TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) — The Seminoles beat No. 20 Notre Dame, 70-65, in front of a lively crowd at the Tucker Center on Sunday afternoon. The matchup was a Play4Kay game that helped raise breast cancer awareness and spread the good work of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
The win marked the Noles’ first ever victory against the Fighting Irish (18-5, 9-3). FSU has now earned at least one AP Top 25 win in each of the last eight seasons. The victory was the 51st ranked win by Head Coach Sue Semrau.
FSU got going early in the first quarter when junior guard Sammie Puisis hit her 114th career 3-pointer to move into the top 10 in program history.
Valencia Myers got into her offensive groove in the second quarter with back-to-back buckets. Both teams battled hard in the second quarter with the lead changing five times. Sara Bejedi was perfect from distance throughout the afternoon, hitting two of her three 3-pointers in the second quarter. Myers and Bejedi led the line offensively in the first half for the Noles with each player contributing six points.
The Noles came out of halftime firing. True freshman O’Mariah Gordon set the tone with two tough drives to the basket. The Noles never looked back as they proceeded to go on a 9-0 run where Myers continued to assert her dominance inside on her way to a team high 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting. The Noles were locked in on both ends of the floor, holding Notre Dame to a field goal percentage of 21 percent in the third quarter and out-battling their opponents 10-6 on the boards in that frame.
“We had to continue the defensive momentum from the NC State game”, said Myers post-game.
The offense was on a roll with four players ending the game with double digit points. The team shot an impressive 51 percent from the floor, including 46 percent from beyond the arc.
The Fighting Irish attempted to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter after trailing by as much as 18 points and got within 3 points before Bejedi and Jones sank two late clutch jumpers. Gordon stepped up to line and made both of her free throws with 12 seconds remaining to effectively seal the deal.
“We have been talking a lot about how it is okay to make mistakes, you just have to fight. They did that today, they fought. When they were told about who Kay (Yow) was, it really got to them. It pushed them forward today,” said Semrau.
The Play4Kay game is one of two pink games that the Noles will host this season. Coach Sue was a long-time friend of beloved NC State head coach Kay Yow, having coached against her 21 times between 1997 and 2009. Raising cancer awareness is near and dear to FSU Women’s Basketball, with Coach Sue taking a leave of absence last season to help in her mother’s fight against cancer. The afternoon culminated with Coach Sue addressing the elated and emotional crowd.
The Noles begin their three-game road trip at Duke on Thursday, Feb. 10. The game will be at 6 p.m. and live on ACC Network Extra.