Tallahassee, FL—It had to happen eventually.
This year the No. 16 Duke suffered a slow start. In many cases it doesn’t matter. The Blue Devils heat up in the second half, usually finishing with a win. This is true against Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, and many other teams.
There are many potential reasons for the tough first half. Perhaps head coach Carla Lawson’s halftime speech is just that poignant — perhaps it will take time to adjust to his tough ACC opponent’s defensive scheme. Anyway, it wasn’t much of a problem for Duke.
That sluggish start was crucial on a gray Sunday afternoon in Tallahassee. The Blue Devils were unable to find a rhythm and struggled throughout the game to get the ball into the hoop or make meaningful stops. The Duke shot just 24/61 from the field in a 70–57 loss against the 24th-ranked Seminoles.
“Our players have to be ready to push when they have a bad possession, a bad quarter or a bad half. Lawson said after the game. “And if those five players don’t play well, we’re asking to win the game.”
Duke struggled throughout the game and never really looked like he was on his feet. Her star players Celeste Taylor and Shayeann Day-Wilson both struggled, scoring 3 and 0 points respectively in her first three periods.
Florida State, meanwhile, stepped onto the court with purpose after a crushing loss to No. 7 Notre Dame. Their shooting his clip was not spectacular, staying just 26.4% from the field, but the free throws made the difference on Sunday. The Seminoles shot 32 of them and made 20.
“[Timpson] Rebounding, continuing to get second-chance opportunities, and drawing fouls, another thing I thought she did well,” Lawson said. , shows her effort in the game to keep hitting the grass and keep hitting the rim, and she definitely made a difference.”
The Blue Devils bench played a bigger role on offense as the starting fives struggled. Junior guard Vanessa DeJesus scored his nine and Jordyn Oliver scored his six. Day-Wilson led the team with his 14 points scored, but all the scores came in the 4th quarter, by which point the game was already over for all intents and purposes.
Another strong offensive performance for the Seminoles comes from freshman prodigy Tanya Latson. She racked up her 15 points and shot a solid 6 of 14 clips.
After all, this was near-total control by the state of Florida. The Blue Devils led by just 20 seconds and didn’t look like they were in control. The Seminoles controlled the pace of the game and ran across the floor to easily beat his press in a stifling full court. Timpson also played a big part in that press break.
“The thing I was most proud of was hitting the full-court press,” said Seminole head coach Brooke Wyckoff. “[Timpson] A big part of that and she was able to get the ball.
This game is, in some ways, the result of Duke playing all season. The Blue Devils were a late team and were unable to make a late attack on Sunday afternoon. Lawson runs his team hard, employing his usually physically taxing full-court press to bring the fight to his opponents.
On Sunday, the Blue Devils suffered burns. Duke had a relatively short two-day break after pushing the entire game against Virginia Tech, and Florida State took advantage of the Blue Devils early on. From there, the Seminoles had to keep up the pace. Duke outscored them in the fourth, but he had only four points, not enough to return to the game.
Duke won’t be back in action until Thursday when Pittsburgh comes to town, giving him more time to rest. That weekend, the Blue Devils will visit Notre Dame on Sunday and get another chance to face his top team. Until then, it’s time to rest, recover, and plan.
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