the quarter to take a 40-27 lead. The two teams then traded baskets and then the Noles went on another run to put the game away. This time it was an 11-4 run to give the Seminoles a 56-37 lead going into the fourth. From there the Noles cruised to the 77-55 win.
Shakayla Thomas again led FSU with 20 points and 11 boards. It was her second double-double of the tournament. Brittany Brown had 16 points, 8 assists and 4 steals. Leticia Romero went for 14 points and 6 rebounds and Imani Wright also chipped in 14 points. Sophie Cunningham led Missouri with 17 points.
This was an impressive win for FSU. Missouri is a solid team. The Tigers finished the year ranked 25th in the AP poll. This looked like the Seminole team we saw in January when the Noles were rolling and a #1 seed looked like a real possibility. Florida State got open looks due to their superior athleticism and they mostly knocked them down shooting 46.2% from the field. That doesn't sound too high but when you combine that with FSU's normal rebounding edge (this time it was 35-29) and good three point shooting (7-14) you have a recipe for success.
The Noles had 17 turnovers which is a few too many but they were much better in the second half and they managed to turn Mizzou over 23 times which keyed their transition game.
One thing to watch for is the bench production. Sue Semrau played all of the starters 30 plus minutes tonight and Chatrice White was the only player off the bench to play more than 10 minutes (she played 12). In White's case her low minutes may have been due to foul trouble but Maria Conde and Nicole Ekhomu only had 5 and 7 minutes respectively and this was in a 22 point win.
However, whether the bench plays great or not if Thomas continues this type of play the Noles will be a tough out. She is averaging 21.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in the tournament. We always knew that the ACC player of the year was talented but if she continues to put it all together like this FSU could go very deep in this tournament.
Florida State will travel to Stockton, CA for the Sweet 16 to take on the winner of the game between (7) Creighton and (2) Oregon State.