TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – The Florida State Women’s Basketball team used an explosive 65-point second half effort to break away with a 103-34 victory over in-state school Bethune-Cookman in a rare matinee matchup on Tuesday morning at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
With thousands of elementary and middle school children decorating the stands for “Field Trip Day,” the youngsters were treated to a dose of high-octane basketball as they saw the Seminoles (2-0) put up their most points in a game since defeating Savannah State, 107-28, on Nov. 23, 2003.
What Florida State showed on Tuesday was how fast it can score when it repeatedly pushes the ball and uses its athleticism to its advantage. The Noles ended the game on a 54-3 run that lasted the final 12:43, meaning they scored 54 points in the remaining 60 percent of the second half.
Tuesday’s offensive showcase was the 25th time in program history the Seminoles have reached the triple-digit mark, which happened with 1:06 left on a layup from freshman Shakayla Thomas. It was the sixth time the Noles have scored 100+ under 18-year head coach Sue Semrau.
“I’m proud of the team’s effort,” Semrau said. “We came out sluggish, [and] we started a little bit slow, but for the resilience of how we came out, I think we handled ourselves pretty well in the second half and even in the first half when we were able to open up a bigger lead. I love having a team where I have five players score in double figures, that’s just my favorite type of team to coach.”
FSU’s 69-point win margin is the fourth-largest in program history. The Noles have opened up the 2014-15 season with 90+ points in each of their first two games, a feat never accomplished before.
Despite the big-scoring effort, it wasn’t always about shot-making on Tuesday morning. Florida State corralled an enormous total of 64 rebounds, including 29 on the offensive end. FSU’s rebounding total of 64 falls just shy of the top five team marks ever. FSU shot 33-of-69 (47.8 percent) and 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) from 3-point land, and held the Wildcats (0-3) to 11-of-50 (22 percent) from the floor.
Although FSU held a 38-23 lead at halftime, it needed a spark and found it in junior center Adut Bulgak. The Edmonton, Canada, native was a dominating presence in the game’s final 20 minutes, racking up 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting with 13 rebounds for her first career double-double at FSU. Bulgak’s flurry of points came in a span of 12:43 in the second half, getting in the points column on a layup with 17:47 left and ending with a made free throw at the 5:04 mark.
Junior guard Emiah Bingley provided FSU with energy in the first half and accelerated her level of play in the second half. She finished with 17 points, a career-high tying 6-of-6 from the free-throw line and added a career-best three steals. Bingley may have provided the play of the game when all 5-foot-7 of her blocked a shot from a BCU post player with 15:50 left on an attempted offensive put-back. The swat helped energize a subsequent 31-0 run for FSU.
“In my past, I’ve [played] the post so it felt like I was getting back to my old days with that one,” Bingley said. “It was great. I just felt it and went for it.”
Sophomore Ivey Slaughter was the go-to option early and finished with 16 points and nine rebounds for the second consecutive game while adding two steals. Shakayla Thomas led the Noles off the bench once again with 15 points, including 5-of-5 from the charity stripe. Sophomore Brittany Brown added 12 points and four steals, while redshirt junior guard Shakena Richardson dished out a career-best eight assists, exceeding her previous career high of seven dimes while at Rutgers.
Sophomore center Kai James went 6-of-6 from the free-throw line, while Morgan Jones added five assists and no turnovers. FSU finished 30-of-36 from the free-throw line (83.3 percent), its most makes in a game since nailing 33 at NC State on Jan. 20, 2013.
FSU improves to 2-0 for the ninth consecutive year and the 12th time in Semrau’s 18 seasons. The Noles are 12-1 against in-state opponents since the 2012-13 season, defeating six different Florida-based teams. The victory also gives FSU an 18-game win streak against non-conference opponents at home.
The Seminoles head to the Lone Star State to take part in the Hospitality Hill Challenge hosted by North Texas in Denton. FSU plays Eastern Illinois on Friday, Nov. 21, at 6 p.m. ET, and finishes the tournament facing Massachusetts on Sunday, Nov. 23, at 1 p.m. ET.
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