No. 9 North Carolina State (16-1, 5-1 ACC) defeated No. 13 Florida State (15-3, 4-3 ACC) by a 68-51 score tonight in Raleigh, NC.
The game started out tight but the Wolfpack made a move midway through the first quarter. Aislinn Konig sparked an 11-2 run to end the quarter that gave NC State an 18-10 lead going into the second period.
The run continued into the second quarter as the Pack scored six of the first seven points of the quarter to take a commanding 24-11 lead. From there the two teams finished the quarter mostly trading baskets and the Wolfpack took a 36-21 lead into halftime.
FSU kept playing in the second half even going on an 11-2 run in the fourth quarter but the Noles never seriously threatened in the second half as the Pack cruised to the 68-51 victory.
Kiah Gillespie paced the Seminoles with 22 points. Nausia Woolfolk was the only other Nole in double figures with 12.
Elissa Cunane is arguably the best player in the ACC and she displayed why tonight. The 6’5 center had 20 points, 10 boards and five blocks. Her line would have been better if the Pack hadn’t for some reason forgotten that she was on the floor in the fourth quarter. The Seminoles simply had no answer for Cunane down low on the block.
FSU started out on Cunane by playing her straight up one on one. That was a mistake as she continued to roast FSU inside. The Noles did adjust eventually by going to a zone. Even though Kai Crutchfield immediately greeted it with a triple, the zone eventually met with some measure of success.
The Noles were only outscored 32-30 in the second half. This was due mostly to the fact that (to their credit) FSU kept playing, the Pack relaxed a bit and as I mentioned above they stopped going to Cunane for some reason.
FSU did not play particularly well in this game but don’t confuse this loss with the Georgia Tech loss. Against GT Florida State allowed an inferior team to come into their place and whack them by double digits because the Noles didn’t look interested in playing basketball. Tonight FSU got beat by a better team who was up for the game against another top ACC team and played well. This game was less about FSU and more about how good the Wolfpack are.
However, the fact is that after starting 13-0 the Noles are now 2-3 in their last five games. It’s not time to panic though. FSU will probably drop a bit in the polls but will still be in the top 20 and are still very much on track for a top four NCAA Tournament seed and the home games that come with that seeding. Also, the schedule lightens up considerably. FSU will probably be favored in all 11 games left in the regular season except for the game at Louisville and maybe the Georgia Tech game in Atlanta.
Even with the recent setbacks this is still a very good team with an impressive resume. However, the Seminoles still haven’t proven that they can hang with elite teams. Tonight they had a chance to do so and they weren’t able to take it.
FSU will have a week off before it heads to Winston-Salem to face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (10-6, 3-2 ACC). The game will tip at 7pm on January 23rd and will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.