Florida State (17-12, 10-8 ACC) defeated Boston College (19-11, 10-8 ACC) 63-58 to advance to the third round of the ACC Tournament.
Maria Gakdeng hit a jumper for Boston College to start the game. Florida State responded strongly with an 11-2 run that was capped by a Sammie Puisis triple. BC scored five of the next seven points but Erin Howard ended the quarter with a layup to give the Seminoles a 15-9 advantage going into the second quarter. Florida State was playing very clean basketball at this point. The Seminoles had yet to commit a turnover. FSU’s first turnover would come with 8:05 left in the second quarter.
FSU stretched the lead to 19-9 after a Morgan Jones layup. The Eagles answered with a 7-2 run to cut the lead to 21-16. Howard responded with a three ball and that sparked Florida State to an 8-0 run that gave the Noles a 29-16 advantage. Taylor Soule broke the run with a layup and Cameron Swartz hit three free throws for the final points of the half. However, FSU still led 29-21.
Puisis and Howard canned consecutive threes to give the Noles a 38-24 lead midway through the third quarter. BC answered with a 10-2 run. Eight of those points were from Maria Gakdeng. Howard broke the run with a three ball that sparked FSU to a 9-2 run to end the quarter. The Noles had a 49-36 lead going into the fourth quarter.
BC refused to fold. The Eagles started the quarter on a 5-1 run to cut the lead to 50-41. With 4:15 left in the game Puisis nailed a triple to put FSU up 54-41. It looked like the Noles would cruise into the third round. However, BC had other ideas. Soule was fouled on two straight possessions and she made three out of four free throws. Florida State was still leading 54-44.
Then Boston College turned up the pressure. The next three possessions went like this; FSU inbounds pass, BC steal, BC points, FSU inbounds pass, BC steal, BC points, FSU inbounds pass, BC steal, FSU foul, BC points.
FSU finally got the ball inbounds safely and Sara Bejedi was fouled. Bejedi split a pair of free throws. Dontavia Waggoner responded with a layup for the Eagles. Next possession: FSU inbounds pass, BC steal, BC points. The Eagles had now cut the lead to 55-53 with 2:13 left in the game.
Florida State finally successfully in bounded the ball and Bejedi was fouled again. She hit both free throws. Cameron Swartz and Morgan Jones exchanged midrange jumpers. After a Puisis steal, Bejedi was fouled again. She hit both foul shots to give the Noles a 61-55 lead with 48 seconds left. Swartz came down and nailed a triple. Jones then made a nice drive to the basket for the last points of the game and the Noles survived for a much needed 63-58 victory.
Erin Howard led Florida State with 16 points and five boards. Sammie Puisis chipped in with 12 points (4-5 3PT) and Morgan Jones had 11 points and 5 rebounds.
Florida State played really well for about 3 and a half quarters. Boston College then went to the pressure defense and the Noles basically fell apart. FSU just couldn’t get the ball inbounds safely. The only thing that saved them was that they had built such a big lead. BC deserves credit for coming back but FSU really needs to get better at closing games.
Even so, the Seminoles shot the ball really well today led by Puisis and Howard. When FSU shoots like this they are a handful for anyone. The hot shooting was needed today because the Noles committed 22 turnovers (after having zero in the first quarter) and lost the rebounding battle 39-30. A big key was that Boston College (a 34.2% 3PT shooting team) was 2 for 18 from behind the arc today.
However, the most important thing is that FSU won the game. The Noles would be out of the NCAA Tournament conversation with a loss today. Now the Seminoles will face the top seed in the ACC Tournament when they play NC State. If FSU somehow beats the Pack the suspense will be over as the Noles will be safely in the NCAA field. If FSU loses it will be nail biting time. We will discuss the tournament scenarios in more detail after tomorrow’s game.
Florida State will now face #3 NC State (26-3, 17-1 ACC) tomorrow at 2pm. The game will be broadcast from Greensboro, NC on Bally Sports.