Florida State (4-1, 3-1 ACC) defeated Virginia Tech (6-2, 1-2 ACC) today in Blacksburg, VA by a 73-63 score.
Virginia Tech started the game well scoring seven of the first nine points. However, the Noles fought back and were only down 13-10 going into the second quarter due to a buzzer beating three pointer from Morgan Jones.
In the second quarter Tech earned a six point lead after a layup from Elizabeth Kitley. FSU responded with a 15-3 run to take a 32-26 lead with 2:20 left in the half. From there the teams traded baskets and the Noles took a 37-31 lead into halftime.
The teams traded baskets to start the third quarter and then the Seminoles made a major move. FSU hit VT with a 20-3 run to take a 59-38 lead. Kitley ended the quarter with a layup but the Noles still lead 59-40 going into the fourth quarter.
Florida State stretched the lead to 64-42 after a triple from Sara Bejedi. However, the Hokies refused to quit. Tech responded with a 12-0 run to close the margin to 64-54. Sammie Puisis broke the run with a three ball. Virginia Tech then scored four straight points to put a bit of pressure on FSU as the score was 67-60 with 2:09 left. Valencia Myers was fouled as she was making a post move. Myers hit both freebies and time was running out on the Hokies. Aisha Sheppard hit a three to close the gap to 69-63 but there were only 37 seconds left. Tech fouled Morgan Jones to stop the clock and Jones calmly drained a pair. Kourtney Weber hit a couple of free throws to end the game giving FSU the winning margin of 73-63.
Sammie Puisis and Morgan Jones led FSU with 15 points each. Kourtney Weber chipped in with 14 and Bianca Jackson added eleven.
This was FSU’s ninth straight win over Virginia Tech.
Defense and rebounding were key for Florida State in this game. The final statistics show that FSU won the rebounding battle by only four (33-29). However, the 20-3 third quarter run that blew open the game was made possible in large part because the Seminoles allowed no offensive boards for VT limiting them to one and done.
The defense was also impressive from the Noles. Tech star center Elizabeth Kitley got her numbers (16pts, 13reb) in this game but she was harassed from the opening tip and saw few open looks.
Florida State shot the ball extremely well today. FSU finished 10-16 from deep and a blazing 21-22 from the free throw line. In fact, after missing their first free throw of the game the Noles ripped off 21 straight.
This game was not originally on the schedule. After both teams had games cancelled or postponed this game was added several days ago on relatively short notice. FSU has had four games either cancelled or postponed so far in the season.
Even though FSU has only played five games it is clear that several players have improved. Sammie Puisis is known as a three point shooter. Although she had her best game this year from downtown today going 5-9 from behind the arc, she has struggled overall this year going 5-22 from deep before this game. These struggles have been due mostly to the increased attention she has received from defenses. There are few open looks for Puisis this year. However, she has made strides in nearly every other aspect of her game. She is much better defensively and is second on the team in rebounding barely trailing Valencia Myers. She is doing so many little things well that the coaches have not been able to take her off the floor. She played 38 minutes today.
Speaking of Valencia Myers, she has added post moves to her game and looks more comfortable than we have seen her since she came to Tallahassee. Her rebounding has been very good but she has also been stout defensively. Myers has always had the talent but she now seems on the road to putting it all together.
Kourtney Weber leads the team in scoring at 16.2 points per game. Weber was a big time recruit from New Orleans in the 2018 class. She was a consensus top 30 recruit before she tore her ACL and lost an entire year in high school. The talent was always there but she was not asked to do as much before this year as FSU had Nicki Ekhomu, Nausia Woolfolk and Kiah Gillespie to shoulder the load. This year the team needed her to step up and she has responded. Her confidence seems to be much higher this year as she has been much more aggressive offensively.
Bianca Jackson has fit in seamlessly with the team even though she is playing a bit out of position at point guard. We have discussed Morgan Jones previously but she has kept up a high level of play since her break out game against Florida. River Baldwin has been making strides off the bench displaying several nice post moves. She is also rebounding well.
The Seminoles shot very well today and obviously everyone looks better when the shots are falling. However, there is real talent on this team. As they get more games under their belt it really seems that the Noles are headed in the right direction.
Florida State remains on the road as they will head to Winston-Salem on Sunday to face Wake Forest. The game will tip at 1pm and will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.