FORT WORTH — Nausia Woolfolk had a big first half, Kiah Gillespie hit the shot that put Florida State up by double digits and Nicki Ekhomu helped put her team back in control.
If the Seminoles are going to make another NCAA Tournament run, those three seniors figure to lead the way.
Woolfolk scored 18 of her season-high 24 points before halftime, Kiah Gillespie added 22 points with nine rebounds and Ekhomu finished with a career-high 12 assists to lead 12th-ranked Florida State past Texas A&M 80-58 on Sunday night.
“They all just play such a strong role for us,” said coach Sue Semrau, who’s seeking a third trip to the Elite Eight in the past six seasons. “I thought Woolfolk got us going early. And then Kiah in the second half, she had rhythm shots. She took ’em. She hit ’em. And then Nicki just runs the show.”
The first meeting between the teams since the Seminoles won on the Aggies’ home court in the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament came at TCU in the Maggie Dixon Classic.
Chennedy Carter, the Southeastern Conference preseason player of the year, scored 20 points but had a rough shooting night for the Aggies (5-1).
Carter, who went to high school in Mansfield, missed all seven of her 3-point attempts, including a good look that could have pulled Texas A&M within four late in the third quarter. She was 8 of 22 from the field.
“Chennedy has got to learn what the defense is giving her,” Blair said. “What they’re giving her, they want her to shoot the 3. She wanted to come back home and put on a show like she’s been putting a show on everybody all year. This wasn’t one of her better decision games offensive or defensively.”
Gillespie was 5 of 6 from inside the 3-point line while going 3 of 10 outside the arc, but one of those 3s opened the second half and gave the Seminoles (7-0) their first double-digit lead at 43-32.
Florida State’s 13-point lead in the third quarter was down to five late in the period before buckets late in the shot clock from Kourtney Weber and Ekhomu, who assisted on Weber’s basket and finished with 15 points.
“When we cut it down to five, we should have capitalized,” said Shambria Washington, who had the Aggies’ only 3-pointer as they finished 1 of 11 from beyond the arc. “We didn’t capitalize on our moment when he had the chance.”
Texas A&M missed its first six shots beyond the arc and is 6 of 29 over the past three games. Carter is 1 of 13 in those games.
The Aggies had a chance to get back among the top five a day after top-ranked Oregon and No. 2 Baylor lost. Instead, the conversation will be whether the Seminoles belong in the top 10. Because they’re likely to pass Texas A&M, a move up at least two spots seems likely.