CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Despite missing two of its top five scorers, the No. 19/20-ranked Florida State women’s basketball team cruised past Miami on Sunday, coming away with a 93-78 road victory at the BankUnited Center.
The Seminoles led by as many as 17 points in the first half and held the Hurricanes to just one field goal during a 10-minute, 30-second span where they outscored their hosts 21-3 despite playing without senior forwards Chasity Clayton (11.1 points per game) and Chelsea Davis (13.7 ppg).
FSU notched its second-best shooting performance of the season (54 percent), put six players in double figures and tallied its most points in an ACC game this season.
“That was a character game for us,” head coach Sue Semrau said. “Obviously not having the presence in the post we’re used to having, people had to step up in big ways. And to have a team that comes out and plays like we did and has six kids score in double figures … I can’t say enough.”
Senior guard Leo Rodriguez scored 21 points and added seven assists, while fellow senior guard Alexa Deluzio notched 20 points.
Junior point guard Cheetah Delgado made her fourth start and scored a career-high 14 points to go along with seven assists and four steals in a career-high 36 minutes.
Redshirt sophomore forward Lauren Coleman also nabbed a career high in scoring, putting in 11 points in a career high 25 minutes.
Junior forward Natasha Howard scored 15 points and senior guard Morgan Toles put up 10 points.
The Seminoles (19-4, 9-3 in the ACC) completed the season sweep of the Hurricanes (16-8, 7-6) and registered an undefeated mark versus the “Sunshine State” for the first time since 2007-08. FSU beat Miami twice and Florida and Stetson each once this season.
Miami cut FSU’s lead to just 4, two minutes into the second half, but FSU responded with six straight points.
Back-to-back three-pointers from Deluzio gave the Noles a 61-47 advantage.
Delgado put FSU in front by 17 with 5:41 remaining. After making a pair of steals that led to FSU scores, she single-handedly broke the Miami press for a layup that put FSU up 76-59. Delgado also hit 4-of-6 from the line in the game’s final minutes.
“We made big plays and I’m proud of everyone,” Semrau said. “Cheetah stepped up and hit some big free throws – had a 7-to-1 assist-to-turnover performance. I can’t say enough about what everyone did today. I’m really proud of all of them.”
The Hurricanes took a 7-4 lead when Suriya McGuire made a layup one-minute and 34 seconds into the game.
The Seminoles quickly evaporated that lead, however, sprinting to a commanding lead by using a 21-3 run and holding Miami to just one field goal during a 10:30 span.
Led by the stellar play of Rodriguez and Delgado, Florida State had two 10-0 runs in the first 12 minutes of the game.
The pair of playmakers forced turnovers and led FSU’s fastbreak offense.
Rodriguez scored 12 points in the first half. She spearheaded the first 10-0 run by the Seminoles by recording three steals, dishing three assists and making her first two shot attempts in the game’s first six minutes.
Her layup at the 16:45 mark ignited the double-figure run and her thread-the-needle pass to a cutting Howard for an easy layup put FSU in front 14-7.
A few minutes later, a jumper by Rodriguez in transition put FSU in front 20-10.
Delgado’s loft pass to Howard on an in-bounds play led to an easy bucket and put the Seminoles in front 29-14. On their next possession, Rodriguez bulled her way into the paint for layup that gave FSU a 17-point advantage with 6:14 remaining before the break.
Miami made a small run at the end of the first half and cut its deficit to 9 at the break, 39-31, when reserve Caprice Dennis buried a three.
Florida State’s next win will mark the seventh 20-win season for head coach Sue Semrau and the 11th 20-win season in FSU history.
The Seminoles host a pair of games next week, facing NC State at 7 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Thursday in their own “Paint It Pink” game before welcoming North Carolina on Sunday at 2 p.m.