Tallahassee, FL - In a battle of the upstate schools, the Florida State women's basketball team took no mercy on their home court against the University of North Florida, beating the Ospreys 80-28 this morning in Tallahassee. This was the fifth meeting between the two schools, and the Seminoles has come out victorious in all five of those match-ups.
FSU got off to a quick start triggered by Shakayla Thomas, last year's Sixth Woman of the Year in the ACC. She scored five quick points with some physical play, and FSU never looked back.
Moving the ball well against the Ospreys' 2-3 zone, the Seminoles utilized post touches to spread out the zone and get "great" shots instead of just "good" shots. The Seminoles shot a whopping 75% from the floor in the opening quarter (12-16) and tallied nine assists.
UNF was able to get on the board at the 7:59 mark after a jumper by sophomore, Sierra Shepherd, but they'd only score one more time in the opening quarter. Playing aggressive man-to-man defense, the ‘Noles forced two shot clock violations and held UNF to 2-10 shooting while forcing six turnovers in those first ten minutes. It was 29-5 in favor of the ‘Noles at the quarter break.
After an offensively heavy first quarter, both teams were off to a slow start early in the second. At the first media time-out, it was just 31-5 in favor of FSU. UNF stayed in their 2-3 zone, occasionally trapping to try to catch FSU off guard. Florida State handled the pressure well, utilizing the high-low game that featured some big buckets from their All-American Center, Adut Bulgak.
Maiya Rumph gave North Florida their first basket of the quarter at just under the four-minute mark, and shortly after, the Ospreys got a spark off the bench from a freshman, Hadley Kiefer. She completed and old-fashioned three-point play and grabbed a loose ball on a hustle play for a quick two just before the halftime break.
Florida State led 40-12 going into the locker room, but head coach, Sue Semrau was still looking for her team to be more aggressive in the second half.
"[I want] More communication—I wanna see more fire. I know the opponent isn't formidable as some, but that [communication] is what we're looking for."
FSU gave Semrau that "fire" to start the third quarter, scoring on their first possession and then forcing a shot clock violation on the other end. However, UNF got their offense rolling in what would end up being their best scoring quarter of the game with a Claire Ioannidis three at the 8:31 mark.
However, Bulgak answered on the other end with her own three-point play—an and-one that extended FSU's lead to 30 points at 45-15. Switching to a 2-3 zone on the defensive end, FSU kept up the energy by getting deflections that lead to quick transition points. At the end of three, it was 62-22 Florida State.
The ‘Noles continued to roll in the last ten minutes, playing their aggressive man-to-man that aggravated the Ospreys. UNF had switched to a 3-2 zone instead of their tradition 2-3, but quick ball movement by FSU allowed the Seminoles to get those "great" shots, and they continued to knock them down.
Despite being up big, the Seminoles stayed aggressive on defense, getting a variety of deflections and tips on passes as well as rebounding well to hold the Ospreys to many one-and-done possessions. A quick steal and layup by Thomas with two seconds to go put Florida State up 80-28, and that would be the final from Tallahassee.
As a team, Florida State shot 54.2% from the field (32-59) off of 24 assists. They also killed the rebounding game, out-boarding North Florida 40-19, and only allowing the Ospreys to pull in seven offensive boards. UNF, however, held Bulgak to seven rebounds, which is an accomplishment in itself as the All-American had tallied double-digit boards in FSU's four games prior. North Florida shot 25% for the day (11-44) with five assists.
With the win, Florida State moves to 3-1 on the year, while North Florida drops to 1-4. FSU faces LIU-Brooklyn in their next game at the LIU Turkey Classic in Brooklyn, New York, on Friday, while UNF is hosting their own Thanksgiving tournament, facing Bethune-Bookman on Friday, as well.