ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) — 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.
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.”(backslash)
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: Has 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.
Gonzaga: Just days after cracking the Top 25 for the first time in two years, has now suffered back-to-back losses for the first time since dropping three straight between Feb. 18-25, 2016.
Florida State: Wraps up play in the Paradise Jam on Saturday against Michigan.
Gonzaga: Faces Winthrop in its final tournament game Saturday.
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