GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - No. 7 Florida State called a timeout with its huge lead - and its first berth in the ACC title game - slipping away.
Maegan Conwright wouldn’t let the Seminoles lose either one.
Conwright scored 12 points and hit two big 3-pointers that helped Florida State beat No. 10 Louisville 66-51 on Saturday in an Atlantic Coast Conference semifinal.
“She said, ‘Put it in my hands,’” coach Sue Semrau said. “We put it in her hands, and you see the result.”
Ivey Slaughter scored 17 points and Shakayla Thomas added 12 points for the second-seeded Seminoles (29-3), who earned their first ACC championship game berth and matched the program record for wins after building a 24-point lead, then holding off the Cardinals’ relentless rally.
Florida State will play No. 2 Notre Dame (30-2) on Sunday in the final.
Mariya Moore had 17 points and Shawnta’ Dyer added 10 with 13 rebounds for third-seeded Louisville (25-6).
After pulling to 45-43, the Cardinals were held to one basket during the next 6½ minutes.
“You climb all the way back and get it to a 2-point game,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. “You expend so much energy to get back to that point that you have a breakdown.”
The Seminoles’ 17-4 run was keyed by two 3-pointers from Conwright - including one with just under 4 minutes left - that put the Seminoles back up by double figures.
“The guts - it was like she had ice water in her veins,” Semrau said. “I thought it changed all the momentum.”
That sent the Seminoles to their first semifinal victory in four tries and brought them even with the 2009-10 team that set the school record with 29 wins before reaching the NCAA regional semifinals.
They earned a rematch with the Fighting Irish, who won the only meeting this season 74-68 on Jan. 2 in South Bend.
“Going through a game like this game, showing how hard you have to fight, to never back down, it’s a great feeling to see how hard work paid off,” Slaughter said.
For a while it looked like they might get there without a test.
Florida State used an early 20-2 run to take what seemed like a comfortable lead, taking its largest lead at 33-9 on a free throw from Slaughter with 5:34 left.
But the Cardinals chipped away at that huge deficit, pulling within two points on Moore’s 3 with just over 9 minutes left before going cold.
“If you show up at all to start it off,” Walz said, “it’s probably a different outcome.”
The Seminoles are getting it done with balance. Eight players logged average at least 14 minutes, and nobody averages more than 13 points. Leading scorer Adut Bulgak, who scores 12.9 points per game, finished with five on 2-of-9 shooting in 30 minutes - and it wasn’t a big deal. “If they’re going to take one away,” Semrau said, “then we have an opportunity with someone else.”
Louisville: The Cardinals were denied their sixth win over a Top 25 opponent this season. The highest-ranked team they’ve beaten is No. 15 North Carolina, and that came in a quarterfinal Friday night that ended about 16 hours before this game tipped off.
Florida State: Both of the Seminoles’ wins over Louisville contained overwhelming early runs. They started the last meeting with a 21-1 spurt and went on to claim a 68-63 victory on Jan. 22.
Louisville: Awaits at-large berth into NCAA Tournament.
Florida State: Plays No. 2 Notre Dame on Sunday in ACC championship game.
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