- Associated Press - Thursday, February 11, 2016

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - No. 10 Florida State rode an anybody-can-step-up philosophy to a deep postseason run last year.

That same mindset has led the Seminoles to 10 straight wins.

Florida State beat Duke 69-53 on Thursday night behind a big game from its backups.

Shakayla Thomas scored 14 points, Kai James added 11 and Maria Conde finished with 10 for the Seminoles (20-4, 10-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), whose bench outscored Duke’s 35-12.

James averages 6.1 points while Conde averages 3.7. Thomas, who averaged a team-best 18.5 points during the first nine games of the winning streak, has not started since November and finished 7 of 15 from the field.

In the cases of Conde and James, those were precisely the kind of out-of-the-blue performances that marked last year’s run to the ACC championship game and to the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight.

“That’s when we got really good last year,” coach Sue Semrau said, “when anybody could step up.”

Call it a similar state of mind for a different year. Semrau said that earlier this season, her team “put a comma at the end of last season, instead of a period” to signify that it had ended. That was a mistake, she said.

“Once we went away from that, we developed our own personality,” she added.

Florida State never trailed, shot 46 percent and overcame 19 turnovers by forcing 22 of them in their first win at Cameron Indoor Stadium since 2001.

Freshman Angela Salvadores had 13 points for the Blue Devils (17-9, 6-6), who lost their third in four games and already have their most conference losses since finishing with seven in 1996-97.

Duke shot 39 percent, had at least 20 turnovers for the ninth time and finished with more giveaways than made field goals (20).

“I won’t give them credit for 22 turnovers. That’s on us,” coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “I credit the defense, but I’m not going to give it all to the defense.”

The Blue Devils pulled to 49-42 on Rebecca Greenwell’s 3-pointer with 6 minutes left. Florida State countered with baskets on five straight trips downcourt, with Adut Bulgak’s jumper making it 59-46 with 2½ minutes left.

The Seminoles outrebounded Duke 43-32 in a matchup of the ACC’s top two teams on the boards. Florida State entered with a rebounding margin of plus-14.3 while the Blue Devils were second at plus-8.6.

Duke played without leading scorer and rebounder Azura Stevens for the third straight game. The sophomore, who averages 19.1 points and 9.4 rebounds, has a torn plantar fascia in her left foot, and she was in a walking boot as she watched from the bench in warmups.

“You have to be more of a team and you have to work things more” without Stevens, McCallie said. “We have not chosen to do that.”

SHE SAID IT

“It worried me a little bit when we had everybody taking pictures during shootaround” - Semrau, on coming into Duke’s historic arena and leaving with a win.

TIP-INS

Florida State: James is the sister of North Carolina forward Joel James. … The Seminoles set a program record with their 10th consecutive ACC victory. They won nine straight in conference play last year.

Duke: The Blue Devils have lost four home games for the second time in three years. Duke went from 1993-2013 without losing more than three times in a season at Cameron.

UP NEXT

Florida State hosts North Carolina on Sunday.

Duke visits Wake Forest on Sunday.

___

Follow Joedy McCreary at http://twitter.com/joedyap. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joedy-mccreary

___

AP college basketball site: http://collegebasketball.ap.org

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide