Charlottesville, VA - A season-best 3-point shooting barrage from Virginia allowed it to break past No. 17/18 Florida State women’s basketball, defeating FSU 85-68, on Sunday afternoon at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va.
The Cavaliers (9-9, 2-3) connected on 10 3-pointers to create a 16-point halftime lead that the Seminoles (14-4, 2-3) could never recover from. When the ‘Noles tried to claw back in the second half, cutting their deficit to just above single-digits, UVA found ways to get big offensive rebounds and second-chance points to doom any chance of a comeback.
The loss for the ‘Noles puts them at a three-game losing streak and a four-game losing streak against Virginia. The Cavaliers were led by the first-half shooting of guard Faith Randolph, who scored 20 of her 26 points in the first half. For Florida State, sophomore Emiah Bingley gave FSU a major spark off the bench with a career-high 21 points, including five 3-pointers that is the most by a ‘Nole this season.
Randolph’s 26 points scored was the most scored against FSU this season. UVA’s 85 points scored were also the most scored against FSU this year. The Cavaliers took advantage of 26 points off what were a season-high 27 turnovers committed by Florida State, using its pressure defense and some trapping to defeat FSU.
FSU was outscored in the paint for just the fourth time this season, but senior Natasha Howard did her best with 15 points and eight rebounds. It was Howard’s 14th game hitting 50 percent or better from the field as she shot 6-of-9. Freshman Kai James added 11 points off the bench, helping FSU outscore UVA 35-33.
The ‘Noles drained six second-half 3-pointers and had seven for the game, their second-most this season and their most since also having seven at Miami-Ohio on Dec. 1. Hurting FSU was generating just six steals and forcing only 10 turnovers, way below its season averages.
UVA’s ninth 3-pointer of the game, this one from Breyana Mason, extended the Cavaliers’ lead to 57-38 with 15:19 left, their largest lead at the time. FSU started off the second half cutting its deficit to 11 points with five consecutive points on a 3-pointer from Brittney Brown and a finish from Howard, but UVA countered with some hustle plays that led to second-chance points to help it to a 19-point lead.
Bingley had a couple good sequences where she buried some 3’s, including her third that had FSU trailing 60-45 with 11:47 left. Bingley’s second triple of the day gave her a career-high 10 points at the time, as her presence on the offensive end allowed Florida State to stay in the ballgame.
Bingley hit her fourth trey to help the ‘Noles cut the deficit to 69-55 with 7:57 remaining, with her fourth 3-ball tying Morgan Jones for a season-high by a Seminole this season. Jones helped FSU to a quick 8-2 run with a few free throws to keep the ‘Noles in the game.
UVA punctuated its day with another big hustle play, getting to a loose ball scrum on the ground and finishing with an old-fashioned three-point play by Tiffany Suarez to put the Hoos ahead 74-55 with 7:17 left in the game.
The first half was a rough one for the ‘Noles, trailing 47-31. It was FSU’s most points allowed in the first half this season as well as their largest halftime deficit. The Cavaliers were consistent from beyond the arc and like NC State, worked the ball around fast enough to free up open shots. UVA shot a blistering 8-of-11 from 3-point range, led by Randolph’s 20 points off the bench.
Howard led Florida State with 10 points at halftime on 4-of-4 shooting, and FSU shot 39 percent (11-of-28) while UVA was 18-of-38 overall. The Wahoos’ pressure defense also forced FSU into 13 turnovers in the first half, including 10 halfway through, and they capitalized with 14 points off those turnovers. The ‘Noles outrebounded the Cavaliers, 22-15, in the first half, but the Wahoos got second chances in key moments including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the corner by Randolph to give FSU the 16-point deficit.
The Cavaliers were hot early from long range, going 4-of-6 through the first nine minutes of the game to take a 25-11 lead with 10:40 left in the first half. Florida State’s Emiah Bingley tried to give the ‘Noles some quickness off the bench and get to the rim, aiding FSU with four early points. FSU hurt itself by committing nine quick turnovers that UVA converted into 12 points to start the game with a big lead.
Ivey Slaughter and Howard started to get after it defensively, drawing a few charges to leave Virginia with empty possessions. An offensive rebound and bucket by Brown cut the FSU deficit to 28-15 with 7:45 left in the first half, helping get past UVA’s early 9-0 run to start the game.
Florida State returns home for a two-game stint starting with No. 3/3 Duke on Thursday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. FSU follows with another home matchup with Virginia Tech on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. Both games will be streamed on ESPN3.com and through the WatchESPN app.
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).