Florida State (8-5, 7-5 ACC) defeated Miami (8-9, 5-9 ACC) by a 67-59 score today in Tallahassee, FL.
Destiny Harden broke the scoring ice early for Miami. FSU responded with a 10-0 run that was capped by a triple from Sammie Puisis. Kelsey Marshall broke the run with a jumper for the Canes. From there the teams mostly traded baskets and Florida State enjoyed an 18-8 lead going into the second quarter.
The second quarter started with a three from Harden. Puisis answered with a triple of her own for FSU. The Seminoles made a move midway through the quarter with a 10-0 run that was sparked by a three ball from Sayawni Lassiter. FSU enjoyed a 31-16 lead. After a timeout UM answered with five straight points but the Noles scored the last four points of the quarter to take a 35-21 lead into halftime.
The Seminoles scored the first four points of the third quarter to take their largest lead of the game at 39-21. However, Miami wouldn’t quit. The Canes went on a 10-2 run to end the third quarter cutting the Nole lead to 53-46 heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter both teams started out slow as the two teams combined for only four points in the first five minutes of the quarter. From there the teams exchanged baskets as Miami was never able to make a move and the Seminoles walked away with a 67-59 victory.
Kourtney Weber led FSU in scoring with 15 points. Bianca Jackson had 13 with eight big assists. Valencia Myers and Sammie Puisis had 12 points each.
Both teams wore pink as today’s game was a Play 4 Kay game.
Florida State is now 6-0 at home. It is safe to say that the Seminoles play better at home. This is important as three of the last four games are in Tallahassee.
In both matchups against Miami the Canes have taken advantage of FSU in the third quarter. In Coral Gables UM beat Florida State 26-12 in the third quarter. In Tallahassee they enjoyed a 25-18 edge in the third quarter. Weber was asked about the third quarter issues after the game, “I think we stopped taking care of the ball like we (did) in the first half. We had a couple of turnovers that led to a couple of easy baskets by them and I think that our defensive focus might have been a little off. We kind of turned that up in the last couple of minutes to secure the win.”
FSU is starting to find a groove. It is partly due to getting back home but it also helps to have more players returning to action. Florida State played 10 players today. A couple of them played less than five minutes but the point is that the Seminoles now have an (almost) full complement of players that the coaches feel comfortable putting in the game. That wasn’t the case earlier in the year due to injuries.
The next step will be to get more production from the bench players. The Noles only had nine bench points today. That number needs to increase.
Returning home has done wonders for Florida State’s tournament resume. The Noles are a strong bet to make the tournament now and are probably looking at an eight or nine seed if the season ended today.
FSU will host Georgia Tech (11-5, 9-4 ACC) on Thursday in Tallahassee. The Jackets lost to Louisville 85-70 on Thursday but GT beat FSU 66-58 on January 24th. The game will tip at 6pm and will be broadcast on the ACC Network.