Florida State (18-4, 7-2 ACC) defeated Pittsburgh (7-12, 0-8 ACC) by a 74-37 score today in Tallahassee, FL.
Pitt managed to stay close to Florida State for most of the first quarter. However, Mariana Valenzuela and Ta’Niya Latson scored the final four points of the quarter to give the Seminoles a small 14-8 lead going into the second quarter.
FSU made a move in the second quarter. The Noles started the quarter on a 7-1 run to take a 21-9 lead. Cynthia Ezeja broke the run with a layup. However, the Seminoles ended the quarter on an 8-3 run to take a 29-14 lead into halftime.
The Noles really broke the game open in the third quarter. FSU started the quarter on an 11-4 run to take a 40-18 lead with about seven minutes left in the quarter. Amber Brown broke the run with a pair of free throws. Florida State responded with seven straight points to take a 47-20 lead. Pitt was never able to cut the lead below 20 from there as Florida State cruised to the 74-37 victory.
Ta’Niya Latson and Sara Bejedi led the Noles with 19 points each. Mariana Valenzuela chipped in with eleven.
I could go more in depth on the statistics but this game was really decided by the talent discrepancy. I don’t think that Pitt will go winless in the ACC. They will probably have a good shooting night against a team that overlooks them and win a game or two.
Nevertheless, Pitt is winless for a reason. The Panthers just don’t have the talent to match up with most teams in the ACC. This was proven again today. Florida State didn’t play particularly well (by their standards) but they were never really threatened in this game. It seemed like FSU knew that they were simply considerably better than Pitt. They didn’t loaf or take the game off but they didn’t play with an edge because they didn’t need to in order to win. They knew that Pitt wasn’t good enough to threaten them and Pitt wasn’t so that was that.
Florida State’s season will hinge in large part on the next five games. This is the most important stretch of the season. There are only two teams ahead of FSU in the ACC standings. What a coincidence. Florida State will face both of them in the next two games. FSU has Notre Dame on Thursday and Duke on Sunday. The Noles then have a Wake Forest team in Tallahassee that they should handle but then they have to go on the road for Miami and Virginia Tech. All of those games except Wake Forest will be Q1 games (Wake is a Q2 game).
Florida State will have a huge chance to really burnish the resume in the next two weeks. If the Seminoles can win three of those five games they will be in really good position to get a top four NCAA seed and host the first two rounds of the Tournament. They are favored to do so but it will be close. Winning two games would be a disappointment but it wouldn’t be crushing. Winning four games would be great and going 5-0 would obviously be fantastic.
Florida State has put themselves in a great position with a gaudy 18-4 record. The Noles can really put a stamp on the (regular) season and set themselves up for a great postseason in the next two weeks. We will see if they can take advantage of this opportunity.
Florida State will travel to South Bend for a huge game against #7 Notre Dame (16-2, 7-1 ACC) on Thursday. The game will tip at 8pm and will be broadcast on Bally Sports.