TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A 22-0 run spanning the end of the first half and beginning of the second stanza allowed Florida State to pull away from the UNCG women’s basketball team and record a 93-59 victory in the season opener for both teams Friday evening at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
The Spartans were able to put up 67 shots but only 20 fell through as UNCG finished the game shooting 29.9 percent from the floor. Conversely, the Seminoles knocked down 41 of their 70 attempts, many of them from down low to finish at 58.6 percent. FSU out-rebounded the Blue and Gold 48-34, but UNCG won the offensive rebounding battle 19-18 – resulting in 17 Spartan second-chance points.
Both squads had trouble holding onto the ball, combining for 42 turnovers in the early season battle. The Spartans did shine at the free throw line, draining 14 of 18 attempts (77.8 percent) led by freshmen forward Jade Scaife’s (Ft. Washington, Md./Archbishop Spalding) 6-for-6 performance and freshman guard Shanese Harris’ (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) 5-for-6 showing.
Senior forward Janae’ Stevenson (Columbia, S.C./Eau Claire) paced the offensive attack with 12 points while freshman center Mariah Wilson (Atlanta, Ga./North Atlanta) pulled down a team-best six rebounds including three offensive boards. Freshman guard Bailey Williams (Williamsburg, Va./Spotswood) dished out a squad-high three assists in her collegiate debut.
Brittany Brown gave Florida State a 2-0 lead with a layup to begin the game before Patterson responded with a three-point field goal to put the Spartans on top. The Seminoles would take control from there as a layup by Lauren Coleman capped a 12-2 run and afforded FSU a 14-5 advantage with 16:08 on the clock.
Patterson kept UNCG within striking range with 10:53 remaining before halftime as she hit a jumper and drained her second trey of the contest to make the score 23-17. The Blue and Gold hung tough with Florida State down the stretch and drew within 32-26 at the 4:11 mark when junior guard Jarae Savage (Marietta, Ga./North Cobb) knocked down a free throw. However, that would be the last points UNCG would score in the half as the Spartans became careless with the ball and allowed the Seminoles to net the final 16 points of the stanza – leaving the margin at 48-26 going into the break.
Senior guard Breonna Patterson (Greensboro, N.C./Dudley) and Stevenson paced the UNCG offense with eight points apiece in the first 20 minutes while Stevenson racked up a team-best three rebounds and two steals. Florida State shot 60 percent in the half, knocking down 21 of 35 attempts from the floor, and limited the Spartans to just 31 percent (10-for-32). FSU also won the rebounding battle 24-16 and scored 22 points off of 13 UNCG turnovers. The Seminoles owned the paint, netting 34 of their 48 points down low.
Florida State scored the first six points of the second half to complete a 22-0 run which spanned almost eight minutes and take a 54-26 lead. Stevenson popped in the first two UNCG points at the 17:16 mark on a layup to make the score 54-28 before two free throws by sophomore guard Lucy Mason (Stone Mountain, Ga./Chamblee Charter) pulled the Spartans to within 58-32.
The Seminoles were able to salt the game away down the stretch, as a tip in by Savage made the score 73-43 with 8:05 left and marked the closest the Spartans would come the rest of the way.
The Blue and Gold returns to action Monday, Nov. 11 when the Spartans travel to Gardner-Webb. Tipoff at Paul Porter Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m.