TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Whatever adjustments Shakayla Thomas has made at halftime the past two games, it has ended up working for Florida State.
The junior forward scored 18 of her season-high 24 points during the second half and had a couple big plays during a key fourth-period run to help No. 7 Florida State beat No. 9 Louisville 72-65 on Thursday night.
“I thought she worked really hard,” said Florida State coach Sue Semrau of Thomas. “In the first half we didn’t get it much inside. Credit the guards who set the screens to get her open.”
Thomas has three 20-point games this season. In last Sunday’s win against No. 12 Duke , 16 of her 22 points came after halftime.
“I don’t know what it is. I guess it is more of the flow of the game,” Thomas said about her second-half performances the past two games.
The Cardinals led 63-60 with 3:54 remaining before the Seminoles scored nine straight points to take control. Thomas scored the first four points during the run, including a pair of free throws with 2:12 remaining to give Florida State (16-2, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) the lead for good.
Imani Wright, who added 13 points, then hit a 3-pointer to put the Seminoles up by more than a possession with 1:39 left. Louisville, which shot 22 of 58 from the field, was held without a field goal over the final 3:54.
“When you give up nine straight points that is normally a backbreaker,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. “We handled some adversity but we’ve got to be able to put games away.”
Asia Durr led the Cardinals (15-4, 3-2) with 21 points, including 10 in the third period as it rallied back from a 32-25 halftime deficit. Durr had four points during a 9-0 run as they took a four-point lead (59-55) midway through the fourth. Mariya Moore added 15.
Louisville: The Cardinals came in with just eight turnovers in their last 65 minutes , but tied a season high with 19. Fourteen of the turnovers were the result of Florida State steals.
Florida State: The Seminoles have five wins over Top 25 teams, which are tied with No. 2 Baylor for second-most in the nation. Top-ranked UConn, which beat Florida State 78-76 on Nov. 14, leads the nation with eight wins over ranked teams.
Brittany Brown achieved two milestones in a four-minute span. The senior guard became the 34th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points with a 3-pointer with 38 seconds left in the first period. She then became the school’s career steals leader with 7:58 remaining in the second quarter, surpassing Alicia Gladden’s mark of 275. Brown finished with 12 points and six steals.
Louisville’s Myisha Hines-Allen came in averaging 20.0 points and 12.6 rebounds over her past five games, but the junior was 1 of 9 from the field and finished with four points along with eight rebounds.
“We need our big three — Durr, Moore and Hines-Allen — to all play well at the same time and that hasn’t happened yet in a game for us this season, which is a big problem,” Walz said.
SHE SAID IT
“This was a big-time basketball game. A top-10 matchup that wasn’t going to be a pushover either way. You have to match mentality and toughness and this was a team that did that tonight,” Semrau on the win.
Louisville: The Cardinals continue their run against ranked Florida teams, hosting No. 14 Miami on Sunday.
Florida State: The Seminoles travel to Clemson on Sunday, starting a stretch where four of their next five games are on the road.
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