TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Shakayla Thomas scored 18 points as eighth-ranked Florida State cruised to a 90-41 victory over Western Carolina on Sunday.
The junior forward was one of four to score in double figures for the Seminoles (8-1), who have won seven straight. Leticia Romero scored 16 points while Ivey Slaughter added 14 and Chatrice White had 10.
Florida State scored the first 10 points of the game as Western Carolina missed its first five shots and committed six turnovers before getting its first basket on an Emily Hatfield jumper with 3:42 remaining in the first.
The Seminoles, who have won by an average of 31.7 points during their winning streak, led by as many as 52 points midway through the third quarter.
Lauren LaPlant and Hatfield each had 12 points for the Catamounts (3-7), who shot 26 percent from the field.
POST-GAME NOTES BY FSU SPORTS INFORMATION:
• Shakayla Thomas (9-of-13), Ivey Slaughter (5-of-7) and Leticia Romero (7-of-11) combined to go 21-of-31 from the floor, accounting for nearly half of FSU’s field goal attempts.
• The Seminoles held WCU to four points in the first period and eight points in the second frame. FSU has now recorded eight periods this year where it has held opponents to under 10 points. Its four points allowed in the first is the second-lowest surrendered this season (3 by Winthrop).
• FSU’s 54 points in the paint is its second time recording 50+ this season, scoring 58 in a 98-35 win over Winthrop on Thanksgiving Day.
• The Seminoles are now averaging 27.7 bench points per game after totaling 37 on Sunday. FSU has posted five games of 33 bench points or more this season.
• Junior center Ama Degbeon’s seven rebounds more than doubled her career high. Senior center Kai James tied her career high with nine boards, doing so for the fourth time.
• FSU’s 22-4 lead in the first period opened the gap even further for itself in the first frame, now holding a 215-123 advantage.
• The Seminoles had four players score in double figures for the seventh time this season, led by Thomas (18), Romero (16), Slaughter (14) and Chatrice White (10).
• Thomas’ nine made field goals are a season high, eclipsing eight made field goals.
• Romero’s four steals marked a season high.
• Guard Brittany Brown finished with five points, seven rebounds and five assists. She has four games this season where she has recorded at least five boards and five dimes.
• Freshman guard Nausia Woolfolk delivered seven points in 17 minutes, earning a career high in points scored.
• FSU’s 51.5 percent shooting from the field was its fourth game this season shooting 50 percent or better.
• The Seminoles now lead Western Carolina 5-0 in the all-time series, and have defeated a program from North Carolina for the sixth straight time.
• FSU now has a seven-game win streak, marking its eighth time recording a win streak of seven games or longer since the 2012-13 season.
• The Seminoles improve to 20-12 all-time against Southern Conference schools, having won 15 consecutive games vs. the SoCon.
HEAD COACH SUE SEMRAU QUOTES:
“I was really pleased with our first half and how we came out in the first quarter, in holding their team to 12 points. I thought our defense was disciplined. We set out to be more dominant on that end and on the glass. And then the second half I think we came out strong with our starters and got a great opportunity with all of our players, and got some great experience.”
On Florida State’s early success so far
“I think we just have to continue to see what it is that helps us win and that’s the little things. And they have bought into that, they are a team that trains that way now. That’s the important piece of a championship team, is that you have the will to train and to do the little things, not just the spectacular things.”
On how important it is to have so many scorers on the court
“That’s the thing is we have so many weapons, if you take away Shakayla you have Leti. If you take away Leti you have Imani… There’s all kinds of opportunities, we have been working really hard on making sure it’s a balanced attack. Sometimes like in the Minnesota game we didn’t play as well together, but I think today we had a lot more connection between the guards and posts.”
On the importance of the team’s fast starts
“It’s really important, I think it allows the depth of the team to be really exceptional. If Ivey had gotten one foul early, then to be able to bring in Chatrice and know that Shakalya has the stamina, but I can save Ivey from getting that second foul in the first period, I really like to be able to do that. The same is true with Leti and Imani up at Minnesota, they got early fouls and we had depth, but to be able to sustain it…so when you jump out it gives you more confidence with that.”
PLAYER POST-GAME QUOTES:
JUNIOR FORWARD SHAKAYLA THOMAS
What did you work on in your time here?
“Being consistent. I used to have up and down days so staying consistent is really the main thing I’ve been focused on.”
How good is it to be home after a long road trip?
“Like I said in the huddle one time, we’re back home. The atmosphere we have at home verses the atmosphere we have on the road is way better, clearly. So it’s like, being back it’s time to give the fans what they actually came out here for. Us playing together and seeing the smile on fan’s faces is what we live for.”
In what ways have you improved on defense?
“Honestly, its more just being aware of things. I knew freshman year I could guard certain things, but now I feel I can guard any position. I think that’s a big step from where I was. I think it was more of me learning how to do things and knowing where to be.”
SENIOR POINT GUARD LETICIA ROMERO
As far as Nicki Ekhomu, what makes her such an impact freshman?
“I think she has a great feel for the game. I like to play with her because she’s aggressive. She’s not one of those players that’s going to back down, she’s always going to be aggressive, and when you pass her the ball she’s going to attack and find the right person. It’s fun to play with her (Nicki), that’s all I can say.”
Coming back from injury it seems like you really haven’t missed a beat too much. Was it difficult to get back into a solid rhythm?
“I don’t think so, I mean I’ve been here for three years, and I practice every day with them, I know them and it wasn’t difficult at all because our team just embraces everybody. If someone is injured or someone misses some games we’re going to come together and it’s always fun.”