Florida State (10-7, 9-7 ACC) defeated Wake Forest (11-11, 8-10 ACC) by a 59-51 score this afternoon in Tallahassee, FL.
The game started out tight as neither team was able to make much of an impression early on the offensive end of the floor. Wake tied the score at 11-11 to end the quarter on a fast break putback from Ivana Raca.
FSU scored six of the first eight second quarter points. But Wake responded in fine fashion by hitting the Seminoles with a 13-2 run to take a 26-19 lead. Savannah Wilkinson broke the run with a jumper that sparked Florida State to an 8-3 run to end the half. However, the Noles were still down 29-27 going into halftime.
The two teams traded baskets in the third quarter but the Seminoles scored the last four points of the quarter to cut Wake’s lead to 41-39 heading into the fourth.
FSU quickly took the lead on an old-fashioned three point play from River Baldwin. Her play sparked the Noles to a 15-3 run that broke the game open. Florida State had 54-46 lead with a couple of minutes left in the game. From there the Noles held Wake off to earn a big 59-51 victory.
FSU had a balanced attack as Valencia Myers, Bianca Jackson and Morgan Jones all chipped in with 11 points each. Myers added nine boards while Jackson and Jones had seven rebounds each.
Florida State struggled with turnovers early. The Noles committed nine in the first quarter alone. FSU cleaned this up later in the game only committing nine turnovers for the rest of the game and that was a big factor in FSU being able to take over the game late.
Florida State also dominated the glass in this game out rebounding the Deacons 45-27.
Morgan Jones came off the bench for the first time this season due to an internal team issue.
This game provided a tantalizing glimpse of how FSU could have been all season with a bit more health. Florida State dominated Wake 30-9 in bench points. This was due in part to Jones coming off the bench but Savannah Wilkinson also had her best game of the year. Wilkinson has been hobbled by a foot injury all year. If she can find her groove she can give the Noles an important dimension off the bench.
FSU was probably in already but this game locks up an NCAA Tournament berth for the Seminoles. The only question now will be the seeding.
This game also puts the Noles in prime position for a top four seed in the ACC Tournament. For that to happen FSU needed to win today and have Syracuse and Notre Dame both lose. NC State beat Syracuse today 68-61 so if Louisville can take care of Notre Dame later today the Noles will be the four seed and enjoy the double-bye in the ACC Tournament.
The bottom line in this game is that FSU took care of business at home against a weaker team to earn an important win. The Seminoles also look like they might be getting healthy at just the right time. However, this team has been up and down all year so we will see if they can keep it going in the postseason.
Florida State will head to Greensboro, NC for the ACC Tournament. If Louisville beats Notre Dame the Seminoles will open play on Friday. If not, the Noles will start the tournament on Thursday.
Louisville has beaten Notre Dame so Florida State will be the 4 seed in the ACC Tournament. (12) Pitt and (13) Boston College will open the Tournament on Wednesday. The winner of that game will play (5) Syracuse on Thursday and the winner of that game will play FSU in the Quarterfinals on Friday. If the Seminoles win they will face the winner of (1) Louisville and (8) North Carolina/(9) Wake Forest in the semifinals.