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No. 19 FSU women’s basketball suffers a damaging loss to Notre Dame

FSU drops to 0-10 all time against the Irish.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 27 Women’s Clemson at Florida State Photo by David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

No. 19 Florida State (22-7, 11-7 ACC) fell to Notre Dame (13-17, 8-10 ACC) today in Tallahassee by a 70-67 score.

Game Recap

The game started close but the Irish used a quick 7-2 mini-run to get some breathing room at 12-6. However FSU answered with a 7-2 run of their own to close the lead to 14-13 going into the second period.

Florida State made a move in the second period hitting Notre Dame with a 10-0 run midway through the quarter that was capped by a Kourtney Weber three. However, ND clawed back into the game with a 10-2 run that was sparked by a Destinee Walker layup. A Sam Brunelle jumper closed the FSU lead to 32-30 but Kiah Gillespie ended the half with a buzzer beating half court shot to give the Noles a 35-30 lead going into halftime.

The Seminoles scored the first six points of the third quarter to take a 41-30 lead. However the Irish didn’t go away. ND managed to end the quarter on a 10-2 run and cut the lead to 52-50 after Brunelle hit a triple at the buzzer.

The fourth quarter started with the teams trading baskets. With 1:23 left in the game Gillespie made a nice move to make a tough layup to tie the game at 66. Marta Sniezek responded with a dribble drive and a layup. Kiah Gillespie missed a jumper but Nausia Woolfolk got the rebound. FSU called timeout and on the ensuing play found Sammie Puisis in the corner for a three. Puisis’ shot hit off the back rim and ND got the rebound. FSU fouled and Destinee Walker split a pair of free throws to put the Irish up 69-66 with five seconds left in the game.

FSU inbounded to Nicki Ekhomu who rushed up court. Ekhomu managed to get off a three but she was fouled and was awarded three free throws with a second left and FSU down 69-66. Ekhomu missed the first, made the second and then missed the third on purpose but she was called for a lane violation and ND was awarded the ball. FSU fouled to stop the clock and Katlyn Gilbert made one of the free throws for the final margin of 70-67.

Post Game

Kiah Gillespie led FSU with 22 points and seven boards. Nausia Woolfolk had 20 points and six rebounds.

Today was Senior Day as Kiah Gillespie, Nausia Woolfolk and Nicki Ekhomu have very likely played their last games in Tallahassee. More on that later.

The story of this game was the performance put on by Sam Brunelle. The 5* freshman from Virginia is a 29% three point shooter. However you wouldn’t know that from today’s game. Brunelle hit 7-11 from deep finishing with 25 total points. Obviously Brunelle wasn’t on the scouting report as someone that FSU needed to worry about from deep but the Noles still should have given her more attention when it became clear that she was feeling it in this game. The Seminoles eventually did recognize how hot she was and they adjusted the defense. Unfortunately they were paying so much attention to the perimeter that they left driving lanes open and Marta Sniezek and Destinee Walker took advantage by beating defenders off the dribble and getting to the basket when the help didn’t materialize.

FSU fell 12 spots in the RPI to 40th after this one game. The Seminoles have lost three of their last five games and have likely fallen to the six line in the NCAA Tournament. FSU now probably needs to advance to at least the ACC Tournament final in order to get the four seed in NCAA Tournament and the home games that come with that seeding. However, FSU really needs to win the ACC Tournament to feel comfortable about hosting NCAA Tournament games. The silver lining is that FSU is locked into the fourth seed in the ACC Tournament even if Boston College defeats Syracuse today.

Simply put, FSU is searching for answers right now. This was the first loss all year that the Noles have suffered to a team that currently has a losing record. It is always tough when someone gets hot and has a career game but that shouldn’t obscure the fact that the Seminoles are clearly struggling on defense right now. They have to get that fixed if they hope to make any noise in the postseason.

Next Game

The Seminoles will play on Friday at 11am in the upcoming ACC Tournament in Greensboro, NC.