FSU Women’s Basketball Team Loses Heartbreaker to SC in Elite 8


The FSU women’s basketball team entered its their second Elite 8 appearance with a desire to redeem themselves after their first Elite 8 appearance, a 90-50 loss to UConn in 2010, and they did just that as the ‘Noles led most of the way before giving up the lead late and losing to South Carolina 80-74 in a closely contested game that saw multiple lead changes and ties in the final minutes of action.

Early in the game, the tempo was fast and that played into how FSU wanted to play the game, jumping out to an early lead that was as large as 10 at 31-21 with 4:39 left in the first half. However, the tempo was slowed down as the game went on, both by South Carolina and by the referees, who called 44 total fouls in the 40 minutes of game, with FSU having 26 fouls called against them and SC being whistled 18 times. However, that foul margin was larger until a late run of fouls on SC. The Gamecocks were in the double bonus before the Seminoles were in the single bonus in both halves. South Carolina had free throw struggles throughout the game but were able to hit them when they were necessary, as they made their last 9 FTs to preserve the win and advance them to their 1st Final 4 in program history.

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FSU was able to outrebound SC, as they have with nearly every opponent this season, but could not get the one key rebound that they really needed. With 32 seconds left and FSU trailing 72-69, the ‘Noles got the stop they needed when SEC Player of the Year Britney Mitchell missed a mid-range jumper. However, no Seminole players could converge on the ball and Mitchell rebounded her own miss, forced a foul, and hit free throws, which helped ice the game. Despite the rebounding advantage for FSU, they were dominated in the paint on both sides of the ball. SC hit 61.2% of their shots for the game, the highest field goal percentage that FSU has allowed all season. Additionally, FSU was limited in what they could do in the paint offensively, as SC had 5 blocks and limited Adut Bulgak to just 2 interior baskets.

Leticia Romero, who many believed would need to have a big game for FSU to compete, entered with her dominant hand heavily wrapped and it seemed to affect her play as she hit just 2 of her first 10 shots before finishing 5/14 with 13 points, leading FSU in scoring. Romero also added 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Brittany Brown finished with 12 points and hit many clutch shots, including a pair of 3 pointers, of which FSU sunk 8. Ivey Slaughter did not have her best shooting day, going 1 of 4 from the floor, but she added 6 free throws to rack up 8 points, 7 rebounds (6 of which were offensive rebounds), and 4 assists. Adut Bulgak also added 11 points and 6 rebounds for FSU.

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With the loss, the FSU women’s basketball team’s season is over. However, it can’t be overstated just how historic of a season this was. FSU set many program records, including 32 wins in a season (previous record was 29), the first-ever ACC Tournament Final appearance, receiving a #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the highest in program history, and an undefeated home record for the first time in program history. With only 2 seniors on this year’s squad, Maegan Conwright and Lauren Coleman, most of this year’s contributors will be back for 2015-2016 and that means that next year’s team has the potential to be even better, which is, frankly, a scary thought.