- Associated Press - Thursday, January 19, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida State was done in by 3-point shooting and turnovers the last time it faced Syracuse. On Thursday night the seventh-ranked Seminoles flipped it around.

Florida State was 8 of 14 from beyond the arc and forced 21 turnovers en route to a 77-58 victory over Syracuse for its fifth straight win. The Seminoles (18-2, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) matched the best 20-game start in program history.

“We were taking great shots, sharing the basketball, in rhythm and we did a great job on the defensive end so they couldn’t get into their pressure early,” Florida State coach Sue Semrau said.

In last year’s 83-73 loss to the Orange, the Seminoles didn’t hit a 3-pointer and had 28 turnovers.

Shakayla Thomas scored 10 of her 17 points during the decisive first quarter in this one. The Seminoles hit 11 of their first 14 from the field, including nine straight during one stretch, as they built a 26-5 lead with 2:35 remaining in the first quarter.

The Orange (13-7, 4-3) made their first two shots and then missed their next 10 as FSU went on an 18-0 run. During that run the Seminoles forced six turnovers which led to seven points while also having a 14-7 rebounding edge.

“Most of the momentum came on defensive end,” said Leticia Romero, who had 12 points and eight assists. “Then everyone started to hit shots which provided more energy.”

Florida State ended up forcing 21 turnovers in the game which led to 26 points. Semrau said most of those turnovers came as a result of deflections in half-court defense since they don’t do much pressing.

Imani Wright added 11 points and Ivey Slaughter 10 for the Seminoles, who led 72-39 early in the fourth quarter.

Alexis Peterson, who leads the ACC in scoring, had a game-high 26 points for Syracuse, with 21 coming in the second half. The Orange dropped to 2-4 against ranked teams this season.

Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman said his team has started off slow the past three games, but that they could ill afford to do that against a top-10 team.

“If you come out slow against the number seven team in the country you aren’t going to win,” he said. “They had a great game plan to keep pressure on us but in the second half we were able to get it going.”

BIG PICTURE

Syracuse: Peterson and Brittney Sykes came in as the top backcourt duo in Division I, averaging a combined 42.4 points per game. They nearly got their average after being held to a combined 10 points in the first half. Peterson, who came in averaging 24.2 points per game, had her third straight game of 24 points or more but Sykes (18.2) was held to 10 points as she was 3 of 11 from the field.

Florida State: The Seminoles have gotten off to quick starts the past two games, outscoring Clemson and Syracuse 54-11 in the first period the past two games. FSU shot 56.4 percent from the field (24 of 43) in both games over the first 10 minutes compared to 15.4 percent by opponents (4 of 26).

RECORD BOOK

Florida State equaled the 2014-15 and 2004-05 teams for best starts in school history after 20 games. The 2014—15 team ended up going to the Elite Eight.

INJURY

Syracuse forward Isabella Slim, who has started all 20 games this season, suffered a sprained left ankle during the fourth quarter when she stepped on the foot of another player and did not return to the game.

UP NEXT

Syracuse hosts No. 14 Miami on Sunday. The Orange have won two of the past three meetings.

Florida State travels to No. 17 Virginia Tech on Sunday. The Seminoles have won four straight and 14 of 16 against the Hokies.

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More AP college basketball at http://collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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Follow Joe Reedy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/joereedy

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