No. 17 Florida State (21-5, 10-5 ACC) defeated Wake Forest (13-14, 6-10 ACC) tonight in Tallahassee by a 78-67 score.
Both teams started out cold. Florida State started the game with a 1-10 shooting performance. For their part the Demon Deacons started out with the following possessions: turnover, missed shot, turnover, turnover, missed shot, turnover. However, their first made shot was a triple from Alex Sharp that sparked Wake to an 8-1 run. From there Wake held on to take a commanding 10-7 lead into the second quarter.
Ona Udoh hit a layup that sparked WF to a 8-2 run and the Deacons had an 18-11 lead. The Seminoles responded with a matching 8-2 run powered by a pair of threes from Sammie Puisis. From there the two teams mostly traded baskets and Wake took a 30-29 lead into halftime.
The two teams started out exchanging baskets but Wake was hitting threes while FSU was settling for twos so the Deacons built a 38-33 lead. However, Florida State had a major response. The Seminoles hit Wake with a 13-4 run to take a 48-42 lead. From there the Noles and Deacs traded baskets and the Seminoles went into the fourth quarter with a 52-46 advantage.
FSU broke the game open to begin the fourth quarter. The Noles started the quarter with a 13-2 run to take a 67-48 lead with about six minutes left in the game. The Deacons kept fighting but they couldn’t come closer than nine points for the rest of the game and the Seminoles walked away with a tough 78-67 victory.
Nicki Ekhomu led the Seminoles with 23 points and six assists. Kiah Gillespie and Nausia Woolfolk had 15 and 13 points respectively. Morgan Jones filled the stat sheet with 14 points, five rebounds, three assists and four blocks.
Tonight’s game was the yearly Samaritan’s Feet game where Florida State’s staff coached the game barefoot. Coach Sue Semrau has done this to increase awareness of the plight of those around the world without shoes. Semrau is 8-2 all-time in these games.
FSU started the game shooting 1-10. The Noles went 32-48 (67%) after that wretched start. That stat explains a lot about this game. Any team is tough to beat if they can shoot 67%.
Morgan Jones had 14 points but it was more noteworthy that many of those points came off of jumpers. Jones is known as a player who is very good defensively and a more than capable rebounder. She usually gets her points in transition or on putbacks. However, if she can add a consistent mid-range jumper to her game she will move to another level as a player.
FSU is still in the hunt for the important top four NCAA Tournament seed. They just need to win out and not get upset in the ACC Tournament. That would give them a reasonable (but not guaranteed) chance at the top 4 seed. They may still need help due to a relatively low RPI (25) and a so-so record against good teams. FSU is 10-5 in Q1 and Q2 games but fortunately the Noles have no Q3 or Q4 losses. FSU next plays at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are currently at 79 in the RPI. If FSU wins that game and somehow GT gets up to 75 in the RPI that win would be a very valuable Q1 win. Right now it is a Q2 game.
Florida State did what it needed to tonight. The last three games provide the chance for one good win at Georgia Tech. Unfortunately, the other two games (Clemson and Notre Dame) are just opportunities for bad losses so the Noles really need to win out to have any real chance at a top 4 seed.
Florida State will travel to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech on Sunday at 4pm. The game will be broadcast on the ACC Network. Georgia Tech (17-10, 8-8 ACC) lost to Louisville tonight 58-47.