No. 5 Florida State (23-9) fell to no. 12 Wake Forest (16-15) by a 65-54 score in the second round of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, NC.
Florida State started out on a 7-0 run that was sparked by an Erin Howard triple. Wake broke the run with a putback from Demeara Hinds. However, FSU responded with five straight points to force Deacon head coach Megan Gebbia to call a timeout. The Seminoles had hit their first five shots to take the 12-2 lead. Wake Forest came out strong after the timeout going on a 7-0 run. Nevertheless, the Noles managed to take a 21-14 lead into the second quarter.
Florida State scored the first eight points of the second quarter. Wake was unable to score until 2:57 was left in the quarter as Alexandria Scruggs drove the lane for a layup. However, FSU outscored Wake 13-2 in the second quarter as the Demon Deacons shot only 1-12 in the quarter. That cold shooting allowed the Seminoles to take a 34-16 lead after the first half.
Wake started out the third quarter on fire hitting their first five shots. The Deacons got much better shots in the third quarter and that allowed them to hit the Seminoles with a 18-0 run to take the lead at 45-42. Wake outscored FSU 29-8 in the third quarter.
Wake scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to extend the run to 26-0 to take a 53-42 lead. Erin Howard finally ended the run with a triple. However, the onslaught continued for WF as the Noles could never find their footing in the fourth quarter. The Deacons extended the lead in the fourth finally finishing off the Seminoles to win the game 65-54.
Makayla Timpson led Florida State with 14 points and nine rebounds. Erin Howard had 12 points and seven rebounds while O’Mariah Gordon chipped in with 12 points.
Ta’Niya Latson missed the game. This was the first game all season that Latson has been unavailable. Florida State provided an official statement: “Latson will be day-to-day moving forward. Her status will be monitored through the duration of the Ally ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament.”
However, Brianna Turnage returned for FSU. Turnage has missed 10 games this year due to injury. Wake played the game without starting point guard Kaia Harrison who was out with an ankle injury.
Wake Forest beat Florida State by double digits in a game in which the Deacons only scored two points in the second quarter. Let that sink in.
We can talk all day about how Florida State looked discombobulated offensively in the second half or how Wake Forest beat the Seminoles to loose balls in the second half even though they had finished a game less than 24 hours before, etc. However, that is all water under the bridge now.
The fact is that FSU has picked a terrible time to go into a slump. In their last three games, the Noles eked out a win over Wake Forest by a single point, lost by double digits to Clemson and now have lost by double digits to Wake in the ACC Tournament.
The good news is that Florida State will have over a week off to regroup. The bad news is that FSU’s NCAA Tournament seeding will take a hit as a result of these last three games. The loss today is a Q2 loss so its not an absolute killer but it obviously isn’t good. The Seminoles will probably be a six or seven seed in the Tournament but there is an outside chance that they could fall to an eight seed which would mean that they would have to face a top seeded team on the road in the second round.
Florida State needs to assure the Tournament Committee that Latson will be available for the Tournament or the committee could take her absence into account when deciding the seeding.
The bottom line is that Florida State really needs to get it together because the team that we saw today in the second half will be a first round casualty in the NCAA Tournament.
Florida State will return to Tallahassee and wait to see where they will play in the NCAA Tournament.