BIMINI, Bahamas (Seminoles.com) – Playing against a daunting Top-15 opponent in Iowa, a young Florida State Women’s Basketball team needed a big-time player to step up. That player on Saturday night was junior guard Nausia Woolfolk.
The Fort Valley, Ga., native dropped a career-high 25 points in the Seminoles’ (6-1) thrilling 71-67 win over No. 12/14 Iowa (4-1), securing their second Junkanoo Jam title and their sixth championship in a Caribbean tournament.
The victory marks head coach Sue Semrau’s 43rd AP Top 25 win. For Woolfolk, it was her remarkable spin moves and ferocious drives to the basket that the Hawkeye defenders could not stay in front of. She also made big free throws down the stretch, going 8-of-11 from the line and added five rebounds and two steals.
Woolfolk emerged as the Junkanoo Jam MVP.
Florida State’s win over Iowa is its second in as many seasons after knocking them off last year, 94-93, in Iowa City as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Only three current members played in that game, with Woolfolk being one of them.
Redshirt junior Kiah Gillespie made some big shots in the second half and finished with 13 points and nine rebounds. Gillespie was added to the Junkanoo Jam All-Tournament Team.
Freshman Valencia Myers led FSU’s aggressive defense in the post, repeatedly denying Iowa’s front-court players from getting quality looks. Myers finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Iowa’s Tania Davis made the game very interesting when she nailed a 3-pointer and got the foul called to draw the Hawkeyes to 69-67 with 5.7 seconds left. Davis missed the free throw and Myers pulled down the aggressive rebound. She calmly sank the ensuing free throws at the other end to close the door on the game.
Myers came through with two big free throws only seconds earlier, putting FSU ahead 68-61 with 30.4 seconds left.
Junior Nicki Ekhomu added 10 points for the Seminoles, and redshirt freshman Sayawni Lassiter had five. Freshman Morgan Jones played big minutes and added four points off the bench along with two steals.
FSU out-rebounded Iowa 37-30 and forced 19 Hawkeye turnovers as part of the big win.
The Seminoles turn around and host Penn State in the upcoming ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Thursday, Nov. 29, at 7 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center.