No. 14 Florida State (18-4, 7-4 ACC) cruised past Pitt (4-17, 1-9 ACC) by a 66-41 score today in Pittsburgh.
Florida State started the game off hot immediately hitting the Panthers with a 9-0 run that was capped by a Nicki Ekhomu jumper. Dayshanette Harris broke the run with a layup. That was the end of the scoring for either team for almost four minutes. Ekhomu struck again with an old-fashioned three point play with 2:48 left in the quarter to put the Seminoles up 12-2. From there both teams missed a bunch of shots and FSU went into the second quarter up 12-2. That is not a misprint. Pitt only scored two points in the first quarter. And yet, they were still in the game only down 10.
The Panthers would take advantage of the relatively small deficit in the second quarter. Pitt scored the first eight points of the second quarter powered by a pair of threes from Harris. The Panthers had cut the lead to 12-10. Ekhomu stopped the run with a jumper. From there both teams missed a bunch of shots but Pitt hit a couple of buckets while London Clarkson made four straight free throws and FSU was up 18-15. Gabbie Green hit a pair from the charity stripe to pull Pitt within one. Ekhomu got to the basket for a layup to stretch the lead to three. Pitt answered with a three from Marcella Lamark to tie the score at 20 going into halftime.
The two teams started the second half trading baskets. However, FSU made a big move midway through the third quarter. A Kiah Gillespie jumper sparked the Noles to a 9-0 run and FSU enjoyed a 36-27 lead with about three and a half minutes left in the third quarter. Pitt responded with four straight points but FSU ended the quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 43-31 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Noles extended the lead to start the fourth with an 8-3 run. Gabbie Green sank a triple to keep the Panthers within hailing distance but FSU had an answer. The Seminoles broke the game open by scoring the next 15 points to take an insurmountable 66-37 lead with 2:18 left in the game. From there the Noles coasted to the final 66-41 victory.
Nicki Ekhomu led the Seminoles with 25 points. Kiah Gillespie had another double-double with 10 points and 14 boards. Sammie Puisis nailed four triples to account for her 12 points off the bench. Nausia Woolfolk didn’t start but she played 18 minutes as she rejoined the lineup after missing the last game against Boston College.
This game was the 700th game coached by Sue Semrau at Florida State.
FSU held Pitt to only two points in the first quarter on 1-14 shooting. However, the Noles were unable to put the Panthers away early as the Seminoles only managed 12 points themselves in the quarter on 5-17 shooting. It may have been a result of the quick turnaround and the travel but FSU looked very passive early on in the game. Nicki Ekhomu kept FSU afloat with her aggressiveness but she didn’t get much help early.
However, the Noles were able to drop the hammer late. For Nole fans the second half performance was good to see but it was against Pitt. Florida State will need to find a way to put together a complete game performance to consistently beat the better teams on the schedule.
Speaking of better teams, FSU will travel to Louisville to take on the No. 5 Cardinals (21-1, 10-0 ACC) on Thursday. The game will tip at 8pm and will be broadcast on the ACC Network.