Florida State made itself at home in Coral Gables … again.
The seventh-ranked FSU women’s basketball team — which came equipped with the louder rooting section — defeated the No. 11 Miami Hurricanes 81-66 on Thursday night at the Watsco Center.
It was FSU’s fifth straight win at Miami. The Canes haven’t beaten FSU at home since Feb. 19, 2012. Overall, the Canes are 2-10 against FSU in their past 12 games.
In the history of the series, this was the highest national ranking for either team, and FSU lived up to the hype.
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The Seminoles (13-1), whose only loss this season was to top-ranked Connecticut, were led by Leticia Romero and Imani Wright, each with 19 points. The Seminoles have won 12 straight games since the loss to UConn.
Miami (11-2), which had its 11-game win streak snapped, was led by Jessica Thomas (20 points) and Adrienne Motley (18 points).
But the Canes were outrebounded 43-25, including 20-6 on the offensive glass.
“We don’t need a genius strategic analysis to tell us why we lost,” Canes coach Katie Meier said. “It was effort, 100 percent. On the 50-50 balls, they got all of them.”
The Canes trailed by as many as 14 points in the second quarter but closed their first-half deficit to 32-31. Motley hit four first-half three-pointers, and Thomas made two, including one at the buzzer.
FSU, however, started the third quarter on a 7-0 run. The Seminoles won the third quarter 28-14 and cruised from there.
“It was a big shot,” Thomas said of her basket at the halftime buzzer, “but our third quarter put is in a hole. As a senior leader, I have to hold myself and my teammates more accountable.”
The Noles not only had the advantage on the scoreboard but also in the stands. With the Seminoles football team in town for Friday night’s Orange Bowl Classic against Michigan, there were about 400 FSU fans in attendance, filling one section of the arena.
FSU looked entirely comfortable in enemy territory.
Meanwhile, there were Hurricanes fans in the house — including football coach Mark Richt, just back from winning the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando — but they were stone-cold quiet compared to the rowdy FSU supporters.
“When we ran out and saw their fans,” Motley said, “we knew what game it was going to be.”
The type of game it turned out to be was physical. FSU had two forwards with double-doubles: Shakayla Thomas had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Chatrice White came off the bench to record 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Emese Hof, a Canes reserve, had 12 points and a team-high six rebounds, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Meier promised a better effort when the Canes play again on Monday at Pitt.
“It was my fault that I wasn’t tough enough on them in practice leading up to this game,” Meier said of her players. “We will be a lot tougher on them next time we play.”