Florida State 2-1 (1-1 ACC) fell to Clemson (6-1, 1-1 ACC) tonight by a 72-69 score in Littlejohn Coliseum.
Clemson came out smoking as Kendall Spray hit a pair of threes for the Tigers to give them a quick 6-0 lead. Kourtney Weber would respond with a layup but Gabby Elliott made another three for Clemson to put them up 9-2. From there the two teams mostly traded baskets and the Noles went into the second quarter down 21-15. FSU was discombobulated in the first quarter. Florida State was charged with seven turnovers in the first quarter. The Seminoles also struggled to shoot even missing layups. The Noles did get their sea legs later in the quarter but FSU was lucky to be down only six points going into the second stanza.
The Tigers scored the first four points of the quarter but FSU would fight back. Weber drove to the basket and converted an old-fashioned three point play. Weber’s play sparked the Seminoles to a 12-2 run to tie the game at 27. From there the teams traded buckets and game was tied at 36 at the half.
Clemson started another quarter off strong as Delicia Washington scored the first four points of the quarter. From there the teams went back and forth until Clemson scored five straight points with about two minutes left to go up 51-44. However, the Seminoles ended the quarter on a 6-2 mini-run that was capped by a Bianca Jackson jumper. FSU was down 53-50 going into the final stanza.
The two teams went back and forth until a triple by Weber with about four minutes left gave Florida State its first lead at 61-60. However, the lead was short lived as Hannah Hank struck right back for the Tigers with a layup on the ensuing possession. With 36 seconds left a Valencia Myers layup tied the game at 69. Morgan Jones then fouled Destiny Thomas as she was bringing the ball up court. This would normally be a bad foul but Thomas is only a 40% free throw shooter so the foul wasn’t so bad. Thomas hit one of two to give Clemson a 70-69 lead. After a timeout FSU ran its offense in the frontcourt. Bianca Jackson eventually drove baseline with 11 seconds left but she was short with her runner. Clemson got the rebound and eventually Spray was fouled with nine seconds left. Spray - a 92% free throw shooter - only hit one of two and the Noles had life only down two with eight seconds left. FSU called timeout to advance the ball to the frontcourt. Florida State got the ball in to Jackson. Sammie Puisis ran through a pair of screens to get an open look from three to win the game but her shot just missed and after a free throw Clemson walked away with a close 72-69 win.
Kourtney Weber led FSU with 21 points. Morgan Jones and River Baldwin had 13 and 12 points respectively. Jones also pitched in with nine rebounds.
This was only FSU’s third game (to seven for Clemson) and it showed. The Noles actually ran good offense and got good looks but they struggled all night to convert. FSU shot 24-67 (35.8%) and only 4-19 (21.1%) from deep. Again most of these shots were good ones they just didn’t fall.
The Seminoles also committed too many turnovers with 21 for the game. These things may get corrected as the Noles get more games under their belt but if they don’t it will be a long season.
Clemson does seem improved from last season when they went 8-23. However, FSU has more talent than the Tigers. Simply put, the Seminoles let this one get away. The good news is that the problems (poor shooting, turnovers, etc.) do seem correctable. We will see if the Noles are able to do it.
FSU welcomes long time former assistant Lance White back to Tallahassee as the Pitt Panthers (3-2, 1-1 ACC) come to town on Sunday. The game will tip at 2pm and will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.