No. 24 Florida State (19-5, 8-3 ACC) defeated no. 16 Duke (18-3, 8-2 ACC) by a 70-57 score today in Tallahassee, FL.
Florida State got off to a strong start. The Seminoles started the game on a 6-0 run that was sparked by a Makayla Timpson layup. Elizabeth Balogun broke the run with a layup for Duke. From there the Blue Devils battled back to tie the score at eight. The Noles responded to take a 15-12 lead into the second quarter.
FSU started the quarter on a 7-1 run to take a 22-13 lead. However, the Blue Devils had an answer. Duke tied the game using a 9-0 run that was capped by a layup from Jordyn Oliver. Florida State responded with an 8-0 run sparked by an O’Mariah Gordon jumper to end the half. The Noles went into halftime with a 30-22 lead after Ta’Niya Latson went coast to coast to beat the buzzer with a layup.
FSU made a big move early in the third quarter. The Noles scored the first seven points of the second half. When combined with the end of the second quarter, FSU had ripped off 15 straight points to take a 37-22 lead. Duke scored a couple of buckets to inch closer but the Noles then went on a 10-1 run that blew the game open and essentially knocked the Blue Devils out. Florida State led 47-27 with about three minutes left in the third quarter. Duke would not be able to cut the lead to single digits the rest of the game as the Seminoles left the court with a well earned 70-57 victory.
Makayla Timpson led FSU with her eleventh double-double of the year (21pts, 10 boards). Ta’Niya Latson had 15 points while Sara Bejedi chipped in with eleven.
Former Florida State head coach Sue Semrau was honored before the game. FSU AD Michael Alford announced that Semrau will be inducted into the Florida State Hall of Fame.
It was Alumni Weekend so more than 25 former players were on hand to watch the game this afternoon.
This was a really big game for Florida State for multiple reasons.
FSU really needed to bounce back after the disappointing second half performance in South Bend. The Noles were able to do that not with hot shooting but with tough defense and even more importantly rugged rebounding. FSU only won the rebounding battle by two (48-46) but FSU (led by Timpson and Erin Howard) did a great job protecting the defensive glass. Duke wasn’t able to turn the Noles over enough to get a lot of easy baskets and since they weren’t shooting well the Blue Devils really needed the second chance points. Duke won the second chance points contest (15-9) but that difference wasn’t enough considering that the Dukies only shot 19-72 (26.4%) from the field.
This gives Florida State another Q1 win which is critical in the quest to get a top four seed and be able to host in the NCAA Tournament. FSU is now 6-3 in Q1 games and 12-5 in Q1 & Q2 games.
The Noles were also able to get a fairly comfortable win against a top 20 team while not shooting particularly well. The Noles shot less than 40% from the field and only 25% from deep. Yet they still won by double digits against a top 20 team. It’s important to be able to get victories on days when the team is not shooting well and the Noles were able to do that today.
Makayla Timpson now has to be recognized as a top 10 player in the ACC. In the league Timpson is top 15 in scoring (she may be top 10 after today’s performance), second in rebounding, first in FG% and first in blocks. Timpson is undersized compared to many of the other top bigs in the ACC but she has so much athleticism that it rarely matters. Timpson is a difference maker and a big reason for the team’s success.
Florida State will welcome Wake Forest (13-9, 4-7 ACC) to Tallahassee on Thursday. Wake upset Miami today 55-52. The game will tip at 6pm and will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.