(24) Florida State (18-3, 6-2 ACC) defeated Miami (18-5, 6-2 ACC) tonight in Tallahassee by a 62-58 score.
Florida State jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead after a Valencia Myers layup. However, Miami responded with a 14-4 run to end the quarter taking a 16-10 lead into the second quarter. UM got hot from the perimeter. The Canes made the run by hitting four of their last five threes of the quarter.
Both teams came out cold in the second quarter. Neither team scored for over two minutes. Mykea Gray ended the drought with a three ball to give UM their biggest lead at 19-10. FSU responded with a quick 6-1 run to cut the lead to 20-16. After an Endia Banks layup for the Canes, Florida State scored the last four points of the quarter to go into the locker room down 22-20.
The third quarter is where the Noles made a serious move. Kiah Gillespie scored the first five points of the half to give the Seminoles a 25-22 lead. Miami answered with a pair of layups from Laura Cornelius and Beatrice Mompremier to regain the lead. Miami’s lead would be short lived however as FSU immediately hit the Canes with a 14-2 run. Taylor Mason broke the run with a pair of free throws but FSU was still up 39-30 going into the fourth quarter.
The two teams started the fourth by trading baskets. However, Miami would not go down easily. The Hurricanes hit FSU with an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 44-42. Then Gillespie stepped up (again). She delivered a personal 8-0 run to put the Noles up 52-42 with a little over three minutes left. Mykea Gray broke the run with a triple. The Canes cut the lead even further with a pair of free throws from Khaila Prather. Valencia Myers answered with four straight points to put the Noles up 56-47 with about a minute and a half left. From there it was bombs away as UM scored 11 more points with nine of them coming from three pointers. However, FSU protected the lead with clutch free throw shooting. In the last minute and a half the Noles were 8-8 from the line with Sayawni Lassiter hitting six of the shots. After Sarah Mortensen nailed a triple at the buzzer FSU walked away with a hard earned 62-58 victory.
Kiah Gillespie led FSU with 20 points and six boards. Sayawni Lassiter stepped up and scored 11 points - eight from the free throw line.
The statistic that told the tale of this game was that UM had 23 turnovers. In the first half they were mostly dead ball turnovers but in the second half the Noles forced several live ball turnovers and that is how they broke open the game. Those turnovers allowed FSU to get out in transition for easy buckets.
FSU was poor from deep again going 4-16 (25%) but they were red hot from the free throw line going 12-13 (92.3%) and that allowed them to salt the game away at the end.
One concern coming into the game was that UM has a size advantage with Beatrice Mompremier and Emese Hof down low. Both players put up numbers against FSU as they combined for 21 points and 23 rebounds. However, they also combined for 10 turnovers and that limited their effectiveness.
This Florida State team has a ton of grit and this game was just another example. FSU did a great job playing through some scoring droughts. This team is obviously facing challenges with all of the injuries. Depth will continue to be an issue for the rest of the season. However, this team has proven that it will continue to compete every time they step on the court and that gives them a chance in every game.
Florida State will host Wake Forest (10-11, 1-7 ACC) on Sunday at 2pm in Tallahassee. The game will be broadcast on ACCNetwork Extra. The Deacs fell to N.C. State tonight 59-50.