TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Chatrice White had a career-high 21 points and 12 rebounds and Imani Wright added 17 points and eight assists to help Florida State beat North Florida 109-51 on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
AJ Alix hit 5-of-8 3-pointers and finished with 17 points and Shakayla Thomas had 16 points and nine rebounds for Florida State. Nicki Ekhomu scored 18 of her 20 points in the second half and finished with 13 rebounds.
Wright found White for a layup within five seconds and Degbeon scored five points during a 9-2 opening run and the Seminoles never trailed. A jumper by Thomas gave the Seminoles a 10-point lead late in the first quarter and Alix hit three of Florida State’s six second-quarter 3-pointers to make it 43-16 at halftime.
North Florida made just three of its first 16 field-goal attempts and finished shooting 30 percent, hitting just 4 of 21 from 3-point range.
Florida State outrebounded the Ospreys 62-22, including 23-7 on the offensive end, and scored 30 second-chance points. The Seminoles set a school record for points in a quarter with 36 in the third.
Keonna Farmer led North Florida with 17 points.
Way to go ? ?? pic.twitter.com/ncfd9vO9ds
— FSU Women’s Hoops (@fsuwbb) November 11, 2017
• Florida State crossed the 100-point mark for the 29th time and for the fifth time since the 2014-15 season. FSU’s 109 points scored is its fourth-most all-time and its highest in a season opener.
• Senior Chatrice White, who was named to the Lisa Leslie Award Watch List, now has 31 collegiate double-doubles if stats were included from her time at Illinois. Unofficially, she would be tied for second with Sue Galkantas (1981-84) on the FSU career list.
• White went 8-of-8 from the free throw line. As a team, the Seminoles shot 20-of-24 from the line.
• FSU’s 11 3-point field goals made (11-of-28) are tied for its most in a season opener. The Seminoles also made 11 on Nov. 26, 1993, in an 86-85 overtime loss to UT-Chattanooga.
• FSU’s 58-point margin of victory is its eighth-most in program history.
• The Seminoles recorded 36 points in the third quarter – the most FSU has scored in any quarter since the current four-quarters format began in the 2015-16 season.
• With 16 points on Friday night, senior Shakayla Thomas moved into 11th on the FSU career scoring list with 1,401 points.
• Redshirt senior guard AJ Alix’ five 3-point field goals made in her FSU debut does not mark her career high as a collegiate athlete. As a sophomore at TCU she recorded seven 3-point field goals in a 2016 WNIT Second Round win over Eastern Michigan.
• Florida State had five student-athletes in double-figure scoring, including White (21), Nicki Ekhomu (career-high 20), Alix (17), Imani Wright (17) and Thomas (16).
• Ekhomu’s breakout performance of 20 points and 13 rebounds marks her first career double-double.
• FSU punctuated the win with 66 second-half points, scoring 36 in the third quarter and 30 in the fourth.
• The Seminoles have a quick turn-around as they travel to Jacksonville State for a Sunday matchup at 4:30 p.m. ET. The trip will be treated as a homecoming for Shakayla Thomas, with the team making a stop to her hometown in Sylacauga, Ala.
AJ Alix, Redshirt Senior Guard
On her FSU debut:
“It was fun, I had fun. I like playing with this team, they give me confidence, and I try to do the same for them. My main focus is to get them the ball and to take my shots when I’m open, but my main focus on this team is to find my teammates when they’re open.”
On how much the pair of threes got her going:
“The first one when I shot it I missed it, and usually my teammates are usually like, “keep shooting,” but I usually am looking for my teammates to score the ball, and to score 20 points a game. I’m satisfied with zero points a game as long as my teammates get to score.”
On how the history of transfers to FSU impacted her decision to play here:
“With Tree [Chatrice], just seeing her transfer and seeing her win [ACC] Sixth Player of the Year, like that’s big. Why not? Why not come here, why not play for Coach Sue? It was easy, transferring here was easy for me to decide, and I feel like I wouldn’t want to play for any other coach in the country.”
Chatrice White, Senior Center
On getting her first double-double of the season in the first game:
“It’s great, first game out, a double-double is pretty cool. I think that it is just the standard that my coaches hold me to and expect day in and day out, so just to start off with a first game on that right note is a really great expectation for the rest of the season.”
On improvements that have been made from last year to this year:
“Still working on playing through and playing through fouls and scoring through contact and stuff, but I’ve also worked a lot on my outside perimeter shooting, and just getting in the gym and shooting more shots and then crashing the boards from there.”
On how having AJ improves FSU’s transition game:
“It’s great. Her vision for the rest of the court is great, so it makes me want to run the court even harder, because I know that she is going to reward me when I do. It’s really fun to be able to get out and run and for the rest of our team to want to get up and go because we know when AJ gets the ball, she’s just going to push it up to us.”
On adapting to this new speed of play and transitions with AJ:
“I guess, I mean you see it there and you gotta get it there. Also as the season progresses, we’re going to get more patient, and seeing what is our best pass and what’s going to be our best shot as a team, and moving forward I think that those passes are going to be there, even though they’re quicker, but we’re going to be ready for them.”
Head Coach Sue Semrau
“It was really nice to get back on the court and to see some things that we were able to do in a Division I game. We challenged them, and I thought that they responded pretty well. The stats are what I love. We outrebounded a team by 40. Defensively I still think that we have a lot to work on, but when you hold a team to 30 percent that’s important. I though Farmer was great for them. She’s a fifth year senior and we had seen her before at UAB and she’s a great addition. Looking at Darrick and the way that they’re building that program, I’m very excited for him. The other stat I really love is the balance we had scoring the ball, and that’s something that’s been a trademark of the program that we’ve built.”
How much more pleasing is this compared to last year’s season opener?
“I think this team is very different than last year’s team. We’re obviously not as deep so each player knows that they’re going to be relied on. Sometimes that’s good and sometimes they don’t feel that sense of competition that this group has. The other thing they know is that we haven’t arrived yet by any stretch.”
What’s it like having a point guard like AJ and the way she’s able to pass the ball?
“She’s special. It’s not just coaching a point guard who has skill, it’s coaching a point guard who has a heart and passion and can shoot the ball. That’s a lot of stuff that she does for us, and that’s why she came to Florida State. That’s what she knew we needed her to come in and do and she knew that the people around her could make her a better point guard.”
When AJ and Chatrice transferred over to FSU, did you expect them to make this immediate of an impact?
“Yes. No question. We don’t just take anyone or any transfers. There are a lot of characteristics that they need to have. It’s very specific who we’ll take and who we won’t. We knew what these guys could be on the court, but off the court is so much more important. They’re so much better off the court than they even are on the court and that says a lot.”