PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Seminoles.com) — Another tough and physical battle went the way of Florida State on Sunday afternoon as it got past Pitt, 57-52, at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Depending on the outcome of Miami’s game vs. Clemson that begins at 4:30 p.m., the Seminoles (16-12, 10-8) will either be a No. 7 seed in next week’s ACC Tournament if the Hurricanes lose, or a No. 9 seed if the Hurricanes win.
Sunday’s victory over Pitt marks seven consecutive years of finishing with double-digit wins in the ACC based on a full conference schedule. Last year’s 9-7 season is excluded because FSU wasn’t able to play its full allotment of ACC games.
Freshman point guard O’Mariah Gordon helped engineer an offense that recorded 16 assists to just seven turnovers, as she led the way with 10 points. The Seminoles out-scored the Panthers (11-18, 2-16) by 10 points with her on the floor.
The regular-season ending win brings a strong finish for the Seminoles, who won seven of their last 10 games down the stretch with several Top 25 opponents mixed in.
Junior River Baldwin was also a factor with nine points in 18:14, and Bianca Jackson was strong on both ends of the floor and finished with eight points in just under 25 minutes.
FSU’s defensive prowess also included eight blocked shots, an ACC season high for the Seminoles.
The Seminoles and Panthers got off to slow starts in the opening quarter as FSU took a 13-7 lead. FSU was held scoreless for the final 2:26 of the period, but defensively it stepped up with four blocks. Erin Howard and Baldwin were both active in the early going, with Howard leading the way with five points in the first.
Gordon’s five points in the final minute of the first half provided the boost FSU needed. Her 3-point field goal with 48 seconds left on a kick-out from Valencia Myers was followed by a nice drive to the basket and layup right before the halftime buzzer. With Pitt’s physical defense proving tough to crack, FSU managed to take a 28-21 lead at the break.
More late quarter execution paid off for the Seminoles in the third. Kourtney Weber hit a straightaway 3-pointer with 47 seconds left in the third to create a 42-35 lead for FSU, followed by a leaner from Bianca Jackson to beat the buzzer and give the Seminoles momentum heading into the fourth with a 44-35 lead.
Pitt would make it interesting in the fourth, but FSU’s ability to draw fouls and salt the game away with free throws gave it another ACC win.