No. 21 Florida State (13-4, 4-1 ACC) defeated no. 20 North Carolina (11-5, 3-1 ACC) by a 70-62 score tonight in Tallahassee, FL.
The Noles started out fast with an 8-2 run to start the game that was capped by a triple from Brianna Turnage. North Carolina would respond later in the quarter with a 6-0 run. Carla Viegas ended the run with a three ball to push the FSU lead to 16-10. O’Mariah Gordon ended the quarter with a three to give the Seminoles the 19-12 lead going into the second quarter.
Makayla Timpson started the second quarter on the bench and the Heels took advantage with a couple of offensive rebounds. The Tar Heels immediately went down low in the second quarter to take advantage of Timpson taking a breather. However, Florida State was able to maintain the lead with accurate shooting from deep. FSU’s first three field goals of the quarter were from behind the arc and the Noles had a 31-21 lead. Viegas hit another triple to give the Noles a 41-26 lead going into halftime. FSU built the lead primarily by turning Carolina over and protecting the defensive glass.
Sara Bejedi continued her inspired play in the third quarter scoring Florida State’s first five points. An old-fashioned three point play from Ta’Niya Latson capped an 8-0 FSU run and gave the Noles a 49-28 lead. However, UNC hit FSU with a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 53-41. Like in the first half the run came with Timpson on the bench. The Heels pulled to within 11 to end the third quarter at 58-47.
The Tar Heels started the quarter on an 8-2 run cutting the lead to 60-55. Bejedi ended the run with a triple. Deja Kelly picked up her fifth foul midway through the quarter. However, Florida State’s offense went into the cooler in the fourth quarter and that allowed Carolina to claw back into the game. An Alyssa Ustby jumper cut the FSU lead to 65-61 with a little over three minutes left in the game. Anya Poole got fouled and made one of two to cut the Nole lead to three at 65-62. From there Timpson scored the last five points of the game to lead her team to a 70-62 victory.
Sara Bejedi led Florida State with 23 points and six rebounds. O’Mariah Gordon chipped in with 12 points while Makayla Timpson recorded yet another double-double with 11 points and 14 big rebounds.
Florida State got off to a hot shooting start early (especially Bejedi) and that along with good rebounding staked the Noles to the early lead. However, the Heels were able to come back when FSU went cold. Florida State was 4-18 from the field in the fourth quarter.
Deja Kelly had 23 points for UNC and she was instrumental in keeping them close early. When she fouled out midway through the fourth quarter it was turning point in the game.
Carolina got back into the game due to defense and second chance points that mostly came with Timpson on the bench. The Seminoles are very tough to beat if the opponent can’t overwhelm them with size.
Ta’Niya Latson left the game late with an apparent knee injury but she was seen walking after the game so her injury doesn’t appear to be serious. Latson only had eight points in the game but it is a really good sign that this team can earn such an important win against a ranked team when the superstar has an off night.
Florida State is doing a really good job of stacking wins. The Noles have only four losses and three of them are to top 10 teams. It’s still relatively early but the resume is in really good shape at this stage.
Florida State will host Virginia Tech on Sunday. The game will tip at 1pm and will be broadcast on ESPN.