Florida St. no match for No. 3 Duke
The Associated Press
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Duke's Jasmine Thomas was just too much for Florida State.
Thomas scored 22 points to lead the third-ranked Blue Devils to an 87-70 road victory, delivering not only several clutch shots but finishing off the No. 21 Seminoles with game highs in rebounds, assists and steals.
"She's just clutch all of the time,'' Florida State coach Sue Semrau said afterward. "She just makes their team go.''
The Blue Devils (16-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) got 15 points each from freshmen Haley Peters and Tricia Liston, while Chelsea Gray, also a freshman, added 13. Duke got 46 of its points from first-year players.
"I'm excited to see the way in which Jasmine is leading the younger players,'' Duke coach Joanne McCallie said. "The younger players are following her lead, her attack mode. The way she plays the game and the intensity.''
Duke took the lead at 18-16 on Thomas' 3-pointer that ignited a 25-8 run, culminating with a 3-pointer from Liston that put the Blue Devils ahead 40-24.
"The thing about Jasmine that makes her so special is that she finds a way to get everyone involved,'' Semrau said. "She's one of the fastest players we've ever had to face.''
Courtney Ward scored a game-high 25 points and Alexa Deluzio added 17 for Florida State, which closed within three points with 12:28 left only to see Duke quickly regain command.
"We didn't have enough in our tank,'' Semrau said. ``It was too much, too late.''
Florida State (14-1, 2-1) cut Duke's lead to 40-30 at halftime on Ward's desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Another Ward 3-pointer trimmed Duke's lead to 56-51 with 13:13 left, and Bravard followed 40 seconds later with a layup as the Seminoles got within three at 56-53. But Thomas again kicked off another run, this one a 20-7 Blue Devils spurt that decided the game.
"We gave up some easy shots in the second half that we weren't giving up in the first half,'' Thomas said. ``I think we were just intense and we were aggressive.''
Thomas, a 5-9 senior, narrowly missed a triple-double with nine rebounds and eight assists - both game highs. She also had three steals.
Nine players scored for the Blue Devils in the opening half as their bench players outscored Florida State 15-0. Duke capitalized on 14 first half Florida State turnovers for 21 points, while the Seminoles managed just three on Duke's miscues.
Duke shot 52.3 percent for the game and won the rebound battle 40-34. Florida State shot 40 percent and its 19 turnovers contributed to 29 Duke points.
Freshman Natasha Howard had 14 points and Cierra Bravard 12 for the Seminoles, who got all but two of its points from four players.