Florida State (15-12, 9-8 ACC) defeated #22 Georgia Tech (19-9, 10-7 ACC) 65-63 in overtime tonight in Tallahassee.
Florida State started the game ice cold. The Seminoles missed their first eleven shots. They also managed to sprinkle in a couple of turnovers in this wretched stretch. Makayla Timpson hit a jumper for FSU’s first points with 2:47 left in the first quarter but the Noles were still down 7-2. Florida State was lucky to be down only five after starting the game so cold. The Seminoles managed to score eight points to end the quarter so they only trailed 12-8 entering the second quarter.
FSU came out like gangbusters in the second quarter. The Noles started the quarter on a 15-3 run to take a 22-15 lead. Nerea Hermosa broke the run with a jumper. FSU immediately went on a 6-0 mini-run to stretch the lead to 28-17. However, Tech scored the last four points of the quarter to cut the lead to 28-21 going into halftime.
Georgia Tech made a major move in the third quarter. The Jackets started the quarter with a 17-2 run to take a 38-30 lead. Bianca Jackson hit a jumper to break the run and that sparked FSU to a 9-2 quarter ending run to cut GT’s lead to 40-39.
Tech scored the first five points of the quarter to take the 45-39 lead. FSU responded with an 8-2 run to tie the score at 47 with 5:07 left in the game.
From there the two teams mostly exchanged baskets until Sara Bejedi ran into Sarah Bates with eleven seconds left in the game. Bates was called for the foul. Bejedi left the game holding her wrist (she would later return). Sammie Puisis came in the game cold off the bench for two pressure free throws with the score tied at 54. Puisis (an 85% FT shooter) drained both shots to give the Noles a 56-54 lead.
Tech called timeout to advance the ball. The Jackets got the ball into Eylia Love in the post and she made a nice move on Puisis to score and tie the game at 56 with seven seconds left. FSU got the ball back but couldn’t get a shot up as Jackson was called for a charge.
GT had .6 seconds left but they couldn’t get a shot so the game went into overtime.
The two teams went back and forth in overtime until River Baldwin was fouled in the post with 1:26 left. Baldwin hit both free throws and Florida State was up 63-60. Lorela Cubaj was fouled on the next possession and she split a pair. Bianca Jackson came down for FSU and hit an impressive pressure jumper to give the Noles a 65-61 lead. Digna Strautmane hit a jumper to cut the lead to 65-63. Tech got a stop on the next FSU possession and the Jackets had the ball with nine seconds left but they turned the ball over without getting a shot and Florida State escaped with a much needed 65-63 overtime victory.
Morgan Jones led FSU with a 21 point, 10 rebound double-double. Sara Bejedi chipped in with 10 points and River Baldwin played a strong game with eight points and eight rebounds.
Tiana England started the game for FSU on Senior Night and played the first 90 seconds. It was England’s first action of the season as she recovers from her P.O.T.S. diagnosis.
This game snaps a five game losing streak to Georgia Tech.
Florida State played 10 players double digit minutes. This game is a reminder that consistency (not talent) is FSU’s biggest issue. When the Seminoles can put it together they can be a handful for anyone.
Morgan Jones was fantastic tonight as she usually is but she got help from River Baldwin in the post. Baldwin and Erin Howard also played great defense holding Tech star Lorela Cubaj to one total point in the game. Cubaj actually had zero points in regulation. Cubaj lit up FSU for 24 points when they played last month in Atlanta.
This was a great effort from FSU against an opponent that has given them fits lately. However, it doesn’t change the fact that the Seminoles still have their backs against the wall regarding an NCAA Tournament bid. The Noles obviously have to beat Pitt then they definitely need to win the first tournament game and probably have to upset either NC State or Louisville in the next game to feel good about a bid. This is where I say that it is a tall order but it is possible.
Florida State travels to Pittsburgh on Sunday to take on the Panthers (11-17, 2-15 ACC). The game will tip at 2pm and will be broadcast on the ACC Network. Pitt lost tonight 66-55 to Louisville.