Leticia Romero’s career night helped Florida State beat its first ranked opponent of the season.
Romero scored a career-high 25 points, and the No. 10 Seminoles used a big first-quarter run to pull away from No. 25 Gonzaga for an 87-69 victory Friday in the Paradise Jam tournament in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Imani Wright added 15 points, Shakayla Thomas 14 and Brittany Brown 11 for the Seminoles (5-1), who led 27-14 after the first quarter and went up by as many as 19 points in the fourth period.
“It’s a Top 25 opponent, that’s always a big deal,” Florida State coach Sue Semrau said. “We just disrupted a lot of what they were trying to do. I hope that gives us a lot of confidence. We still didn’t quite play our best, so knowing that gives me hope that we can continue to get better.”
Jill Barta scored 20 points for the Bulldogs (3-2), who were forced into 21 turnovers by Florida State’s defense. That gave the Seminoles a 24-17 advantage in points off turnovers.
“That’s the second night in a row that we’ve struggled to defend the 3 and the 2,” Gonzaga coach Lisa Fortier said. “And we didn’t shoot particularly well ourselves. We didn’t handle their pressure well. It’s tough to overcome those things against really good teams.”
Wright scored 10 points during Florida State’s 17-6 run to open the game, which gave the Seminoles their first double-digit lead. She kicked off the run with a layup, then ended it with back-to-back 3-pointers at the 5:10 mark.
Florida State took its biggest lead with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, when Nausia Woolfolk hit a reverse layup to put the Seminoles ahead 87-66 with 37 seconds left.
Florida State notched its first win over a Top 25 team since beating then-No. 18 Texas A&M on March 21, 2016, in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Just days after cracking the Top 25 for the first time in two years, Gonzaga has suffered back-to-back losses for the first time since dropping three straight between Feb. 18-25, 2016.
Florida State wraps up play at the tournament on Saturday against Michigan. Gonzaga will face Winthrop in its final tournament game Saturday.
Washington State 79, Nebraska 64: Louise Brown scored 14 of her 16 points in the first half and the Cougars (4-1) built a 30-point lead and defeated the Cornhuskers (3-2) to open the South Point Shootout in Las Vegas.
WSU led 68-38 after Pinelopi Pavopoulou’s jumper with just less than 5 minutes left in the third quarter. Nebraska trimmed WSU’s lead to 11 points with 7:12 left after a 10-0 run, but the Cougars stopped the comeback.
The Cougars scored 53 points in the first half. WSU finished 8 of 20 on 3-pointers.
Northern Iowa 76, Idaho 74: Freshman Megan Maahs’ layup with 2 seconds left gave the Panthers (3-2) a win over the Vandals (2-2) at the Grand Canyon Thanksgiving Tournament in Phoenix.
Idaho had a 9-0 run in the third quarter and entered the fourth quarter with a 54-50 lead. The Vandals led 61-56 after Agueda Trujillo’s layup with 6:58 left, but the Panthers tied the game at 65 on Mikaela Morgan’s 3-pointer with 4 minutes left.
Idaho attempted just six 3-pointers, its lowest total in five years. Mikayla Ferenz led three Vandals in double figures with 18 points.
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