Bulgak scores 19 points, No. 9 FSU beats Miami 80-60
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Florida State's players were all smiles after a rival called the ninth-ranked Seminoles a potential Final Four team.
And the biggest one belonged to center Adut Bulgak.
Bulgak had 19 points and 17 rebounds for her 12th double-double of the season, and Florida State beat Miami 80-60 on Sunday for its ninth straight win.
''It's really fun (playing this well),'' coach Sue Semrau said. ''But we still can get better. And that's what makes this team so fun to coach: They're still very hungry, and they know we're not as good as we can be yet.''
Florida State remained a half game behind ACC leader Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish were the last team to beat FSU, on Jan. 2. The Seminoles have now won nine straight conference games, a school record.
Maegan Conwright added 13 points, and Shakayla Thomas and Leticia Romero each scored 12 for FSU (22-2, 9-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). The Hurricanes (16-7, 6-4) came in with the ACC's top-ranked scoring defense at 56.4 points a game, but they surrendered 38 by halftime - the most in a half this season.
Miami coach Katie Meier heaped the praise on the Hurricanes' instate rival.
''I'll tell you what: Florida State is really, really good. They're a really special team,'' Meier said. ''They're a potential Final Four team. They've got talent. They've got poise. They share the basketball. And they're really tough to plan for. They're just really something to watch.''
Miami was led by Jessica Thomas and Adrienne Motley with 14 points each, while Khaila Prather had 10 rebounds. The Hurricanes have lost 6 of 7 to FSU in Tallahassee, where the Seminoles are 12-0 this season.
The Hurricanes pulled to within 40-39 with 14:35 left on Erykah Davenport's layup before Florida State answered with a 16-2 run that was sparked by nine points from Bulgak.
The Seminoles dominated the boards as they have all season, outrebounding Miami 53-30. Bulgak also had four blocks.
The Hurricanes were hurt by 19 turnovers.
Florida State: The Seminoles scored 20 of their first 24 points in the paint.
Miami: The Hurricanes fell to 1-4 in ACC road games this season. ... They have given up 81, 80 and 68 points (twice) in their last four losses.
Florida State point guard Leticia Romero had to wait for half the season to play because of an NCAA eligibility issue that didn't see her cleared until Dec. 29, but she's made the most of her chance. Sunday was Romero's fourth start, and she was the catalyst for the Seminoles' fast start, hitting three of her first four shots, dishing out three assists and pulling down three rebounds in the first half.
Florida State visits No. 13 North Carolina on Thursday.
Miami visits No. 25 Syracuse on Thursday.