basketball-women-d1 flag

Joe Reedy | The Associated Press | January 26, 2018

Florida State's Shakayla Thomas coming up big late in games

  Shakayla Thomas, who is fifth in the conference in scoring at 18.5 points per game, is averaging 21 points and 8.3 rebounds over the past three games.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State's Shakayla Thomas' play could be summed up by one phrase — "better late than never."

The senior forward posted double-doubles in her past two games for the eighth-ranked Seminoles, but most of it has come after halftime.

In an 81-79 victory at Wake Forest on Jan. 18, Thomas scored all but two of her 28 points in the second half and overtime. Three days later, she had eight of her 14 points in the final 20 minutes as the eighth-ranked Seminoles upset No. 4 Louisville 50-49.


Follow @ncaawbb
Over the final five minutes of both games, Thomas scored 12 of Florida State's 26 points.

When it comes to why most of Thomas' production has come late, she would like to be the first to know.

"I don't know. Maybe it is because I'm more tuned in and aggressive," said Thomas, who is averaging 10.5 of her 18.5 points per game after halftime. "I think everyone wakes up in the second half. Either the team does or I feed off my teammates."

Women's basketball rankings: TCU ranked in AP Top 25 for first time since 2010

Thomas, who is fifth in the conference in scoring at 18.5 points per game, is also averaging 21 points and 8.3 rebounds over the past three games. After a big win at Louisville, the Seminoles (18-2, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) face another big test on Sunday when they host fifth-ranked Notre Dame (19-2, 7-1).

Even though the numbers might say Thomas is playing her best basketball of the season, she refuses to say that.

"Have you seen those first-half points? The best is going to come out at some point and then everyone is going to be in total shock," she said.

Coach Sue Semrau, who knows Thomas' game as well as anyone, says even scouting Thomas in high school in Sylacauga, Alabama, she would hold back until it was absolutely necessary in order to get teammates involved.

For the first three years of Thomas' collegiate career, that has worked out pretty well. She was the ACC's Sixth Player of the Year in 2015 and '16 before being the coaches selection as Player of the Year last season.

With the Seminoles though trying to reach their first Women's Final Four after three straight Sweet 16 appearances and spots in the Elite Eight two of the last three years, Semrau is trying to get more out of her top player.

"That mentality has to be to dominate every possession. When she does that she is one of the best players in the country," Semrau said. "Sometimes she needs to be reminded how good she is. We're not going to put up with her being average."

MORE: Baylor's Kalani Brown leads the nation in field goal percentage

At a school known for football, it will be a big basketball weekend at Florida State. Saturday's men's game against in-state rival Miami is sold out and Semrau is hoping that Sunday's game will attract a record crowd.

The game also has big stakes for the conference race. Both teams have one conference loss along with Louisville and Virginia.

"Thomas is really a tremendous athlete. She's very physical and strong. We are going to have to double her," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "Florida State is a very veteran team that has a good inside-outside presence. Rebounding is going to be key. We've been a good rebounding team but we have to be a great one against them."

The Seminoles though have never defeated the Irish in six previous meetings. Notre Dame has won by an average of 15.2 points.

"This is all or nothing at this point as a senior. We have to leave here with a win over Notre Dame," Thomas said.

This article was written by Joe Reedy from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

Nina King to continue as NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee chair in 2021-22; Beth Goetz named to chair committee in 2022-23

Duke’s Nina King will continue in her role as chair of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee in 2021-22, while Beth Goetz of Ball State has been named vice chair for the coming season before stepping into the chair position in 2022-23.

Where the U.S. Olympic women's 3x3 basketball team played in college

The four-player roster for the 2020 U.S. Olympic women's 3x3 basketball team featured a player from UConn, one from Notre Dame, one from Washington and another from South Carolina.

Where the 2021 WNBA All-Stars played college

The 2021 WNBA All-Star Game is set for July 14 in Las Vegas. This is the first time the event will happen in the same year as the Summer Olympics — and the U.S. roster is the All-Stars' opponent for the game.

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from and our partners