TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – No. 19 Florida State Women’s Basketball (22-6, 11-6) took down Clemson (7-21, 3-14), 81-54, in dominating fashion on ‘Paint it Pink’ night at the Donald L. Tucker Center to secure a season sweep of the ACC-rival Tigers. Proceeds from the game will directly benefit the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center, with the ‘Paint it Pink’ campaign having generated over $60,000 towards cause.
The Seminoles never trailed. Ending the opening quarter on an 11-0 run, FSU began the second period with a 25-7 advantage – marking an ACC high for first-quarter points and tying its season high. Fueled by senior guard Nausia Woolfolk’s 12 first-half points, the Noles owned a 42-23 lead by the intermission and held the Tigers to just 35.7 percent shooting for the first half.
“Yeah I’m just so proud of them,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “You know I felt like a weight was lifted off a little bit and they had the confidence back that they’ve had and maybe just lost because coaches are always nit-picking them.
“I really think that when I realized that maybe I was being too much of a perfectionist and maybe even taking away a bit of confidence. I felt like it was important that they really understand what they are good at and celebrate that. Gosh, you saw. They just responded with who they are. Period. It wasn’t anything different, it was just who they are and I’m just so proud of them.”
Clemson came out of the break with comeback aspirations and used a 7-0 run to make it 48-34. FSU responded by outscoring the Tigers 21-17 in the third quarter, holding on to a double-digit lead that was established after just 7:35 minutes of play. Pouring gasoline on to a well-lit fire, sophomore guard Kourtney Weber made a buzzer-beating three-pointer that gave the team a 63-40 edge to start the final quarter.
Florida State showed no mercy and closed out the game on a 9-0 run to seal the final 27-point victory. For the game, the Seminoles shot 45.5 percent, made six three-pointers and went 13-of-18 from the free-throw line. Clemson shot 36 percent from the field. FSU is 17-0 when holding opponents under 40 percent shooting.
With all five starters scoring in double-figures, the Seminole veterans piloted the Tiger trouncing, combining to score 70 of FSU’s 81 points.
Woolfolk made two shots from the bonusphere for the 99th and 100th of her career to become just the 15th player in Seminole history with 100 made three-point shots. The senior guard led FSU in scoring with 17 points, recorded seven assists and pulled down four rebounds.
Senior forward Kiah Gillespie, an ACC Player of the Year candidate, had the 11th double-double of her season with a team-high 11 rebounds, scoring 16 points.
Senior point guard Nicki Ekhomu led the Noles with a career-high-tying four steals, capping her night off with 11 points and three boards. She also tied her career high in blocks with two.
Sophomore forward Valencia Myers contributed 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting with five rebounds. Her classmate, guard Morgan Jones, went 4-of-7 from the floor and added 12 points, six rebounds, and a team-leading three blocks in the win.
Off the bench, Weber pulled down four rebounds to go along with six points on 2-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc. Freshman center River Baldwin was a perfect 2-of-2 from the line with four boards, and freshman guard Sammie Puisis added five rebounds.
On the defensive end, FSU propelled the Tigers into several miscues and forced 20 turnovers for 17 points. The team out-rebounded Clemson by a sizable 51-34 margin, grabbing 28 second-chance points compared to the opponent’s five. Florida State totaled a season-high 13 steals.
Semrau was very thankful to play for such an important cause such as breast cancer awareness.
“I understand that over $60,000 has been raised for that and for breast cancer research,” Semrau added. “We’ve got to find a cure. I look at Nicki Ekhomu’s mom, who battled and is a survivor. I look at Gabby Bevillard’s mom who battled and didn’t survive. Then we’ve got someone in our immediate family, with our basketball program, who’s fighting cancer. Can we just get a cure? Get rid of the chemo. Get rid of the radiation. Get rid of the things that are so hard on people’s bodies. We just want that to happen so badly.”
Up next, FSU hosts Notre Dame for its regular-season finale at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Sunday at 2.p.m. Fans can “Pack the Tuck for a Buck,” with senior day tickets being just $1.