No. 22 Florida State (23-7, 11-7 ACC) defeated Wake Forest (16-16, 7-11 ACC) today by a 76-47 score to advance to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, NC.
Both teams started out slow. Florida State struggled to hit shots while Wake Forest also missed shots but mostly the Deacs were plagued by turnovers. Eventually Nausia Woolfolk broke the scoring seal with a driving layup that came after over three minutes had elapsed in the game. Woolfolk’s layup sparked FSU to an early 7-0 lead. From there the teams exchanged baskets until the Seminoles went on another run. FSU hit Wake with an 8-0 run that featured triples from Sammie Puisis and Kiah Gillespie to earn a 19-6 lead. After the first quarter the Seminoles enjoyed a 22-10 lead.
The teams mostly traded baskets in the second quarter. However, Florida State ended the half on an 8-0 run to extend the lead to 42-25 at the half.
FSU extended that 8-0 run to a 12-0 run by scoring the first four points of the third quarter. WF responded with four quick points to cut the lead to 46-29. From there the teams mostly traded buckets to end the quarter. However, a couple of FSU’s baskets were triples so the Noles were able to extend the lead to 62-40 going into the final quarter.
The Seminoles kept the heat on by starting the fourth quarter with a 6-0 run. To their credit the Deacons kept playing. Wake responded with a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 68-47. Unfortunately for WF there were only 2:08 left in the game. FSU ended the game on an 8-0 run that should have been 6-0 as the Seminoles scored at the end when they should have dribbled the clock out. However, Florida State walked away with an impressive 76-47 victory:
Nausia Woolfolk and Kourtney Weber led FSU with 15 points each. Nicki Ekhomu had 12 points while Kiah Gillespie chipped in with 10. However, the big stats from this game were Florida State’s shooting numbers. FSU made their first six threes ending the game going 10-17 (58.8%) from deep. Five different players hit a three with Weber leading the Noles with three triples. If the Seminoles can shoot this well going forward they will be a tough out for anyone:
FSU also dominated the boards (32-22). This was partly due to the fact that Wake preferred to get back on defense rather than go to the offensive boards. However, a big part of FSU’s formula for success has been winning the rebounding battle. Therefore it is a promising sign that the Noles were able to accomplish this much on the back boards.
Because this game was a runaway head coach Sue Semrau was able to go into her bench and cut the minutes of the starters. Nausia Woolfolk played the most minutes of any Seminole (28) while every available player played at least 12 minutes. That type of management is important in a tournament setting that could require multiple back-to-back games.
Florida State had lost three of their last five before this game. The Seminoles needed this type of game to feel better about themselves and get back on track. FSU looked like the team that we saw early in the season when the team was ripping through the non-conference schedule at 13-0. Of course it was against a Wake Forest team that hasn’t exactly been world beaters this year. However, FSU went out and pounded them playing very well in the process. They did what they needed to do today and can now feel better about themselves and gain confidence. If Florida State can play this well tomorrow and in future days they will be able to play with the best teams in the nation. The question will be whether the Noles can keep this up.
Florida State will advance to the ACC semifinals where the top seeded Louisville Cardinals (28-3, 16-2 ACC) will be waiting. Louisville beat Syracuse 71-46 today to advance. The game will tip at noon tomorrow and will be broadcast on ESPNU. FSU beat Louisville 67-59 at Louisville on Feb. 6th: