GREENSBORO, N.C. (Seminoles.com) — Ninth-seeded Florida State Women’s Basketball earned an enormous win on Thursday afternoon, defeated No. 8 seed Boston College, 63-58, in the ACC Tournament Second Round held at the Greensboro Coliseum.
The matchup was regarded as one of the most important in the conference tournament so far considering both teams were standing on equal ground fighting for a chance at an NCAA Tournament bid. The Seminoles (17-12, 10-8) came away victorious after managing to stave off a furious run by the Eagles (19-11, 10-8) to end the game.
“I’m really proud of the effort that our team — it wasn’t just today, it’s been a process. It’s been progress by process,” FSU Head Coach Sue Semrau said. “We had a lot of injuries early. We had some COVID issues. We had to make up some games, and they just stayed faithful. They stayed looking at what was next, what was next, what was next.
“That’s a really good Boston College team. They are so talented. They’ve got tremendous weapons at every position, and I thought, you know, we defended them about as well as we could, and I thought they’re a great team. Obviously they made a big run at the end, and just happy we were able to sustain that.”
Florida State has now won eight of their last 11 contests in ACC play, coinciding with the period where it has been at full health.
With Florida State holding a 54-41 lead with 4:00 left, Boston College went on a very quick 8-0 run because of its ability to pressure on the inbound, cutting the Seminole lead to 54-49 with 3:39 left.
Junior guard Sara Bejedi proved big down the stretch, drawing fouls with Florida State already in the bonus and doing her best to salt the game away with five free throws. Her last free throw gave the Seminoles a 61-55 advantage with 48 seconds remaining.
BC sharp-shooter Cameron Swartz, who was held to nine points, drilled a deep 3-point field goal to cut the game to one possession at 61-58 with 38 seconds left.
“I felt like mixing up Morgan (Jones) and Sammie (Puisis) on her, their length maybe bothered them a little bit, but I think the biggest thing was the way we defended the ball screen action, and that helped us defensively too — I was stunned when I saw that we held her to nine points,” Semrau said.
The game sealing play was made by All-ACC First Teamer Morgan Jones of the Seminoles, who found enough space for a soaring layup just before the shot clock expired to give FSU a 63-58 lead with 7.6 seconds left.
Jones also had another clutch basket, hitting a mid-range jumper to make it 59-55 with 1:12 left. The basket put her in the 1,000-point club at FSU, becoming the 39th Seminole to join the list.
Jones went 5-of-8 from the floor for 11 points along with five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Redshirt junior forward Erin Howard had an impact performance with a season-high 16 points, five rebounds along with four 3-point field goals.
“It feels great to see them drop,” Howard said of her 3-point shooting. “I’ve been shooting decently over the season, but the past few games they haven’t been falling. So it’s a big confidence booster to see them go in tonight.”
Junior guard Sammie Puisis was strong on Thursday as well, scoring 12 points on four 3-point field goals in 29:16 of action.
The Seminoles shot 46 percent from the floor against a strong defensive unit like Boston College, bolstered by a third quarter where they shot 66.7 percent (8-of-12). FSU out-scored Boston College 20-15 in the third. Despite the Eagles going on an 8-0 run that quarter, FSU responded with a game-changing 10-2 run to keep itself at distance before BC’s final flurry in the fourth.
Florida State now prepares for No. 1 seed NC State on Friday at 2 p.m. in the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals. The game will air on several of the ACC’s regional sports networks, including Bally Sports Florida.
“I think that the ACC Tournament when you look at it, I mean, it’s — I told the players, it’s the granddaddy of them all,” Semrau said. “We were the first to have a women’s ACC Tournament, a women’s conference tournament, and it’s been an amazing tournament.
“It’s not easy to come in after a brutal season and face somebody you faced 10 days ago. I really credit our players. I credit them for the energy, the focus that they had coming in. It’s a different team every year, and you’ve got to continue to talk through it every single year.”