Florida State (16-3, 5-3 ACC) defeated Wake Forest (11-8, 4-4 ACC) by a 70-65 score tonight in Winston-Salem, NC.
The game started off tight. However, FSU made a move with about four minutes left in the first quarter. Nicki Ekhomu hit a three ball and her shot sparked the Seminoles to a 13-2 run to end the quarter. Florida State enjoyed a 20-12 lead going into the second quarter.
The Noles continued the onslaught in the second period. FSU scored the first eight points of the second quarter to take a commanding 28-12 lead. A free throw from Alex Sharp and a jumper from Gina Conti broke the run. However, the Deacons had gone over eight minutes of game time without a made field goal before Conti’s jumper. FSU maintained a 35-19 lead going into halftime.
The Seminoles scored the first five points of the second half to take a 40-19 lead but Wake refused to quit. The Deacs responded with an impressive 21-4 run over the next five minutes to get right back into the game cutting the Nole lead to four at 44-40. Valencia Myers and Kiah Gillespie restored order with a pair of buckets and the two teams ended the quarter by trading baskets. FSU nursed a 52-44 lead going into the last quarter.
The teams began the fourth by trading baskets but the Deacs had one more run left in them. WF hit FSU with a 9-1 run to close the lead to 59-56 with about three and a half minutes left in the game. Nausia Woolfolk stopped the bleeding with a pair of jumpers sandwiched around a Wake free throw to give the Seminoles a 63-57 lead. From there the teams exchanged baskets and the Noles escaped with a 70-65 victory.
Kiah Gillespie and Nicki Ekhomu led FSU with 14 points each. River Baldwin had 12 big points off the bench. Valencia Myers came off the bench but it didn’t affect her as she responded with eight points and 10 boards.
FSU really needed this game to get back on track. The Noles had lost three of their last five after the 13-0 start. This game is also important in the conference race as the Seminoles moved into a three way tie for third with North Carolina and Georgia Tech.
Florida State continues to struggle to deal with impactful front court players. Tonight the duo of Ivana Raca and Christina Morra combined to give FSU 39 points and 12 rebounds. The Noles will have to figure this out if they want to reach their full potential in March.
Wake Forest is not terrible but the Deacons are not going to hear their name called on Selection Sunday. This was a game that FSU needed to win and they did get the job done. However, the coaches will have a lot to discuss with this team starting with how they allowed a 21 point lead to almost completely evaporate in five minutes.
FSU returns home and will welcome Miami (11-8, 3-5 ACC) to the Civic Center this Sunday. The game will tip at 2pm and will be broadcast on the ACC Network. The Canes beat Clemson 68-64 tonight.