TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – The No. 12 Florida State Women’s Basketball team moves to a 3-0 start for the third consecutive season with a 75-41 victory over Jacksonville on Wednesday evening in the Donald L. Tucker Center. The triumph moves them to 9-0 in their all-time series record with the Dolphins.
“I thought we had a much better second half than the first half,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “I think Jacksonville did a good job of taking away our interior in the first half and we had to adjust. The kids came out in the second half and created some offense through their defense.”
Jacksonville kept the game within reach through the first quarter by establishing an aggressive zone defense. FSU led by just eight points going into the second, finishing on a 6-0 run capped off with a steal and a buzzer-beating jumper by senior guard Nausia Woolfolk to create a 15-7 lead.
Woolfolk continued to dominate through the first half, kicking off the second quarter with a three-pointer for the 70th of her career. The team responded, overcoming their early shooting struggles to extend their lead to double-digits.
“I would say just like Coach (Sue) said about how we came out a little slow,” Woolfolk added. “We just needed that boost of energy and once we got a steal that gave us a flow. When my teammates opened up the lane, that gave me the opportunity to score. That gave me the confidence to knock down shots.”
A lot of back and forth action to begin the second half kept Florida State on their toes, but the team held on to a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game. They scored 25 points in the final quarter to solidify the victory.
Tonight’s win was outlined by outstanding performances from the Seminole veterans. A trio of seniors in Woolfolk, Nicki Ekhomu and Kiah Gillespie combined to score 50 of FSU’s 75 points.
Woolfolk, the player of the evening, carried the Seminoles to a 32-19 advantage at the end of the first half, scoring 14 points by the intermission and totaling 22 on the night for her eighth career 20-point game. She grabbed two rebounds, two assists, and five steals.
Point guard Nicki Ekhomu added 14 points to move her career total to 990, just 10 shy of becoming the 36th Seminole to reach the 1,000 mark. She picked up four rebounds and two assists.
Forward Kiah Gillespie, earned her second double-double of the season and her 15th at Florida State. She dropped 14 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, adding a block in the victory.
Right behind the senior leaders were the potent Seminole freshmen. Center River Baldwin tacked on nine points, pulled down a career-high five rebounds, and added three blocks in just 13 minutes, 27 seconds of action. Guard Sammie Puisis put up four points with a career-high three rebounds and an assist. London Clarkson added an assist.
Sophomore forward Valencia Myers added five points, six rebounds, two blocks and an assist. Sophomore guard Kourtney Weber picked up two rebounds and two assists.
Florida State’s defense forced 24 total turnovers, while holding the Dolphins to 31.6 percent shooting and 23.5 percent from three-point range. FSU also got out in transition quite a bit, totaling 24 fast-break points.
The team out-rebounded JU 41-30, and held the advantage in the paint at 40-20.
The Seminoles as a whole shot 70 percent from the line, with Ekhomu (6 of 6) and Woolfolk (3 of 3) both perfect on the evening.
Florida State looks to extend its streak as it hosts the Samford Bulldogs at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center on Sunday, Nov. 17, at 2 p.m. The game will be televised on the ACC Network Extra.