|FSU Closes Wire-to-Wire Win Strong|
|#10 Florida State 69, Duke 53
|#10 FSU and Adut Bulgak (right) defeated Duke and Kyra Lambert (left) 69-53 in Cameron on the strength of 35 bench points and a +11 advantage on the boards. The Blue Devils didn't help their cause with 10 missed free throws and 22 turnovers in the game.
DWHoops Photo by Orin Day
CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM -- Florida State lead wire-to-wire and won all four quarters en route to a 69-53 win in Cameron. Duke had a number of different opportunities to pull close but could never get closer than seven points in the second half, as FSU edged Duke in virtually every game category. That includes rebounds, field goal percentage, turnovers, points in the paint, second chance points and most importantly, bench points. The game itself was a slog to watch and certainly looked like a slog to play, as 25 first-half fouls and 24 first-half turnovers made for some seriously ugly basketball. This was a night where the #10 team in the country was certainly not at their best and could have been beaten with a sharp Duke performance, but the Devils did not take advantage.
Like the Miami game that had a tight early start, Duke was behind by just 8-6 six minutes into the first quarter. Angela Salvadores had 2 foul shots and a steal and layup after FSU hit some short pull-up jumpers. Then the Noles went on a 7-0 run thanks to a short jumper and some free throws. Rebecca Greenwell had her best sequence of the game, getting a stickback plus the foul and then scoring on a nifty up-and-under. Duke was within 15-11 and survived an FSU team that usually buries opponents in the first quarter. The Devils squandered that momentum as FSU went on a 7-0 run as they missed two layups and a foul shot. Meanwhile, FSU hit their first trey of the game.
Just when it looked like FSU might run away with the game, Erin Mathias hit a foul shot and Crystal Primm hit a twisting jumper. FSU kept Duke at arm's length but wasn't quite able to put them away yet again, as a beautiful Salvadores-to-Faith Suggs give-and-go led to a three point play. FSU post Kai James scored after nearly five scoreless minutes, but Lynee' Belton (back in the game after twisting a knee in the early going) flung a shot at the basket and got it to drop. Duke could have been closer, but their defense was tough and they stayed close in every statistical category.
Once again, it looked like FSU was going to put Duke away to begin the third quarter, as they blasted out to an 8-0 run. That included back-to-back threes, including one after a Duke turnover. Back came Duke with a tough long jumper by Salvadores and a short jumper by Henson. Duke kept coming with a beautiful up-and-under by Henson and two foul shots by Chidom to make it 37-28. Two Duke turnovers fueled five straight points by the Noles, but Duke crept back in with two Primm foul shots and a Salvadores drive. That made it 42-32, but Salvadores' Spain teammate Maria Conde nailed a trey. Salvadores came right back at her and stuck a three at the buzzer to keep the margin at ten. Going into the fourth quarter, Duke had a real chance to win.
Henson found Chidom on a high-low, but then came a horrible sequence for Duke. The Devils turned the ball over twice when they had a chance to cut the lead to six. Duke got a stop but Chidom missed a layup and fouled James. Duke failed to sub her out in a timely manner (the timing was reduced from one minute to fifteen seconds, a new rule this year), which led to a team technical foul. FSU turned that into four points (they missed 2 free throws) and a 12 point lead. Lambert drove for a layup plus the foul but missed the freebie, but Henson got the board and found Greenwell for a trey. Now within 42-35, Duke was back where they were at the end of the first half.
This is when FSU started to pound the ball inside. After Lambert scored on a drive, James posted up and scored. Duke missed and James cleaned up an FSU miss for a score. Lambert drove and ripped off a crazy behind-the-back pass to Mathias for a score, but Conde faked Mathias out on a drive. Another FSU score made it 59-46, but Primm scored on a drive and Henson hit a three to make it 59-51 with 1:32 to go. From there, FSU made their free throws and Duke only managed two points the rest of the way, making that 69-53 a bit deceptive. Salvadores was the only Devil in double figures, while FSU had three bench players in double digits as James had 11 (and 8 boards), Conde had 10, and super sub Shakayla Thomas had 14 (many of them at the end). FSU won their tenth ACC game in a row (a program record) while Duke fell to 6-6 in the league and still in seventh place.
DWHoops Nosh Player of the Game:
Angela Salvadores, Duke. After a tough first half, Angela exploded for 9 points in the second half for her game-high 13, including a trey at the third quarter buzzer. It was an interesting matchup as FSU's Maria Conde, who came off the Noles bench for 10 points, was Angela's running mate on the Spanish U19 national team.
Five Fast Observations About Duke-Florida State
Presented in memory of Jim Sabiston
- Pack It In. Duke clogged the lane and dared FSU to shoot threes that Duke actually did a fairly decent job of contesting. The result was that FSU didn't get decent post-ups and had just eight layup attempts. The Noles countered by driving and pulling up for jumpers, which was effective both early and late in the game. When FSU hit some long-range shots, it made things harder for Duke to come back.
- Disconnected. Duke had 20 field goals but just six assists. The guards in general did a poor job of looking for each other and relied far too much on individual play. Salvadores was looked off by Primm on one play, and it wasn't the only time she got ignored. Lambert tried to make some hero plays instead of making smart plays.
- Have We Met? Duke's makeshift lineup late in the first half included Crystal Primm, Erin Mathias, Kyra Lambert, Angela Salvadores and Faith Suggs. With starters Henson, Greenwell and Chidom on the bench, Duke actually held it together and prevented FSU from running away with the game. Duke played as hard and smart during this period as they at any time in the game.
- Pounded Down The Stretch. FSU struggled to get post-ups for most of the game, as Duke packed the paint and dared FSU to shoot. It wasn't until 6-4 Kai James came in and dominated Duke in the post with nine points and five rebounds in the fourth quarter that the Noles were able to get some real separation. FSU's rebounding is what prevented the game from going down to the wire.
- Missed Opportunities. Duke missed 10 free throws in a game where they were within ten points almost the entire way. They missed seven layups in the first half, missed four more shots in the paint and missed five other jumpers inside the three point line. With Duke down seven at the half, simply making three or four of those field goals would have put Duke ahead and given them a great deal of confidence.
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