Alix scores 25 as No. 10 Florida State outlasts Pitt, 66-59
PITTSBURGH (AP) — One of the best passers in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Florida State redshirt senior guard A.J. Alix is used to grabbing the post-game scoresheet and counting up her assists.
It’s a practice that has kept her busy this season, as her 149 are second amongst ACC players.
On Sunday against Pittsburgh, Alix turned in her passing credentials for a scorer’s touch as she put in 25 points to lead the No. 10 Seminoles to a 66-59 win over the Panthers.
Alix finished 7 of 9 from 3-point range and 8 of 13 from the floor as her 25 points were one off her career high and the most she’s scored in ACC play.
As someone that’s used to handing out assists, Alix was quick to credit her teammates for their help in her performance, but not necessarily for their passing prowess. Instead, it was their help in giving her the confidence to shoot when Pitt’s sagging defense left her open beyond the arc despite Alix shooting 7 for 27 (26 percent) over the previous three games.
“It’s my teammates that give me confidence,” Alix said. “I wouldn’t call it a slump, but I’ve been in a position where I haven’t been making shots that I usually make. My teammates were telling me, ‘Just keep shooting it.’”
After a back-and-forth game that featured 14 lead changes and the Panthers ahead at the end of each of the first three quarters, it was Alix that led the late charge that made the difference in the Seminoles’ victory.
She made a 3-pointer with 4:27 to play to give Florida State a 53-49 lead. That shot started an 8-0 run over 2:07 to put an end to Pitt’s upset bid.
“It was getting stops,” Alix said of the difference in that stretch. “Our defense fuels our offense.”
Despite the breakout in scoring, Alix doesn’t foresee a future as a shoot-first kind of player.
“You know I’m always looking to get my assists,” she said with a smile. “I’m kind of sad I only got four today. I’ll live with it because we got the win.”
Alayna Gribble scored 13 points to lead the Panthers (10-14, 2-9 ACC) while Yacine Diop recorded 12 points and eight rebounds. Diop has scored in double digits in nine of Pitt’s last 10 games.
Florida State: The Seminoles’ comeback win helped them avoid a three-game ACC losing streak for the first time since 2013-14.
“It just takes the monkey off your back a little bit, but still, you can’t get comfortable,” Florida State head coach Sue Semrau said. “We’ll allow them to enjoy this one tonight because a win on the road in the ACC is tough. Then we’ll get back home and get back to work.”
Florida State is now 7-3 in conference play, two-games behind co-leaders Louisville and Miami.
Pitt: It was senior day for the Panthers, but the lone Pitt player to be recognized was guard Aysia Bugg, who hasn’t played after an off-season knee injury. It was a sharp contrast to the veteran-laden Seminoles, who started five seniors.
“We battled with the No. 10 team in the country” head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said. “The difference was, down the stretch, we need to learn how to win these games.”
Imani Wright scored 14 points, but was an uncharacteristic 2 of 12 from 3-point range despite coming into the game shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc. Wright’s pair of threes was good enough to give her the Florida State single-season record with 79.
Florida State: Returns home to host Virginia on Thursday.
Pitt: Will have Thursday off and return to action next Sunday at Boston College