Puisis, Gillespie lead No. 8 FSU to 81-64 win over Clemson
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Florida State coach Sue Semrau sees plenty of things to improve for her eighth-ranked Seminoles, no matter how polished and poised they looked in their Atlantic Coast Conference opener.
Florida State moved to 9-0 for the second time in three seasons in starting ACC play with an 81-64 victory over Clemson on Sunday.
Semrau’s team had five players in double figures, headed up with 17 apiece from Sammie Puisis and Kiah Gillespie. It also got a double-double from 6-foot-5 freshman River Baldwin and took control right before halftime, eventually building a 20-point lead against a Clemson team that swept the Seminoles a season ago.
Still, Semrau was not happy with her team’s rebounding early against the feisty Tigers (3-7, 0-1 ACC).
“I felt like we handled their pressure well but didn’t rebound well” early on, Semrau said.
Florida State had 24 rebounds the first 20 minutes, just two more than Clemson.
When the Seminoles got more aggressive at chasing down the basketball the final two quarters, they were able to put away the Tigers. They outrebounded Clemson 41-35.
“We kept them off the glass in the second half and that was the difference,” the coach said.
Puisis, a freshman, had season bests in points and with five made 3-pointers. Baldwin, another freshman, had her career best with 10 rebounds and two of Florida State’s three blocked shots.
Florida State was swept by Clemson last year and looked to be in for another tough game when the Tigers went up 33-30 late in the second quarter on Kaylee Sticker’s 3-pointer. But Gillespie tied it and started a 7-2 run to the break for a 40-35 lead in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.
Florida State took charge the rest of the way.
The Seminoles had five players in double figures. Besides Puisis and Gillespie, Baldwin had 12 points, Nicki Ekhomu had 11 points and seven assists and Nausia Woolfolk had 10 points.
Kendall Spray had 19 points off six 3-pointers to lead Clemson. Amari Robinson added 14 points for the Tigers.
Florida State: The Seminoles have started fast and their streak includes a pair of Top 25 wins by early December for just the second time program history. Florida State topped Texas A&M and Michigan State, joining the 1990-91 team in accomplishing that feat.
Clemson: The Tigers have work ahead if they hope to match last year’s turnaround debut season of coach Amanda Butler as they made the NCAA Tournament this past March for the first time in 17 years.
Florida State plays St. John’s at home on Dec. 15
Clemson hosts Mercer on Dec. 15.