Florida State (17-8, 8-5 ACC) fell to no. 12 Notre Dame (18-5, 8-4 ACC) by a 98-94 score today in Tallahassee, FL.
Florida State got off to a great start. The Noles jumped out to a 9-2 lead after a triple from Ta’Niya Latson. The game was being played at FSU’s pace and the Noles were executing the offense well. The Seminoles eventually stretched the lead to 16-6 and Irish coach Niele Ivey called a timeout. Coach Ivey lit into her team telling them to “Wake up!” and they did. Notre Dame responded with an 8-0 run that was sparked by a triple from Sonia Citron. Head coach Brooke Wyckoff responded with a timeout of her own. From there the teams traded baskets but the Irish went into the second quarter with a 21-20 lead.
In the second quarter FSU hit ND with a 9-0 run that was capped by a jumper from O’Mariah Gordon. The run allowed the Noles to take a 29-24 lead. From there the game went back and forth with neither team mounting a sustained run. Florida State went into halftime with a 48-42 lead.
Midway through the third quarter the Irish made a move. ND hit the Noles with a 6-0 mini-run to tie the game at 53. Gordon broke the run with a pair of free throws. The Seminoles responded to take a 64-57 lead on the strength of a Ta’Niya Latson driving layup. After a pair of Hannah Hidalgo free throws the Seminoles took a 64-59 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Irish came out in the fourth quarter and hit Florida State with an immediate 7-0 run that forced the Seminoles into a timeout. Makayla Timpson broke the run with a short jumper that tied the game at 66. From there the teams traded buckets until ND had the ball with about 30 seconds left with the game tied at 79. Hidalgo was holding for the last shot but she was being hounded by Sara Bejedi out near halfcourt. Bejedi was eventually called for a foul with 10 seconds left but the Noles had one to give. Hidalgo drove to the basket on Amaya Bonner and put up a tough runner that missed. FSU took a timeout with .5 seconds left and advanced the ball but turned it over before getting a shot and the game went to overtime tied at 79.
FSU went to Timpson down low and the junior delivered four straight points to put the Noles up 83-79. Hidalgo answered with four straight points of her own to tie the game. The teams traded baskets for the rest of the period and the game went into a second overtime tied at 88.
Early in the second overtime Bejedi nailed a triple to put FSU up 93-91. Sonia Citron made a layup to tie the game at 93. The teams traded free throws to keep the game tied. Citron missed a layup with 38 seconds left and Timpson secured the rebound. FSU called a timeout to advance the ball. The shot clock was running down on the Noles so Latson was forced into a rushed three to beat clock and she missed. The Irish got the rebound and called a timeout to advance the ball with five seconds left. Latson was called for a foul trying to steal the ball on the inbounds pass. ND was in the bonus and Citron made both free throws to put ND up 96-94. FSU called timeout to advance the ball with five seconds left but the Noles turned it over before getting off a shot. FSU then fouled Hidalgo to stop the clock. The freshman hit both free throws for the final margin of 98-94.
Ta’Niya Latson led FSU with 34 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and four steals. However, she also had nine turnovers (more on that in a bit). Makayla Timpson had a huge 18 point, 15 rebound double-double. She also threw in six blocks. O’Mariah Gordon had 18 points and six rebounds. Sara Bejedi also chipped in 16 points.
Carla Viegas missed the game with an illness.
Hannah Hidalgo won’t be national freshman of the year because Juju Watkins is averaging 27.5 points for USC. However, in any other year Hidalgo would be walking away with the award. She showed why today as she had 27 points, seven boards and nine assists. Anna DeWolfe was a 33% shooter from 3 coming into the game but she hit 6-9 from deep today for 24 huge points.
Florida State played pretty well all things considered but the Noles were deficient in a couple of areas that cost them the game. The first was the 24 turnovers to only 11 for ND. The second was the 20 offensive rebounds allowed that led to an 18-4 second chance points advantage for the Irish. The rebounds are more understandable. No team is perfect. Every team has flaws. For FSU one of the main flaws is that the Noles are a small team. They are going to give up rebounds at times. The turnovers can’t happen however. The Seminoles have to take better care of the ball to beat the really good teams. Yet, they almost won today anyway. That shows how close this team is when they have even a decent shooting day.
Back to Latson. The sophomore is special. There were times today when she was unguardable. However, the turnovers are an issue. She had nine today and the entire Notre Dame team had only 11. The vast majority of Latson’s turnovers came because of over penetration. This is a fixable issue and Latson will probably figure out a way to improve. The question is whether that improvement will come this year or whether it will happen in the off season.
Regarding the resume, FSU is still in fine shape for an NCAA Tournament bid. The Noles aren’t even that close to the bubble. FSU would probably be a seven or an eight seed if the season ended today. Nevertheless, if the Seminoles want a top four ACC Tournament seed (and they do) the Louisville game on February 29th looks like a must win. However, the Noles must avoid any upsets before then and that starts with the next game.
Florida State will travel to Winston-Salem, NC on Thursday to face Wake Forest. The game will tip at 6pm and will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.