Florida State (10-8, 9-7 ACC) fell to Syracuse (14-7, 9-7 ACC) by a 68-67 score today in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals in Greensboro, NC.
Florida State started out fast with a 9-0 run that was capped by a pair of free throws from Kourtney Weber. From there the teams traded baskets until FSU scored the last five points of the quarter to take a 22-8 lead into the second quarter.
Digna Strautmane opened the quarter with a triple for the Cuse. After that the two teams exchanged baskets until SU went on a 5-2 mini-run to end the half and close the Nole lead to 39-27.
With 2:51 left in the second quarter Syracuse freshman forward Priscilla Williams tried to take a charge on a drive by Weber. Williams fell to the ground awkwardly and hit her head on the floor. Medical professionals treated her and the game was delayed for about 11 minutes as Williams was eventually taken away on a stretcher. Williams was taken to a local hospital for observation. Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman reported that Williams had movement in all of her extremities and that she was awake and responsive.
In the third quarter FSU was able to maintain the lead early but halfway through the quarter the Orange made a move. SU hit the Seminoles with a 9-2 run that was capped by a triple from Digna Strautmane to cut the lead to 53-47. Emily Engstler ended the quarter with a halfcourt heave to beat the buzzer that cut FSU’s lead to 55-52 going into the fourth quarter.
Engstler tied the game in the fourth at 55 with a triple. The Seminoles answered with a 7-0 run to take a 62-55 lead. Strautmane hit a jumper with 2:48 left that sparked the Cuse. SU eventually cut the lead to 67-66 which set up the game ending sequence.
Bianca Jackson drove to the basket but missed a tough, contested layup. Kamilla Cardoso got the rebound for the Cuse with 15.9 seconds left. The Orange called timeout to advance the ball. SU got the ball in to Kiara Lewis. She eventually passed to Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi who immediately shot a three. The ball caromed off the backboard where River Baldwin and Cardoso both had it and the refs called a held ball. SU had possession with 5.3 seconds left. Syracuse called another timeout. Lewis in-bounded it to Djaldi-Tabdi who was surrounded in the lane by Seminoles. Djaldi-Tabdi managed to get it back to Lewis who hoisted a three with 2.2 seconds left. The shot was an airball but it went straight to Cardoso who put the ball in the basket just beating the buzzer to give Syracuse the dramatic 68-67 victory.
Bianca Jackson was the only player in double figures for FSU with 25 points and seven assists.
Syracuse was missing starting point guard Tiana Mangakahia who missed the game with an injury.
This is a classic glass half full or half empty game. The half empty case is an easy one to make. Obviously FSU lost the game. This was also a game that the Noles controlled for almost the entire afternoon. FSU’s biggest lead was 15 while Syracuse’s biggest lead was one. Therefore, FSU should have won the game. The Noles simply couldn’t close. SU ended the game on a 9-1 run. Syracuse was also missing players and had played the day before.
The glass half full case is that FSU played fairly well for most of the game. The Seminoles did what they had to do against the SU defense - hit a lot of midrange jumpers. Syracuse played both zone and man to man but they played a lot of zone. FSU did a good job for the most part finding the soft spots in the zone and hitting the midrange jumpers that were open. Savannah Wilkinson was especially good in that respect. Florida State also played good defense for most of the game.
The problem for the Noles is that Syracuse is just bigger at nearly every position. That was a big factor in the 41-32 rebound edge for the Orange. FSU also left a lot of points on the table going only 10-17 from the line. Also, it doesn’t help that your opponent hits a half court buzzer beating heave in a game that is eventually lost by one point.
This loss will leave a very bad taste in FSU’s mouth. However, there is an opportunity to learn from this and grow as a result of this disappointment. Fortunately for the Seminoles the season is not over as the NCAA Tournament awaits.
Florida State will head to San Antonio for the NCAA Tournament.