- Associated Press - Saturday, March 19, 2016

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Florida State led by just three points at the break before junior guard Leticia Romero helped lead a second-half effort against Middle Tennessee State.

Romero scored 17 points and finished 5 of 10 from the field and 6 of 8 from the line in the Seminoles’ 72-55 win over the No. 12 seed Blue Raiders on Saturday. They advanced to play either Texas A&M; or Missouri State in the second round of the women’s NCAA Tournament.

“We came back in the second half and we just had a run, and you didn’t see anybody just getting down on themselves or anything,” Romero said. “It was really exciting.”

Adut Bulgak scored 15 points and made all 3 of her 3-pointers for Florida State (24-7). Shakayla Thomas had 11 points and Brittany Brown added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Blue Raiders trailed 30-27 at the half until the Seminoles went on an 11-4 run late in the third quarter. In the final 10 minutes, FSU coach Sue Semrau’s squad extended the lead to as many as 20.

However, the Seminoles committed 14 first-half turnovers and 21 in the game.

“We talked a lot at halftime about the turnovers and the 16 (first-half) points they had off of our turnovers,” Semrau said. “We felt like if we could take good care of the ball, we could get good shots up, then that was going to be a big part of it.”

Freshman Alex Johnson had 22 points on 10-of-18 shooting for MTSU (24-10). Brea Edwards had 11 points and Ty Petty finished with 10 points and seven assists.

“The end of the third quarter kind of got away from us,” said MTSU coach Rick Insell. “And then they were on a roll and they began to play downhill. That was, I think, the difference in the ball game.”

It also didn’t help that MTSU starting forward Gabby Lyon picked up two fouls in the first minute and finished with one point in 15 minutes.

TIP-INS

Middle Tennessee St: The Blue Raiders rely on making shots from beyond the arc, but struggled to 2 of 12 from 3-point range. Edwards, who averages three 3-pointers, finished 1 of 5 from long range and 4-of-10 overall.

Florida State: The Seminoles outrebounded Middle Tennessee State 41-22. Bulgak had nine rebounds for the team, which made 5 of 10 3-pointers.

TOURNAMENT TIDBITS:

Florida State has won its first round NCAA Tournament game in each of its last 13 appearances, dating back to 1991. The Blue Raiders fall to 5-18 overall in NCAA Tournament games.

UP NEXT

Middle Tennessee: Season is over.

Florida State: Will play winner of Texas A&M; and Missouri State for chance to advance to Sweet 16 on Monday.

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