CANCUN, Mexico (Seminoles.com) – The Florida State Women’s Basketball team got back to its high-octane offensive ways as it ran past Furman on Friday afternoon, 94-63, in its second game of the Cancun Challenge at the Hard Rock Riviera Maya Hotel.
Five double-figure scorers highlighted Friday’s offensive effort for the Seminoles (5-1), who shot a season-best 59.1 percent (39-of-66) from the floor and recorded 20 fast-break points. FSU has already surpassed the 90-point mark four times this season, a year after reaching the number just once.
Junior center Adut Bulgak recorded her third double-double of the season with 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting and 10 rebounds. The Edmonton, Canada, native was dominant in the post and contributed greatly to FSU’s 20-4 margin in second-chance points, finding ways to get offensive put-backs.
Florida State shot 62.5 percent (20-of-32) in the second half, the second time it has shot 60 percent or better in a half this year. Redshirt senior point guard Maegan Conwright continues to impress in her first playing season at FSU, finishing with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting, going 3-of-3 from long range and recording a season-high five assists to just three turnovers.
“I was happy with the way we established the post today,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “It was a good bounce-back effort for us. Defensively, we did a good job of stopping dribble penetration, and I liked how we took advantage again of second-chance points. A lot of players contributed today and that’s the type of team we are looking to have.”
Sophomore forward Ivey Slaughter played with early foul trouble but still made an impact on the game. The Macon, Ga., native had 15 points and five rebounds. Sophomore center Kai James played her finest game of the year, adding a season-high 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting with four rebounds in just 10 minutes. James gained strong position down on the block and was very aggressive offensively.
Freshman forward Shakayla Thomas almost made plays in the post, recording 10 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench. The play of Thomas and James helped FSU score 34 bench points, tying a season high.
The Seminoles shared the basketball extremely well, tying a season high with 21 assists and committing just 14 turnovers. FSU took advantage of its post game and recorded a season-high 58 points in the paint.
Florida State held Furman to 23-of-57 (40.4 percent) from the floor, including just 37.5 percent in the second half. Leading scorer Brittany Hodges was held to just nine points and fouled out late in the game.
The Seminoles outscored Furman 49-31 in the second half, slowly peaking their lead until a late 14-1 run stretched their advantage. James was a big part of the run when she made a couple strong post moves for easy buckets, and Brittany Brown and Thomas combined for a consecutive fast-break points to give the Noles a 90-58 lead with 3:57 left.
The Noles held a 45-33 halftime lead over Furman, shooting 55.9 percent from the field and out-rebounding the Paladins 22-9. Bulgak led the way with 10 points and helped FSU take a 12-0 lead in second-chance points in the first half, while Conwright added eight.
FSU took a quick timeout with 17:33 left in the first half after being down 8-6 early, but responded with five straight points to take an 11-8 lead through the first media break. Conwright punctuated the run with a 3-pointer from the right wing. FSU would extend the run to 10-0 before Furman came back with an 8-0 run. Bulgak stopped the bleeding with a put-back to give FSU an 18-16 lead.
The Noles used a big 17-2 run to take a 41-27 advantage late in the first half. Shakena Richardson came through off the bench in that stretch, hitting a triple and then making a nice drive to the basket to already put her at a season-high seven points. Richardson would later make a beautiful coast-to-coast drive to the hoop that ended with a spin move and right-handed layup. She finished with nine points, five assists and just one turnover.
FSU plays its final game of the Cancun Challenge on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. CT against Hartford.
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