Winston-Salem, NC - A hot start by Wake Forest could not be overcome on Sunday afternoon as No. 23/25 Florida State women’s basketball fell to the Demon Deacons, 78-54, at the LJVM Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The Seminoles (15-6, 3-5) faced their largest halftime deficit trailing 49-27 and could not climb out of the early hole. The Demon Deacons (12-10, 3-6) exploited the gaps in Florida State’s zone defense and were able to work the ball inside. Wake Forest guard Chelsea Douglas scored 32 points against the ‘Noles, a season high by an opposing player.
ACC leading scorer Dearica Hamby of Wake Forest added 22 points and 10 boards, while the Demon Deacons shot 28-of-56 from the field in being the first opponent to make half their shots vs. FSU. Florida State senior forward Natasha Howard recorded her 16th career 20-point effort, finishing with 22 points and six rebounds. Howard moved into fifth-place on the FSU career points list with 1,518, tying Jacinta Monroe and passing three other Seminoles.
Howard also tied her career high with five blocks, the sixth time in her career she has reached that number.
Florida State was beaten on the glass on Sunday, as Wake Forest finished with a 46-37 edge. Offensively, the ‘Noles couldn’t get their long range shooting going, hitting just 1-of-16 from beyond the arc.
FSU has now lost three straight against Wake Forest but owns a 23-17 all-time record vs. the Demon Deacons.
Trying to find some energy in the second half, Howard made a beautiful coast-to-coast drive to the hoop to give the ‘Noles some life as they trailed 53-34 early in the second half. However, Wake Forest responded with a few buckets that kept the second-half lead at 20 points or above for the most part.
FSU experienced its largest halftime deficit of the season and its most points allowed, trailing 49-27 at the break. Douglas had the hot hand for the Demon Deacons, shooting 7-of-11 for 19 points in the first half. Wake Forest also benefited from 11 fast-break points, as FSU was allowing just 4.5 points on the break entering the game.
Wake finished the game with 17 points in transition, while FSU added 16 on the break. FSU’s 16 transition points were tied for its most this season.
Howard posted her 82nd career double-figure game in the first half, leading FSU with 10 points while Morgan Jones added eight. The ‘Noles did a good job forcing 10 first-half turnovers by Wake Forest, but FSU committed 14 of its own that the Demon Deacons capitalized on with 12 points of their own. The ‘Noles made just four turnovers in the second half.
The ‘Noles were hurt early by a few turnovers and some long-range shooting from the Demon Deacons, trailing 14-4 with 15:46 left in the first half. Wake Forest canned four of its first seven field-goal attempts, led by a couple 3-pointers from Douglas to highlight their strong start.
Florida State had its transition opportunities but were not able to convert its chances as it trailed 23-8 with 11:31 remaining in the first half. Wake Forest enjoyed a 12-0 run and capitalized on FSU getting to its spots late in its 2-3 zone. Douglas drained her first four shots to lead the Demon Deacons with 11 points. FSU got a steal and breakaway score from Howard for what was her 1,500th career point, the ninth Seminole to score that many.
FSU trailed 35-14 with 7:23 remaining in the first half, as Wake Forest continued to exploit high-low action against the Noles’ zone defense. The Demon Deacons held a 15-9 advantage in total rebounds and generated a 16-8 edge in points in the paint, getting manageable looks inside.
Florida State begins a two-game home stint when it faces No. 2 Notre Dame on Thursday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. on ESPN3. FSU follows with a Sunday contest hosting Boston College on ‘Paint it Pink’ day at 1 p.m., with that game scheduled to air on the league’s regional sports networks.
For more information on Florida State women's basketball, follow the Seminoles on Twitter at @FSU_WBasketball and like their official Facebook page (Facebook.com/FSUWomensBasketball).