TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (Seminoles.com) – Knowing she has to take on a new leadership role as a junior this season, guard Nicki Ekhomu led by example on Tuesday afternoon with a career-high 31 points as Florida State Women’s Basketball earned a 103-67 victory over Troy at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Tuesday’s season opener was a special 11 a.m. tip-off time with ‘Field Trip Day,’ as over 1,500 kids helped make up the near 4,000 fans in attendance.
Ekhomu, a native of Bolingbrook, Ill., went 8-of-12 from the floor and 12-of-14 from the free throw line. Her 12 made free throws was also a career high and is tied for the 15th-most in a game in program history. She added five rebounds, and primarily handling the ball as a point guard, she added three assists to just two turnovers.
Ekhomu set the tone for the Seminoles early, matching her previous career high of 20 points by halftime.
“This is a group that has a desire to really learn and get better, and as a result of that when they went out today I thought their poise early was the big difference,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said of her squad.
“Nicki playing the point, which she hasn’t done at the college level much. Valencia (Myers) coming in in her first college game… I thought there was a ton of poise and a lot of things we did really well. I’m really proud of them.”
— FSU Women's Hoops (@fsuwbb) November 6, 2018
Freshman forward Valencia Myers, a McDonald’s All-American, made a strong debut with 17 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. The Solon, Ohio, product got her double-double in her opening game and also became the 16th Seminole to produce at least five blocks in a game.
Redshirt junior forward Kiah Gillespie filled up the cup with 22 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Gillespie went 9-of-19 from the floor and had 13 of her 22 in the second half.
Playing against a talented Troy team that returned 83 percent of its offense from 2017-18, FSU benefitted by breaking the game open early. A 9-8 lead midway through the first quarter for the Seminoles turned into a 27-8 advantage on an 18-0 run.
Florida State made the most of its free throws, shooting 30-of-36. Troy went 20-of-37 from the line, as a combined 58 personal fouls were called (33 by Troy, 25 by FSU).
FSU’s defense forced the Trojans into a sloppy offensive performance, as Troy recorded just three assists to 23 turnovers. The Seminoles out-rebounded Troy 63-43 and held a sizeable advantage in the paint at 48-20.
“I think this is a really good win for us,” Semrau added. “Troy is a veteran basketball team that really comes at you. We handled it very well.”
Florida State continues its five-game homestand with its second game of the season on Friday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. v. UNF. The Fresh From Florida Sunshine Showdown follows at the Tucker Center on Sunday at 3 p.m. against the Gators.