No. 23 Syracuse beats No. 10 Florida State 83-73
Feb. 19, 2016
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — For Brittney Sykes, Thursday night was more than Senior Night for the Syracuse women's basketball team. It also was a "program-changing" night.
Alexis Peterson had 17 points and Brianna Butler added 16 to lead a quartet of Orange players in double figures, and No. 23 Syracuse defeated No. 10 Florida State 83-73.
"This is a program-changing win," Sykes said. "We couldn't come out slow because FSU would take advantage of it."
The Orange didn't. Syracuse (21-6, 11-3 ACC) came out fast, surprising the Seminoles (21-5, 11-2 ACC) and pressuring them into 28 turnovers.
"I like playing 94 feet for 40 minutes," said Sykes, who had 15 points. "Going into the season and going into our games coach (Quentin Hillsman) does a good job getting us into condition. We're turning teams over, we're getting more possessions that way. We just thrive on being able to play full court."
"I think we were a little bit shell-shocked by the pace," Florida State coach Sue Semrau said. "I thought they did a great job. As soon as we scored, they were coming back the other way. When you shoot the ball like that to start it's pretty tough.
"We're much more of a rhythm team, and we hadn't seen a team that wanted to keep this pace the whole time," Semrau added. "We thought we could run with them and maybe in retrospect we should have slowed things down a little bit."
Syracuse's non-stop pressure didn't give Florida State a chance.
"Usually, we start slow and finish strong, but not tonight," Sykes said.
With the win, Syracuse's six seniors kept up a tradition of not losing on a senior night during their careers.
"It meant a lot to win tonight," said Sykes, who may have played her final home game. "We never lose on senior night."
Ford finished with 15 points and Briana Day had 11 rebounds for the Orange, which won their seventh straight. The loss snapped an 11-game winning streak for the Seminoles.
The Orange took advantage of their superior perimeter game, going 11 for 31 from behind the arc while the Seminoles missed all 10 of their long-range attempts. Syracuse also was 22 of 28 on free throws while FSU missed 12 of 29.
Adut Bulgak, who left the game with an apparent knee injury with 8:47 to go, led the Seminoles with 23 points, including 5 of 7 on 3s. Shakayla Thomas had 19 points and Ivey Slaughter 13.
Florida State suffered a big blow when Bulgak left the game. She returned but only briefly.
The Orange, nursing a 47-44 halftime lead, opened the third quarter with a 15-3 run to take a 62-47 lead with just over six minutes to go in the period.
The Seminoles sliced the lead to 65-60 at the end of three, going on a 13-3 run to close out the quarter. The Orange connected on just one field goal in the last 6 minutes, a 3-pointer by Ford.
The Seminoles closed to 65-62 on two foul shots by Bulgak at the start of the fourth, but Syracuse countered with a 9-0 run to take a 74-62 lead on a layup by Day with just over seven minutes to go and the Seminoles never could recover.
Florida State: The Seminoles have been a dominant team in the second half this season, especially over their last seven games. In that span, FSU was outscoring opponents by 14.6 in the second half before Thursday night. ... FSU had won seven of its previous 12 games against Top 25 opponents.
Syracuse: Syracuse is the 10th program in the nation to win at least 20 games seven years in a row. ... Peterson has led the Orange in scoring 14 times and is six points shy of becoming the program's 26th 1,000-point scorer. ... Butler is now in 24th place in NCAA Division 1 history in career 3s made with 338.
Florida State hosts No. 2 Notre Dame Monday.
Syracuse visits Pittsburgh Sunday.