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No. 21 FSU women’s basketball upsets No. 11 Virginia Tech for a huge home victory

The Noles start out fast and benefit from hot shooting to earn a big win.

2023 Invesco QQQ Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Showcase - Florida State v UCLA Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

No. 21 Florida State (14-4, 5-1 ACC) defeated no. 11 Virginia Tech (13-3, 4-1 ACC) by an 89-81 score this afternoon in Tallahassee, FL.

Game Recap

It was a clash of styles early. Virginia Tech started with a three from Georgia Amoore but after that it was a steady diet of post play for the Hokie offense. In contrast, Florida State used quickness on the perimeter to slash to the basket. Sara Bejedi was especially aggressive as she paced the Noles early. O’Mariah Gordon hit a reverse layup on a dribble drive to give FSU an early 12-7 lead. The Seminoles started 5-7 from the floor and enjoyed a 15-7 lead courtesy of a triple from Ta’Niya Latson. FSU continued the aggressive play and ended the quarter with a 27-19 lead. Bejedi led the Noles with 14 points in the quarter.

Tech adjusted and started to drive and kick for threes. This worked early in the second quarter as Matilda Ekh cashed in from deep and the Hokies were able to slice the lead to two at 29-27. Late in the quarter Liz Kitley hit an open midrange jumper to tie the score but Gordon immediately answered with a triple to give Florida State a 39-36 lead. Cayla King gave VT their first lead at 41-39 with a long triple. Carys Baker hit a three to end the half and the Hokies took a 46-40 lead into halftime.

The two teams started out the quarter trading baskets. Midway through the quarter Bejedi scored seven straight points to pull the Noles to within one at 56-55. After that the teams went back and forth until FSU ended the quarter with five straight points but the Hokies still clung to a 65-64 lead going into the fourth quarter.

FSU started the fourth quarter strong scoring the first ten points of the quarter to take a 74-65 lead after Gordon nailed a triple from the wing. It was part of a 15-0 run for the Seminoles. Georgia Amoore broke the run with a jumper. From there the guards took over for FSU. Latson and Bejedi scored the final 16 points of the game to lead the Seminoles to a massive 89-81 victory.

Post Game

Sara Bejedi led the Noles with a career high 31 points along with eight rebounds. Ta’Niya Latson had 20 points and eight assists. Makayla Timpson had 18 points, five rebounds and four blocks. O’Mariah Gordon chipped in with 17 points.

Ta’Niya Latson scored her 1,000 career point in the game.

Virginia Tech had a size advantage at virtually every position. However, the Noles countered with quickness. That quickness burned the Hokies in the first quarter but coach Kenny Brooks made an adjustment. He played a twin towers look with 6’6 Liz Kitley and 6’5 Clara Strack. FSU had a tough time guarding that much size which led to the halftime deficit.

However, Florida State was able to battle back by taking advantage of transition opportunities as well as holding their own on the boards. Tech outrebounded FSU but it was only by three (35-32). FSU will live with that considering the size advantage VT has in the post.

Bejedi obviously had a fantastic game but overall the key to the game was that FSU shot 10-18 from deep. The three point shooting counteracted the fact that Florida State struggled (by their standards) from the free throw line. The Noles shoot 78% on the season but today were at 65.4%.

FSU did a good job defending All-American Liz Kitley at the rim. However, Kitley was on her game hitting several midrange jumpers to get her points. While Kitley had a 30 point double-double, FSU did a great job on the All-ACC point guard Georgia Amoore limiting her to only 13 points on 1-6 shooting from deep.

This is a huge win on more than one level. For NCAA purposes this win alone will move FSU up a seed line. Virginia Tech is ranked #12 in the NET so this is a Q1 win (FSU’s second) and will almost certainly remain one as VT is an elite team. For ACC tournament purposes this win puts the Noles in great shape to finish in the top 4 and get a double bye in the ACC Tournament. FSU will be favored in almost all of the games down the stretch so barring injury (or a significant slump) the Seminoles are right where they want to be regarding the postseason.

Next Game

Florida State travels north on Thursday to face the Syracuse Orange in Syracuse, NY. The game will tip at 7pm and will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.