TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – Some “lights out” shooting to start the game was all Florida State Women’s Basketball needed as it cruised to a 77-51 victory over rival Florida on Sunday afternoon at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
The Seminoles (8-1) set the tone for the game right away with an opening 16-2 run that forced an early timeout for Florida. Although the Gators responded by employing their press and cutting their deficit to single digits through much of the game, Florida State remained very much in control and used its strong interior offense and defense to get the 26-point win.
Sunday’s lop-sided victory is the third-largest win over Florida in program history. FSU defeated the Gators 90-48 in Tallahassee on Dec. 3, 1980, and also won 98-67 over Florida in its previous matchup at home on Nov. 15, 2012.
“I was really pleased with the fact that we defended really soundly,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said following her ninth win over Florida. “I thought in the first half it wasn’t their offense that was hurting us. It was our turnovers and their free throws, so our fouls. Certainly when we cleaned that up a little bit things got better for us in the second half.”
Sophomore forward Ivey Slaughter was a physical presence on both ends of the floor and gave UF’s front court a hard time. Slaughter finished with a season-high 18 points with six boards, and drew a lot of fouls because of her aggressive play down in the low post.
Slaughter was part of a unit that forced Florida to commit 30 turnovers, a season high by an FSU opponent. UF’s 30 miscues are the most by an FSU opponent since the Noles forced 34 turnovers at UNCG on Dec. 22, 2012. FSU capitalized with 24 points off turnovers, and added 10 fast break points. It was the fifth time this year FSU has recorded double-digit fast break points.
“Our coaches really speak strongly on our defense,” Slaughter added. “If we have good defense then it will lead to great offense. I feel like since our defense was good that was why we were able to get transition and fast break points.”
Bulgak’s steady play resulted in her fifth double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds on 7-of-8 shooting. Perhaps even more impressive was her long-range game, going 3-of-3 from beyond the arc. Bulgak headlined FSU’s game-changing 16-2 start by notching 10 points in the first three minutes and 34 seconds of the contest.
“I think it was really important because we had to set the tone,” Bulgak said of the team’s start. “We had to come out with a fast start.”
Redshirt senior point guard Maegan Conwright added 12 points and two 3-point field goals, making her the lone Seminole to reach double figures in points and make multiple 3’s in every game played this year. Freshman Shakayla Thomas added 10 points off the bench.
FSU shot 27-of-59 from the floor (45.8 percent) and held Florida to 39.1 percent shooting (18-of-46). It is the fifth time in nine games that an FSU opponent has shot under 40 percent this season.
The win by FSU improves its home win streak against non-conference opponents to 19 games. The Noles have now defeated Florida for the fifth time in their last six games and for the ninth time in the last 12 meetings.
The Seminoles held a 38-22 first half lead thanks to a 5-0 run to end the half. In the second frame, FSU’s lead swelled to 31 points on an old fashioned three-point play by Thomas. Florida’s Haley Lorenzen made a layup to keep UF in the game at 43-33 with 16:21 remaining, but FSU continued to pound away offensively and grabbed its first 20-point lead when Slaughter stole the ball from point guard Carlie Needles and went in for a layup plus the foul to make it 56-35 with 10:55 remaining.
FSU is now 3-1 in head-to-head competition against Florida in the 2014-15 academic year.
Florida State University enters final exam week starting on Monday, giving the Seminoles off of game competition until Saturday, Dec. 14, when they travel to Temple for a 2 p.m. road matchup. FSU’s next home game is on Tuesday, Dec. 16, against North Florida at 7 p.m. The contest will include a canned food drive that will be put to great use this holiday season.
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