CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (Seminoles.com) – John Paul Jones Arena has not been the easiest place for Florida State lately. Yet with one of the youngest and most inexperienced groups in the country, No. 23 Seminole Women’s Hoops rose up with a 63-61 win over Virginia on Thursday night in its ACC opener.
The Seminoles (13-1, 1-0) used an enormous 3-point field goal by freshman Kourtney Weber with 1:41 left to take a 61-59 lead, a lead that they would not give up. Despite UVA tying the game at 61-61 on a jumper from Dominique Toussaint, FSU re-gained the lead on a beautiful touch pass from Nicki Ekhomu to Valencia Myers down low, taking a 63-61 lead with 47 seconds left.
— FSU Women’s Hoops (@fsuwbb) January 4, 2019
The game-sealing play came when Ekhomu stole the ball off UVA’s in-bounds pass with four seconds remaining.
Redshirt junior forward Kiah Gillespie led FSU with 19 points and 11 rebounds, her sixth double-double of the season. Gillespie’s hustle play led to a saved ball that landed in Ekhomu’s direction, which created Myers’ game-winning layup.
Weber stepped up big time for FSU, delivering three crucial 3-point field goals including the big one with 1:41 remaining. Junior guard Nausia Woolfolk turned it on in the second half and finished with 13 points, five assists and two steals.
Sophomore Savannah Wilkinson also gave FSU significant minutes off the bench, playing solid defense and finishing with seven rebounds and six points.
A back-and-forth third quarter saw Virginia get a fast-break layup as time expired to end the period with a 49-43 lead. Woolfolk went into attack mode for the Seminoles, scoring nine in the quarter. But the Cavaliers out-scored FSU 24-17 in the third, as Brianna Tinsley had 18 heading into the final quarter and made a number of plays for the Hoos (6-8, 0-1).
FSU went into halftime clinging to just a one-point lead at 26-25. The Cavaliers out-scored the Seminoles 15-10 in the second quarter, with Tinsley leading the way with 11 points. The Seminoles did get easier buckets in the second, out-scoring UVA 9-0 on fast-break points as it tried to capitalize in transition.
The Seminoles used a late 8-2 run in the first quarter to take a 16-10 lead at the end of the quarter. Gillespie led the way with six points in the opening frame, and FSU held UVA to just 4-of-18 from the floor. Woolfolk ignited the late run with a couple baskets inside the final minutes, including a floater down the lane with 10 seconds remaining.
FSU’s second game of the ACC season will take place on the road at North Carolina on Sunday, Jan. 6, at 1 p.m. on FOX Sports Sun and several other ACC regional sports networks.