When going up against the best teams in the country, a team’s best player must step up to the plate. That’s exactly what Ta’Niya Latson has done for the Florida State Seminoles this season. The sophomore guard anticipates great matchups and looks to shine in the process.
Latson proved she could deliver against some of the top programs in the country a year ago. She averaged 19.2 points per game against ranked teams in the country which included three games where she scored 20+ points. Matching up against elite teams was a great experience for Latson. She was able to see different defensive sets and had to figure out ways to adjust her game. With that being said, it prepared her for what would take place during her sophomore campaign.
The Seminoles came into the season as the number 12 team in the country. With their success last season as well as adding on new transfers, they were looked upon as one of the more respected teams in the NCAA. It's only right that the Noles prove to the world how talented they are as a collective. The only way to do so was to take care of business against the best teams.
When in doubt, the Seminoles ride the hot hand of Ta’Niya Latson. Head coach Brooke Wyckoff understands her value as an offensive threat. She has an attack-first mentality as she looks to drive to the basket for high-percentage shots. However, Latson can also beat teams on the perimeter. She’s a great three-point shooter as well as being able to create around the mid-range as well.
The Noles’ second game of the season was against the Tennessee Volunteers. It was a highly anticipated matchup between Latson and Rickea Jackson. Who would outshine the other in this contest? Despite Latson being unavailable in the Noles’ first game, she made sure to be ready for their first true test of the season.
Latson didn’t shoot the ball well in the contest. She only scored 20 points and shot 9/24 from the floor. However, she showed her full arsenal on offense as she continued to work inside the three-point line. Larson was also one of the X-Factors on defense as she helped her some key stops down the stretch. Despite Jackson’s eruption of 31 points and 17 assists, it was the Noles who squeezed by Tennessee in a. 92-91 victory.
A few weeks later, the Seminoles traveled to Las Vegas for the Ball Dawgs Classic. They took care of business against Northwestern which led them to a matchup against Stanford. This was another true test for Florida State as they prepared to go against one of the best teams in the PAC-12. However, it was also another opportunity for Latson to shine against one of the country’s best.
Although the Noles took their first loss of the season, Latson led the way with 23 points and four rebounds. Despite a great first half, the combination of Cameron Brink and Kiki Iriafen was too much for Florida State to contain. Two weeks later, the Noles prepared for another dominant team in the PAC-12 in the UCLA Bruins.
As the number two team in the country, UCLA did what they did best. They continued to run high-low action with their center Lauren Betts and it resulted in easy opportunities. UCLA’s size also disrupted Florida State on offense as they couldn’t get easy opportunities inside. Despite trailing big in the first half, the Noles looked to Latson to help them get back into the game.
Latson continued to be the driving force for Florida State. She would not be denied inside as she continued to find ways to attack. Latson would either finish at the rim or draw a foul when she attacked. Eventually, the Noles cut into the lead during stretches of the game.
These are moments where Ta’Niya Latson shines the brightest. She loves the moments when she can take over the games and put the team on her back. Despite finishing the contest with 26 points, the Noles lost to the Bruins in a 95-78 loss.
So far, the Seminoles have a 1-2 record against ranked opponents. However, Latson has continued to shine as she’s averaging 23 points on 45 percent shooting in the three games. Her performances against top opponents have raised eyebrows as she has the world’s attention. As Florida State’s season continues, Latson will continue to elevate her game against the nation’s best.