No. 8 Florida State (13-0, 2-0 ACC) defeated Virginia Tech (10-2, 0-1 ACC) by a 86-62 score today in Tallahassee.
Florida State started the game unstoppable on offense. The Noles started the game with a pair of threes from Nicki Ekhomu and Nausia Woolfolk. After a Kiah Gillespie layup the Seminoles had jumped out to a 12-4 lead. At that point VT coach Kenny Brooks took a timeout to settle down his team. It worked to perfection as the Hokies came back and went on a 12-2 run to take their first lead of the game at 16-14 with about three minutes left in the quarter. FSU promptly answered with a 9-0 run to end the quarter and the Noles enjoyed a 23-16 lead going into the second period.
Lydia Rivers broke FSU’s run with a layup to open the second quarter scoring for Tech. Her layup sparked a 12-2 run for the Hokies and they took another lead at 28-25 with about six minutes left in the half. Nicki Ekhomu answered for the Noles with nine straight points. However, the Seminoles weren’t done. Woolfolk and Gillespie chipped in with buckets to increase the total run for FSU to 13 points before it was broken by a Trinity Baptiste layup. The scoring in the half ended with a London Clarkson layup and a pair of free throws from Woolfolk and the Noles had a 42-30 halftime lead.
The teams started the second half by trading baskets. However, the Noles made a move with about seven minutes left in the quarter. Woolfolk sparked an 11-3 run with a triple to give FSU a 56-39 lead. Florida State was able to continue the pressure and the Seminoles took a 65-48 lead into the fourth quarter.
The two teams exchanged buckets to begin the fourth. Eventually the Noles put the game away for good with a 10-2 run that was capped by a River Baldwin layup. FSU had a 78-54 lead at that point with five minutes left in the game. After that the Noles cruised to the 86-62 victory.
Nausia Woolfolk led five Seminoles in double figures with 21 points. Nicki Ekhomu had 16 and Morgan Jones chipped in 11. River Baldwin and Kiah Gillespie had 10 points each.
FSU had only six turnovers for the game. This careful ball handling led to only two points off turnovers for Virginia Tech. Tech had 13 turnovers which led to 16 points for the Seminoles. This helped FSU to hold VT to only four fast break points (FSU had 13). The Noles also had 27 bench points to only six for the Hokies. FSU also had a whopping 50 points in the paint to 30 for VT.
The point of going through all of those stats is to show that FSU dominated the game in a lot of different areas. It wasn’t just one thing. This was a team victory.
This was obviously an impressive game for Florida State. In a game like this it is possible to single out several players. The Big 3 (Ekhomu, Woolfolk and Gillespie) are always a huge factor. However, other players really stepped up today. River Baldwin seems intent on giving FSU a true, dependable low post scorer. This is an element the Noles haven’t featured in a while. London Clarkson hasn’t played much and she only got five minutes today but she was super efficient with six points on only two official shots. Morgan Jones really stood out today as well. At her best Jones has a bit of Giannis Antetokounmpo in her game. She is very good in the open floor, at 6’2 she is long on defense capable of blocking shots and she can get to the basket quickly with her long strides.
It’s hard to really know how good VT is despite the gaudy 10-1 record entering the game. The Hokies basically hadn’t played anyone. Their only truly good win was a 67-54 victory in Blacksburg over Purdue in the ACC/Big10 Challenge. However, the eye test reveals that the Hokies are legit. The problem for them today was that they were matched up with a team in Florida State that seems on the way to proving that they are one of the elite teams in the nation.