No. 6 Florida State uses late run to beat Tulane, 78-72
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Without a true point guard, Florida State needed to get a big effort from its post players. It turns out the Seminoles got career nights from two of them.
Shakayla Thomas scored a career-high 26 points, and Kai James had a career-high 14 points and matched her career best with nine rebounds to help the No. 6 Seminoles beat Tulane 78-72 on Thursday night.
''These kinds haven't been in the big-time middle of it and they came up big,'' Florida State coach Sue Semrau said. ''Without a point guard in sight we were able to make adjustments and be very effective in the post.''
Florida State had only eight players available after guards Leticia Romero and Emiah Bingley were injured Monday night a loss to Florida. Romero sprained her left ankle, and Bingley had concussion-related symptoms.
With only two guards, the Seminoles (1-1) had to use their size in the post to their advantage. They outrebounded the Green Wave (2-1) by 19 (51-32) and outscored them in the paint 36-22.
''I felt like that was where we were going to be able to attack them. I wanted to make sure we got looks and touches in the paint,'' Semrau said.
Thomas was able to keep Florida State in the lead for most of the first half with 17 points. The Seminoles led 39-36 at halftime as Maria Conde sank three free throws after she was fouled with two-tenths of a second remaining.
''It was more of us working hard and looking for passes and scoring. If my shot came then it came. It wasn't just scoring but doing the little things,'' Thomas said.
The Seminoles weren't able to get any breathing room until midway through the fourth quarter. Kolby Morgan's jumper brought the Green Wave to 66-62 with 3:51 remaining, but Florida State scored eight straight points to take control.
Adut Bulgak scored 13 of her 18 points in the second half and also had 10 rebounds.
Morgan led Tulane (2-1) with 26 points, and Leslie Vorpahl had 11 points and eight rebounds.
Tulane was 9 of 19 on 3-pointers. Florida State missed its first four 3-pointers, all in the first half, but was 3 of 7 in the second half. ... With a dearth of guards, Brittany Brown played all 40 minutes at the point for the Seminoles. She was 2 of 10 from the field, but scored eight points and had 10 rebounds.
Florida State: The Seminoles have won 25 straight nonconference games at home, dating to 2011. They have also won 17 straight home openers.
Tulane: The Green Wave are in the midst of a stretch where they face five teams that made last season's NCAA Tournament in the first six games. They are 1-1 after Thursday's game.
Florida State hosts Alabama-Birmingham on Sunday.
Tulane hosts LSU on Monday.