Whatever adjustments Shakayla Thomas has made at halftime the past two games, it has ended up working for Florida State.
The junior forward scored 18 of her season-high 24 points during the second half and had a couple big plays during a key fourth-period run to help No. 7 Florida State beat No. 9 Louisville 72-65 on Thursday night.
"I thought she worked really hard," said Florida State coach Sue Semrau of Thomas. "In the first half we didn't get it much inside. Credit the guards who set the screens to get her open."
Thomas has three 20-point games this season. In last Sunday's win against No. 12 Duke , 16 of her 22 points came after halftime.
"I don't know what it is. I guess it is more of the flow of the game," Thomas said about her second-half performances the past two games.
The Cardinals led 63-60 with 3:54 remaining before the Seminoles scored nine straight points to take control. Thomas scored the first four points during the run, including a pair of free throws with 2:12 remaining to give Florida State (16-2, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) the lead for good.
Imani Wright, who added 13 points, then hit a 3-pointer to put the Seminoles up by more than a possession with 1:39 left. Louisville, which shot 22 of 58 from the field, was held without a field goal over the final 3:54.
"When you give up nine straight points that is normally a backbreaker," Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. "We handled some adversity but we've got to be able to put games away."
Asia Durr led the Cardinals (15-4, 3-2) with 21 points, including 10 in the third period as it rallied back from a 32-25 halftime deficit. Durr had four points during a 9-0 run as they took a four-point lead (59-55) midway through the fourth. Mariya Moore added 15.
POST-GAME NOTES BY FSU SPORTS INFORMATION:
• Florida State’s key sequence in the game was the 9-0 run that lasted 2 minutes and 53 seconds late in the fourth. In that run, Shakayla Thomas scored four points and Leticia Romero capped it with two free throws with one minute left.
• Senior guard Brittany Brown became Florida State’s all-time steals leader with 7:58 left in the second period, recording her 276th career steal from Louisville’s Myisha Hines-Allen. Brown passed Florida State standout Alicia “Ice” Gladden (2003-07), who had 275. Brown now has 279 career steals.
• With 38 seconds left in the first period, Brown’s 3-point field goal allowed her to join the 1,000-point club at FSU, the 34th in Seminole history.
• Brown had another stat-stuffing performance, recording 12 points, a season-high 11 rebounds, seven assists and a season-high tying six steals.
• Thomas poured in a season-high 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 18 on 7-of-10 shooting in the second half. It is Thomas’ 11th career 20-point game, her third of the season and her second straight. It is the first time in Thomas’ career she has posted back-to-back 20-point games.
• FSU totaled four double-figure scorers, including Thomas (24), redshirt junior guard Imani Wright (14), Brown (12) and senior point guard Leticia Romero (11).
• Wright has made two or more 3-point field goals in six of her last seven games, including 10 over her last three games.
• For the third consecutive game, junior center Chatrice White recorded four blocked shots.
• FSU out-rebounded Louisville for the 16th time in 18 games this season, holding a close 37-34 edge.
• After holding Duke All-ACC performer Rebecca Greenwell without a field goal on Sunday, FSU did a good job defensively vs. reigning and preseason ACC Player of the Year Myisha Hines-Allen. The junior forward recorded just four points (1-of-9) in 19 minutes, tied for her third-lowest total this season.
• Florida State and Louisville’s Top 10 matchup was the first of its kind in the Donald L. Tucker Center for women’s basketball.
• FSU improves to 5-1 this season against AP Top 25 teams. Its five AP Top 25 wins is tied for the second most nationally with Baylor and trails only UConn (8).
• Florida State is now 4-1 all-time in AP Top 10 matchups. Overall, the Seminoles own 13 AP Top 10 wins after Thursday’s victory over No. 9 Louisville.