No. 7 FSU pulls away after halftime, tops No. 11 Miami 81-66 (Dec 29, 2016)

BY AP • December 29, 2016

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) Here's a snapshot of Florida State's season so far: a heartbreaking loss at the buzzer to No. 1 Connecticut, and convincing wins over everyone else.

Even its top rival couldn't change that.

Imani Wright and Leticia Romero each scored 19 points, and No. 7 Florida State pulled away after halftime to top No. 11 Miami 81-66 on Thursday night in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams. Shakayla Thomas scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Seminoles (13-1), who have won 12 straight.

''I haven't had a team that I've liked as much as this team,'' Florida State coach Sue Semrau said. ''The reason I like this team is they're extremely selfless and they don't care who gets the credit.''

Chatrice White added 13 points and 10 rebounds for Florida State, which outrebounded Miami 43-25.

''The key to the whole game was rebounding,'' Semrau said.

The 15-point margin was 20 points closer than any other Florida State game in December. The Seminoles went 6-0 in the month, winning by an average of 40.7 points.

Jessica Thomas had 20 points and Adrienne Motley scored 18 for Miami (11-2, 0-1), which had its 11-game winning streak snapped. Emese Hof scored 12 for the Hurricanes.

''We don't need a genius strategic analysis why we lost,'' Miami coach Katie Meier said. ''It was effort, 100 percent. ... We're going to be a lot tougher the next time you see us play.''

Miami came in 7-0 at home, never facing a deficit of more than three points on its own floor all season and trailing for a combined 6:30 in those seven games.

Florida State changed all that in the opening minutes.

The Seminoles led by as many as 12 in the first quarter and as many as 14 in the second, before Miami got within 32-31 at the break. Miami outscored Florida State 16-3 in the final 4:58 of the half, with Motley making a pair of 3-pointers - as did Jessica Thomas, including a 25-footer from in front of the FSU bench as time expired.

But the Hurricanes never got the lead back. Florida State scored the first seven points of the second half to reclaim control, and took a 60-45 lead into the fourth.

''We knew they were going to come hard on our home floor,'' Motley said. ''We've got to play harder.''

BIG PICTURE

Florida State: White and Shakayla Thomas had six offensive rebounds apiece - matching the output of Miami's entire roster. ... The Seminoles scored 32 points in the first half, then 28 more in the third quarter. ... Florida State had runs of 10-3 and 9-0 in the first quarter alone. ... With Florida State in town for the Orange Bowl on Friday night, two busloads of Seminole fans made the short trip to this game.

Miami: Jessica Thomas had a four-point play in the fourth. ... Hof, who didn't start the game, actually scored the first point of the contest after Keyona Hayes was briefly shaken up and was subbed out 14 seconds after tip-off. ... Exactly 25 percent of Miami's possessions ended with a turnover, and the Hurricanes were outscored 20-4 in second-chance points.

MARATHON POSSESSION

Florida State had an 84-second possession in the fourth quarter, one that included five shots for the Seminoles and two fouls by the Hurricanes. Romero made a 3-pointer 23 seconds into the marathon, and the Seminoles kept the ball after Miami was whistled simultaneously for a foul under the basket. Another foul a few seconds later was Hof's fifth, ending her night.

UP NEXT

Florida State: Hosts N.C. State on Monday.

Miami: Visits Pittsburgh on Monday.


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