GREENSBORO, N.C. (SEMINOLES.COM) — A career performance from redshirt junior Bianca Jackson could not fend off a 15-point comeback from Syracuse as the fourth-seeded Florida State women’s basketball team (10-8) fell at the buzzer to the fifth-seeded Orange (14-7), 68-67, in the quarterfinals of the ACC Women’s Tournament on Friday afternoon.
“It had to be done on the defensive end and we just couldn’t get it done defensively in terms of stopping them around the rim,” Interim Head Coach Brooke Wyckoff said following the loss. “[Syracuse] hit a couple key three-pointers when they needed to.”
Jackson was the heart and soul of this game for the Noles, recording a career-high 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field, along with leading the team with seven assists. It is also her 14th double figure game, which leads the team this season.
Redshirt junior Savannah Wilkinson had a strong showing in this game, scoring eight points on 4-of-8 shooting and bringing down six rebounds. She also tied her career highs with three assists and three steals this afternoon.
Junior Kourtney Weber scored eight points, along with three rebounds and two steals. Sophomores River Baldwin and Sammie Puisis also played well with each of them scoring six points.
The Orange won the game when an airball fell into the arms of 6-foot-7 center Kamilla Cardoso, who stuck the put-back in as time expired.
FSU exploded off the scene early this afternoon as they shot 54 percent from the field in the first half compared to Syracuse’s 29 percent. The Orange led in other categories, such as rebounds, 41-32, and free throw percentage, 76%-59%, that ultimately helped them win this game.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to rally together as a team and to stay together. These players battled and left their hearts on the floor,” Wyckoff said about their matchup this afternoon. “It was another opportunity to play on the big stage and understand what tournament basketball is all about. We’ve got to defend and finish with rebounds if we’re going to win in March.”
The Seminoles came out blazing to start the game with a 9-0 run behind a three-pointer and a pair of free throws from Weber. FSU was able to hold Syracuse to single digits in the first period to pump their lead to 14 points going into the second quarter.
The Noles continued their downpour of scoring in the second period, but the Orange also got their scoring going early in the period to cut the lead to nine points. Back-to-back made field goals by redshirt senior Tiana England, including an and-one bucket, sparked an 8-2 run by FSU near the end of the quarter to go into half leading 39-27.
Entering the third quarter, the Seminoles’ lead dropped back down to single digits once again, but Puisis beat the shot clock on a three-pointer to get back up by 12 points. A 14-4 run by Syracuse, including a half-court buzzer beater at the end of the period, pulled them back into the game and cut the FSU lead to three points going into the fourth quarter.
After Syracuse tied the game in the opening minutes of the final period, the Noles scored seven straight points to retain the lead.
The Seminoles will now await their postseason seeding as the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament selection show airs on Monday, March 15, at 7 p.m. on ESPN.