TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Leticia Romero scored 21 points and No. 7 Florida State beat No. 23 Florida 83-58 on Thursday night for its eighth straight victory.
Shakayla Thomas added 16 points for the Seminoles (9-1), and Ivey Slaughter had 13 points and 10 rebounds for her 20th career double-double. Florida State has won four of its last five meetings in the in-state rivalry.
Ronni Williams led the Gators (6-3) with 20 points. It was Florida’s second loss to a ranked team in five days, with both coming on the road.
A big key to Florida State’s win was rebounding as it enjoyed a 45-35 edge on the glass and a 19-2 advantage in second-chance points.
The 25-point win is the fourth-largest margin that the Seminoles have defeated the Gators.
POST-GAME NOTES BY FSU SPORTS INFORMATION:
• Over FSU’s last three home games vs. Florida, it has combined to outscore the Gators 258-176. FSU’s 98-67 win in 2012 is the second-largest margin of victory for the Seminoles in the series. Its 77-51 win in 2014 is the third-largest, and Thursday’s 83-58 win is the fourth-largest.
• The Seminoles have defeated the Gators 10 times in the last 14 meetings, including six of the last eight meetings.
• FSU moves to 24-3 against Sunshine State opponents since the 2012-13 season.
• The AP Top 25 win for FSU was its second of the season, already matching last year’s regular season total. It was head coach Sue Semrau’s 34th AP Top 25 win and the program’s 47th, including its 33rd at home.
• Senior forward Ivey Slaughter totaled 13 points and 10 rebounds, her second double-double of the season and the 20th of her career. The Macon, Ga., native is now in sole possession of eighth on the FSU career double-double list.
• Slaughter added a career-high tying six steals, the second time she has reached that number.
• Senior guard Leticia Romero produced 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting along with four assists, three steals, six boards and just two turnovers. It is her fourth career 20-point game, but the second of the season. It is the first time she has recorded multiple 20-point games in a season.
• Senior guard Brittany Brown finished with seven assists to five turnovers after ending the first half with one assist to four turnovers. She added 13 points and collected five steals, giving her 260 for her career.
• FSU finished with five double-figure performers, a season high. They included Romero (21), junior forward Shakayla Thomas (16), Slaughter (13), Brown (13) and redshirt junior guard Imani Wright (12).
• Entering the game eighth nationally with 138 free throws made, FSU went 23-of-32 from the charity stripe (71.9 percent). The Seminoles came in 11th in the country in free throw attempts.
• The Seminoles damaged UF in two major areas on Thursday: second-chance points (19-2) and points off turnovers (25-12).
• FSU’s strong defensive play forced the Gators into 27 turnovers compared to 10 assists.
• The ACC is now 4-2 this season against ranked SEC teams.
• 42 combined personal fouls and 45 turnovers highlighted what was a very physical game.
HEAD COACH SUE SEMRAU
“I wish I could say that I expected this. Anytime you have a rivalry game it’s going to be a battle. I expected us to go out and battle but I didn’t know how hard and how long that these guys that played so many minutes could do that. I’m just really proud of them. Five players had double figures and we rebounded the ball as well as we did. They stuck to the game plan, played together and it was just really selfless basketball and it was a big win for us.”
Q: Coach, there was a few times where the offense went cold, how important was this team’s defense for against Florida?
“You know that’s the thing they bought into. They want to be a great defensive team. They played together defensively. That’s the biggest thing I can say is that it’s not just the one on one. They help each other. They scramble all over the place. They got every 50/50 ball. I felt like there wasn’t a time that we didn’t fight for that. Our defense continues to get better and it is important. Imani didn’t shoot the ball well. That’s so uncharacteristic of her. But the fact that she continued to shoot it and her teammates had confidence and we went and rebounded the ball. I thought that was a big step for us.”
Q: What happened on that technical sequence with Imani?
“There was a foul and then a lot of times in a rivalry game there was some heat. Imani made a mistake but the initial foul wasn’t committed against number 21, it was committed against 00. The officials got to know that. They got to know who to put at the line. They made a mistake and I credit them that they corrected their mistake.
Q: How important is it the way the team finished quarters, especially the third?
“Well especially the second when Brittany hit that shot at the buzzer, I thought that was a real momentum builder for her and for our team. This team has shown that they can do that. Again I thought they handled the press. We got some good looks and they impressed us.”
Q: Brittany had a tough stretch there the first half, and the fact that she could bounce back and finish…Is that a sign of maturity?
“Oh gosh no kidding. I thought maybe she was trying to be too much of a facilitator. We told her don’t make so many choices and you don’t have to shoot the ball, your percentages are great this year. She was one assist, four turnovers at the half and she finished seven assists, five turnovers. That says a whole lot and it says a lot about her teammates too. That they can talk to her and calm her down, let her know what they’re looking for. I thought Ivey and Leti were just talking about, they were saying ‘you know relax, shoot the ball.’
Q: How big was that stretch with the technical? They could have gotten a massive seven points and cut it to one. They get one point and then you go on that run.
“That’s huge and that’s what we talked about. You know when the five of them are on the floor. I don’t know if it was Ivey or Britt, but it was like look they’re going to try to make this a game. And continuing on that whole sequence was poise. I mean, that was a long time they had to stand there and wait and rather than splintering and fuming, they came together and realized, hey this is what rivalry games are, so what.”
Q: It seemed like any time you guys missed a basket that first half especially, did you see any extra effort tonight?
“It was a very concerted effort and you think about it, Ivey is going to crash every time, Chatrice (White) is going to crash every time, Brittany is going to crash every time, now Leti in the past two games has done a tremendous job. And I think she’s willing to go and she’s not the most physical player on the planet but the willingness to go and battle makes us really hard to keep off the boards.”
Q: You mentioned getting a top 25 win and your RPI ratings too. How big was this win?
“I think it was a big win for us. You know they are going to be high and I think they’re going to have a good year in the SEC so they’re going to have a strong RPI as well. For a lot of reasons it’s a good win. But mostly because it’s a rivalry game and it’s just a good win. Anytime you can beat Florida. Florida vs. Florida State is one of the best rivalries in the country. To continue that winning streak that we had; volleyball last week and football the week before, it feels really good to do our part.
Q: Last year 2-6 against top 25 team’s regular season, you’re 2-1 so far. How big is that?
“We don’t really think about that as much as we think about each game. And they do a great job of that. Of focusing on our opponent and last year we struggled in some areas. Jordan you said it. To have a team that’s worked so hard on what it takes to be a great team. That’s the most important thing to us and obviously those top 25, top 50 wins are always good going down the stretch for an NCAA Tournament seed.”
Q: How far away does that season opener seem?
“Jacksonville State. That was a great game for us though. It taught us a lot. We hit 14 threes. That changed us defensively, period. So we are very thankful to Jacksonville State, they woke us up.”
SENIOR FORWARD IVEY SLAUGHTER
Is this the best team you’ve been on defensively?
“That’s a good question. I think that we’re so similar to our sophomore year as far as everybody can guard but sometimes you have defensive slippage and I think that we all focus in to help the helper and we worked on that so much in practice. I think that is really showing in the game, how much we are focused defensively and if we get stops, it’s easier for us to go in transition to score.”
What’s it say about how dominant the defense is?
“It comes down to toughness. That was one of our keys to win in this game and it’s kind of like what Coach Sue said, every 50/50 ball we wanted, every loose ball we had to get, every box out, every rebound we had to get. And I think that both teams, I don’t think shot very well, but it came down to rebounds, and I think that we won that battle so that was the difference in the game.”
Is this the toughest team you’ve been on?
“I think we’re starting to get there.”
How’s the team chemistry?
“I think it’s growing. I think it’s a total difference from last year. I think that we still have some areas we can grow in but it’s definitely a huge step in the right direction.”
What’s it mean to beat your biggest rival?
“I think it’s huge because last year still stung a little bit. Coach Sue said in shoot around, this game, you win. You lose, you hold it for the whole entire year and I think last year we had a bitter taste from last year, and I think we wanted to come out and prove ourselves and prove our dominance.”
SENIOR GUARD LETICIA ROMERO
How did you all get past some of the bad rhythm of the game?
“I think by talking to each other. Today we did a great job, handling and just talking to each other, making sure everybody was on the same page. It’s something we’ve been working on. And we haven’t done great every time, but I think we’re getting there. We practice that every game. The coaches put us in really tough situations, and we practice that to make us really have to figure out what to do in those moments.”
How do you feel the team chemistry has been?
“I think the way we respond to each other is so much different than last year. We don’t have to agree with each other- we have different points of view, but we respect each other. Like every time Ivey has to tell me something, I’ll listen to her, and I’ll tell her my opinion. That I think is the willingness to be great. We see our potential and we don’t want to waste it.”