Florida State (15-2, 4-2 ACC) defeated North Carolina (12-4, 3-2 ACC) by a 78-64 score today in Tallahassee.
The game was tight early. Neither team had a lead larger than three points in the first quarter. Taylor Koenen was hot for UNC as she made a trio of threes in the first quarter including one at the buzzer. For their part the Seminoles employed a balanced attack. However, UNC enjoyed a 19-17 lead going into the second quarter.
The two teams began the second quarter by trading baskets. However, FSU made a move with about eight minutes left in the quarter. The Noles hit Carolina with a 14-1 run sparked by a Nicki Ekhomu jumper. The Noles had jumped out to a 33-24 lead. From there the teams mostly traded baskets but Malu Tshitenge hit a layup to beat the buzzer to pull the Heels within seven at the half trailing 40-33.
UNC got back into the game to start the third quarter. The Tar Heels continued an 11-2 run that was finally broken by a jumper from Ekhomu but North Carolina had cut the lead to 44-42. However, Ekhomu’s jumper sparked the Seminoles to a 14-3 run to end the quarter. FSU had a 56-45 lead entering the last stanza.
Leah Church started the fourth in style for the Heels as she buried a triple. However, FSU answered strongly with a 9-0 run. Church broke the run with another three ball but the Noles enjoyed a 65-51 lead. However, the Heels weren’t done. Church’s shot sparked Carolina to a 10-0 run that only took two minutes. The Tar Heels were back in the game only trailing by a 65-58 score. However, FSU didn’t allow the Heels to get closer as the Noles scored 11 of the last 14 points in the game to walk away with a 78-64 victory.
Nausia Woolfolk and Nicki Ekhomu were the only Noles in double figures with 21 and 20 points respectively.
With the victory coach Sue Semrau earned her 200th ACC win. Coach Sue is only the fourth women’s coach in ACC history to reach the 200 conference win milestone.
UNC only shot 38% but still stayed in the game due to the fact that they took 17 more shots than FSU. However, the Noles had a huge edge in free throws attempted (20-4) that helped offset the advantage enjoyed by Carolina in shots from the field.
Florida State looked much more interested in this game than they did against Georgia Tech and that was a big factor in the win.
FSU was also very successful in cutting down the turnovers after a shaky start to the game. The Noles finished with only 10 turnovers for the game.
Overall this performance will steady the nerves of Nole fans as Florida State looked much more like the team that we have been accustomed to seeing for most of the season.
Florida State will head to Raleigh, NC on Thursday for a showdown with No. 9 NC State. The game will tip at 6pm and will be broadcast on the ACC Network. The Pack (14-1, 3-1 ACC) is currently in South Bend facing Notre Dame.