NCAA Tournament - First Round
(3) #10/13 Florida State 87, (14) Western Illinois 66
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Shakayla Thomas scored 23 points and third-seeded Florida State beat No. 14 Western Illinois 87-66 Friday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Thomas, who was the coaches choice as Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, had 10 points in the third quarter as the Seminoles broke open a close game in the second half. Florida State (26-6) led 36-34 at halftime but went on a 14-5 run at the beginning of the third quarter to take control. Thomas also had 14 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season.
Chatrice White came off the bench to score 19 points and grab 14 rebounds while Imani Wright scored 14.
Taylor Higginbotham had 20 points for Western Illinois (26-7) and Morgan Blumer had 12.
The Leathernecks led for most of the first half. Higginbotham scored 12 of their first 14 points as they led 19-11 near the end of the first quarter. They would lead 34-32 with 1:31 remaining in the first half on a Higginbotham 3-pointer before the Seminoles scored the final four points to take the lead at halftime.
Western Illinois: With nine points, Emily Clemens tied Ashley Luke (2013-14) for the most points in program history for a single season with 623. Clemens has also set a new program record for the most made free throws (202) and the most minutes (1,234) in a single season.
Florida State: The Seminoles have won 14 straight first-round games in the NCAA Tournament dating back to 1991. It is the second-longest streak among ACC teams with Duke leading the way at 22.
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