No. 14 Florida State (17-3, 6-3 ACC) defeated Miami (11-9, 3-6 ACC) by a 79-61 score this afternoon in Tallahassee.
The game started out close as the Canes were able to match FSU bucket for bucket early. However, the Noles were finally able to build a lead late in the first quarter. Sammie Puisis nailed a triple to spark the Seminoles to a 7-0 run to end the quarter. FSU took an 18-10 lead into the second quarter.
In the second quarter the Hurricanes fought back. With 7:16 left in the half Kelsey Marshall hit a three to tie the game at 22. Nicki Ekhomu immediately answered with a three ball of her own and that shot sparked the Noles to a 14-2 run that saw FSU take a 36-24 lead. Florida State eventually took a 40-26 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter the Noles stretched the lead to 46-28 on a Kiah Gillespie layup. However, UM refused to go away. The Canes responded with an 8-0 run that was capped by a Kelsey Marshall triple. Puisis broke the run with a three of her own but Miami had cut the lead to 49-36. From there the teams traded baskets but FSU ended the quarter by scoring eight of the last 10 points and the Seminoles held a 59-42 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Miami started the fourth by scoring the first five points to close the gap to 59-47. From there the two teams mostly traded baskets until FSU used a 9-2 run to put the nail in Miami’s coffin taking a 73-56 lead with 2:31 left in the game. The Noles coasted from there to the final 79-61 victory.
Nicki Ekhomu led FSU with 19 points while Nausia Woolfolk had 15 points, five rebounds and five assists. Kiah Gillespie recorded her eighth double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 boards.
Florida State cruised to the victory but the Noles did commit 17 turnovers and Gillespie was responsible for eight of them. The turnovers were mostly due to the constant full court pressure employed by Miami throughout the game. With preseason ACC Player of the Year Beatrice Mompremier missing the game with a foot injury UM lacks the talent to really match up with FSU right now. However the Seminoles really need to pay attention to this issue because better teams will be able to attack this weakness if it is not corrected.
Florida State did a great job on the back boards outrebounding the Canes 39-27. Miami also only got two points off the bench while FSU had 18 bench points.
For the second straight game FSU started the game with a four guard lineup. It will be interesting to see whether the Noles continue with the smaller lineup going forward.
Florida State has reached the softer portion of the schedule. Outside of Louisville, the Seminoles will not face another team currently in the top 30 of the RPI until the ACC Tournament. FSU is doing exactly what it should by stacking wins against this part of the schedule. If they can continue to do so the Noles will earn a very favorable seed in the postseason but there is still a long way to go before we reach that point of the season.
On Thursday, Florida State will host Boston College (10-9, 3-5 ACC) in Tallahassee. The game will tip at 7pm and will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.