Florida State escapes upset bid, outlasts Bucknell, 70-67

Published: Mar. 22, 2019 at 5:37 PM EDT
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By: Fletcher Keel | WCTV Eyewitness Sports

March 22, 2019

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WCTV) -- Florida State, despite being outshot in all three categories, escaped their first round matchup with the Bucknell Bison, 70-67, to move onto the second round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament.

FSU won their 16th-straight first round game in the tournament while Bucknell fell to 0-4 in tournament games.

The Seminoles and Bison were locked in a game that saw 10 lead changes but FSU was able to clamp down on defense when it mattered most to keep their season alive.

Valencia Myers hit a layup with 4:29 to play to tie the game at 60-60 and Nicki Ekhomu was fouled on a layup and hit the and-one shot to give FSU a 60-63 lead, one they'd never relinquish.

From there, FSU allowed just one Bucknell field goal, an Abby Kapp layup with 17 seconds to play, (the Bison's only field goal inside the final 3:41 of game play), and forced a missed three in the game's final seconds to escape with the win.

The first quarter started slowly for FSU as the Noles scored the first bucket of the game but immediately gave up a 7-0 run to the Bison to trail 7-2 early.

FSU tightened up and used a 6-0 run of their own to pull within 15-12 and outscored the Bison 12-4 in the final 10 minutes but trailed 19-18 after one quarter.

The Seminoles started the second quarter red hot, netting the first seven points, but Bucknell came back with a seven-point run of their own in a back and forth second quarter that ended with a 32-30 advantage for Florida State at halftime.

The third quarter went the same way the previous two had, with the two sides swapping scoring runs but neither team taking a lead larger than five.

Despite the loss, the Bison outscored the Noles from the floor (43.1 percent to 41.3 percent), from three (34.8 percent to 21.4 percent) and from the free throw line (88.2 percent to 75 percent).

FSU outrebounded the Bison, 40-23, and had four players finish with double figure scoring, led by 17 points from Kiah Gillespie, who also added 11 rebounds, along with 15 points from Ekhomu, Nausia Woolforlk and Myers.

Kate Walker led the scoring for all players with 18 from Bucknell, while Kaitlyn Slagus (13) and Ellie Mack (12) finished with double figure point totals.

No Bison player finished with more than five total rebounds.

The Noles will face the fourth-seeded South Carolina Gamecocks on Sunday in the second round. No start time has been announced.