Seniors Lead The Way in Win Over Pitt
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida State coach Sue Semrau was worried before Thursday night's game against Pittsburgh that her team might be looking ahead to Sunday's showdown at Notre Dame.
Those worries lasted less than three minutes.
After the Panthers scored the first four points, the eighth-ranked Seminoles scored the next 10 and kept extending their lead from there as they rolled to a 79-48 victory.
Florida State, which led by as many 34 late in the fourth quarter, goes into Sunday's regular-season finale against needing a win against the fifth-ranked Fighting Irish to secure a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title and the top seed in the ACC Tournament.
"They did a great job of limiting distractions. They stayed focus and were able to jump out to the lead early," Semrau said. "Now we have to go and have that same type of focus on Sunday."
All five starters scored in double figures for Florida State (25-4, 13-2). Brittany Brown and Chatrice White led the way with 13 points each while Leticia Romero and Imani Wright both scored 12. Ivey Slaughter had 10.
"They are too physical of a team and we were unable to match up," Pitt coach Susie McConnell-Serio said. "They made plays. For a young team you need to have success early and we didn't."
Brenna Wise scored 23 points for the Panthers (13-15, 4-11). They have dropped seven of eight.
POST-GAME NOTES FROM FSU SPORTS INFORMATION:
• Florida State’s senior five-member senior class of Gabby Bevillard, Brittany Brown, Kai James, Leticia Romero and Ivey Slaughter were honored prior to the game. Each received a framed jersey, including Bevillard who was presented with a framed pink jersey from her memorable performance two years ago.
• The senior class improves to 103-29 (.780), and also recorded its 50th win against ACC competition.
• The senior-led win gives the class an undefeated record against four ACC opponents: Pitt (4-0), Clemson (7-0), Boston College (4-0) and Virginia Tech (5-0).
• FSU’s win coupled with league leader Notre Dame’s 82-45 win over Boston College sets up a meeting between the two teams on Sunday at 1 p.m. on ESPN2 in Notre Dame, Ind.
• Slaughter’s 10 points marks her 66th double-figure game of her career. Brown’s 13 is her 52nd double-figure game of her career.
• Romero finished 4-of-7 from beyond the arc, her most 3-point field goals in a game since also going 4-of-7 vs. NC State on Jan. 2.
• Brown finished with five assists compared to just three turnovers, her 64th game with a positive A/T ratio and her 21st this season.
• Redshirt junior Imani Wright added 12 points. She became the sixth Seminole to record 60 or more 3-point field goals made in a season.
• FSU’s nine 3-point field goals made is an ACC high.
• The Seminoles assisted on 20 of their 26 made field goals (76.9 percent).
• FSU is now 13-2 in ACC play, its third straight year of reaching at least 13 conference wins (14-2 in 2014-15; 13-3 in 2015-16).
• The Seminoles have now won five consecutive Senior Games and 10 of their past 13.
• FSU’s 25 regular-season wins is tied for the second-most in school history. The record is 27 regular-season victories in 2014-15.
HEAD COACH SUE SEMRAU
“I think first of all I would like to thank this senior class. It’s pretty impressive to have over 100 wins in your career. It’s fun to know that when these girls started, we were scratching and clawing for 20 wins and now to be sitting at 25 and have a chance to play for the ACC Regular Season Championship on Sunday…I really like their team win, all five starters were in double figures and it was a fun game to coach and a fun game to watch.”
How fitting was it that the seniors led you to this victory?
“I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about what Gabby Bevillard’s role has been on this whole thing. She didn’t score any points, but boy does she score points every day in this program. The five seniors are special players and special people and together they make a really strong class.”
How important is the upcoming Notre Dame game?
“I thought one thing we did a really good job on tonight was limiting the distractions, I knew that I was probably going to cry, and I was able to hold it together. Once I held it together, I knew they could hold it together and I know if I could do it they could do it, and they did. We stayed really focused and we jumped out early, the same thing is going to be true at Notre Dame. There is going to be a lot of distractions and a lot of green in that building, and we have to go and stay focused on our game plan and be who we are and what we need to do.”
What is the impact of Kai James on the whole team?
“She is extremely selfless. She really was frustrated with herself that maybe she wasn’t progressing the way she thought she was supposed to progress. She did nothing but continue to work and continue to give to this team. That really speaks a lot to her perseverance and I know she is a deep thinker and she feeds into what Brittany and Ivey and Leti do.
What is Shakalya Thomas’s status as of today?
“We will see how it progresses. We haven’t done anything with contact and we want to make sure she is ready and prepared for that. Same with Nausia Woolfolk, she is cleared so to have a full roster again will really help us down the stretch.”
How great has Leti’s career been here as she hit 100 career 3-pointers tonight?
“It was really fun to have her family from Spain here tonight. All I could say was hola and como esta? They don’t speak English, so that was really fun and for her to get to play in front of them for the first time ever was pretty special. For her to break that record and play at such a tremendous level is very fitting.”
SENIORS BRITTANY BROWN AND IVEY SLAUGHTER
Was it important to the senior class to come out and play well on their senior night?
Ivey: “I don’t think it was hard. I think we were more juiced than anything to come out and play as well as we can for this team and for the fans.”
Brittany: “Same thing. This is a very special group and this is a very special team. I just had fun with our upperclassmen and underclassmen.”
Brittany, how fun has this ride been for you so far?
“Very fun. It just shows how much our band and our fans mean to us. That song that they played at the end, that’s one of my favorites and I asked if they could play that because I missed the fight song with the team. That just shows the family atmosphere that we’re about here at Florida State. From the fans to the basketball team so that’s what it means to me.”
Ivey, what does it mean to be the most winning class at FSU under coach Sue and what’s the legacy you guys have left?
“First and foremost, I just want to thank coach Sue for everything that she’s done for us. She recruited us and if she didn’t we wouldn’t have had the chance to be here and be the winningest class at FSU. I think it’s a tremendous feeling. Coming in we knew that we could be a great class and we knew that we had to play hard. I think that translates to us being the winningest class.”
What are you guys going to be taking with you when you move on from your FSU careers?
Ivey: “For me I think mental toughness and growing into a young woman. Coach Sue is big on us getting out into the community and positively impacting people’s lives. I think that’s big on just connection, communication and going onto the next level. I thinks that’s really what I will take away, and sisterhood.”
Brittany: “Mine is definitely family, that’s always what I’ve been big on just seeing here from the team to other sports programs here. I think buying into a role and playing into a role, all of us are amazing athletes. Once you come out of high school you’re that big-time player but when you come here there’s so many like we said, Kai, Ama, Gabby, all of those people that have sacrificed and have different stories. Just being there for one another and accepting that role and coming together as one.”
Brittany, did you ever think coming here as a freshman that in just four years later you could run for mayor because you’re so recognizable not only among students but also in the community?
“First I’d like to thank my parents for raising me to be that way. I credit my teammates and coach Sue because that’s just who we are. I think coach Sue does a great job at recruiting the same type of people who are big on family and love one another and love to impact people on the community. Nothing is forced. I just think that’s something I’ve been taught and I pride myself on. I’m thankful for the opportunity.”