Florida State’s women’s basketball team beat Florida Gulf Coast in convincing fashion Monday evening to earn a spot in the Sweet 16. The Seminoles beat the Eagles 65-47 in a display of dominance, reflecting their potential as a two seed in the tournament.
FSU utilized a hot start from beyond the arc to jump out to a 17-5 lead in the first five minutes of the game. Sophomore guard Brittany Brown hit two consecutive 3-pointers to propel the Seminoles out in front.
FGCU would battle back in the first half to cut the deficit to just eight at halftime, but FSU came out flying to start the second half and cruised to a comfortable win.
“Our speed was the difference with our length,” said head coach Sue Semrau. “I’ve got so many talented players. Sometimes there are players who are better in certain situations.” That showed Monday evening, as 10 different players got on the score sheet.
Freshman forward Shakayla Thomas led the Seminoles in points with 12, and Leticia Romero, in her first year at FSU after transferring from Kansas State, added 11 points of her own. The Seminoles dominated their opposition on the boards, grabbing 46 total rebounds, as opposed to FGCU’s 23. Adut Bulgak led the team with 13 rebounds.
Overall, FSU was bigger, faster and more efficient than the visiting Eagles. Though FGCU fought hard to stay in the game, it never managed to pull even with the Seminoles. A meager 30 percent shooting performance certainly didn’t help its chances in keeping up with FSU.
After the game against FGCU, Semrau said she felt good about where her team is and how it is playing. “At the same time,” she added, “it doesn’t feel like enough. That’s a good feeling to have.”
Florida State will face Arizona State in Greensborough, North Carolina on Friday. Arizona State, a three seed, struggled to overcome 11 seed University of Arkansas Little Rock. Down 16 in the second half, the Sun Devils rallied to win the game by three points, avoiding a major upset early on.
FSU, in its third ever appearance in the Sweet 16, will be looking to continue its dominance as it advances in the tournament. The Seminoles this season have outscored their opponents by 19 points per game, on average. The Sun Devils will likely prove to be a tougher test, but FSU feels confident in its ability to win.
“I think I’m on the best team in the country,” said Bulgak. “When we’re at our best, I think we’re really unstoppable.”
By MATT SIMONS / Sports Editor