No. 12 Florida State women cruise past No. 6 Texas A&M 80-58
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Nausia Woolfolk had a big first half, Kiah Gillespie hit the shot that put Florida State up by double digits and Nicki Ekhomu helped put her team back in control.
If the Seminoles are going to make another NCAA Tournament run, those three seniors figure to lead the way.
Woolfolk scored 18 of her season-high 24 points before halftime, Kiah Gillespie added 22 points with nine rebounds and Ekhomu finished with a career-high 12 assists to lead 12th-ranked Florida State past No. 6 Texas A&M 80-58 on Sunday night.
“They all just play such a strong role for us,” said coach Sue Semrau, who’s seeking a third trip to the Elite Eight in the past six seasons. “I thought Woolfolk got us going early. And then Kiah in the second half, she had rhythm shots. She took ’em. She hit ’em. And then Nicki just runs the show.”
The first meeting between the teams since the Seminoles won on the Aggies’ home court in the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament came at TCU in the Maggie Dixon Classic, named for the late sister of Horned Frogs men’s coach Jamie Dixon.
It’s the second straight year TCU has hosted the event, in its 14th season. The previous year, coach Gary Blair and his Aggies were the hosts. Maggie Dixon died of heart arrhythmia in 2006. The first tournament in her honor was held later that year at Army, where she coached.
Chennedy Carter, the Southeastern Conference preseason player of the year, scored 20 points but had a rough shooting night for the Aggies (5-1).
Carter, who went to high school in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, missed all seven of her 3-point attempts, including a good look that could have pulled Texas A&M within four late in the third quarter. She was 8 of 22 from the field.
“Chennedy has got to learn what the defense is giving her,” Blair said. “What they’re giving her, they want her to shoot the 3. She wanted to come back home and put on a show like she’s been putting a show on everybody all year. This wasn’t one of her better decision games offensive or defensively.”
Gillespie was 5 of 6 from inside the 3-point line while going 3 of 10 outside the arc, but one of those 3s opened the second half and gave the Seminoles (7-0) their first double-digit lead at 43-32.
Florida State’s 13-point lead in the third quarter was down to five late in the period before buckets late in the shot clock from Kourtney Weber and Ekhomu, who assisted on Weber’s basket and finished with 15 points.
“When we cut it down to five, we should have capitalized,” said Shambria Washington, who had the Aggies’ only 3-pointer as they finished 1 of 11 from beyond the arc. “We didn’t capitalize on our moment when he had the chance.”
Florida State: The Seminoles are off to a strong start defensively, coming off consecutive games of holding opponents to less than 33% shooting. They outscored the Aggies 19-6 in the fourth quarter and held them to 36% shooting in the second half.
Texas A&M: Since their best 3-point shooting game of the season, the Aggies have struggled from long range in three straight games. Texas A&M missed its first six shots beyond the arc and is 6 of 29 over the past three games. Carter is 1 of 13 in those games.
The Aggies had a chance to get back in the top five a day after top-ranked Oregon and No. 2 Baylor lost. Instead, the conversation will be whether the Seminoles belong in the top 10. Because they’re likely to pass Texas A&M, a move up at least two spots seems likely.
“It’s just somebody’s opinion,” Semrau said. “We don’t pay a lot of attention to it. Now if somebody’s got an opinion that you’re 12 and they’re six, then that gives you a little bit of incentive to see, ‘Hey, let’s match up with that and let’s see where we are.’”
Florida State: Faces No. 15 Michigan State at home Thursday.
Texas A&M: Hosts Central Arkansas on Wednesday.