IOWA CITY — If there was bitter postgame disappointment in the locker room, Chase Coley wasn’t having it.
“These are the fun games. These are the games you want to play,” Coley said after 11th-ranked Florida State rallied from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit and edged Iowa, 94-93, in a women’s basketball Big Ten/ACC Challenge encounter before 4,202 Wednesday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“I’d rather play games like this than a bunch of cupcakes.”
An Elite Eight team in the NCAA tournament last year, Florida State (7-0) got 31 points and 10 rebounds from Shakayla Thomas, including all 11 in an 11-0 run midway through the fourth quarter that brought the Seminoles back.
“I don’t feel like I carried the team,” Thomas shrugged. “I feel like we carried each other. Everybody did what they were supposed to do.”
After the Thomas-fueled run gave the Seminoles an 80-79 lead, the teams went back and forth, and it was 86-86 before Imani Wright hit the shot of the game, a 25-footer from the left wing with 36 seconds left.
It was Wright’s seventh 3-pointer of the game.
“She had the courage to step up, and the confidence to hit it,” FSU Coach Sue Semrau said.
“A pretty big dagger,” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder called it.
Tania Davis hit a trey to cut it to 91-89 with 17 seconds left. Wright made one of two free throws to make it 92-89, then Iowa’s Makenzie Meyer was fouled with 8 seconds to go.
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She made the first free throw, then missed the second intentionally. Thomas ran down the long rebound, then made both free throws to ice it.
Davis hit another trey with 1 second left for the final margin, then the Seminoles successfully inbounded, and survived.
Iowa post Megan Gustafson was brilliant again, notching 34 points and nine rebounds, falling below double-double status for the first time this season. Gustafson converted 15 of 18 field-goal attempts, and successfully put back two of the three shots she did miss.
“If Megan’s not one of the best centers in America, I don’t know who is,” Bluder said. “She even gives me some of those ‘Oh, wow’ moments.”
The Hawkeyes (7-1) went through a first-half stretch in which they made 15 consecutive shots. The last of those was a triple by Alexis Sevillian that put Iowa in front, 34-25.
“We handled their defensive intensity so well,” Coley said. “We moved the ball and clicked. It was really fun to play.”
Gustafson said, “I had some great passes from the guards, and when they collapsed on me, I was able to kick it back out.”
After a 12-0 run put the Seminoles in front, 39-36, Iowa responded with the final eight points of the half and took a 48-44 lead into the locker room.
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It was 63-all late in the third quarter before the Hawkeyes scored the next 12 points. Gustafson scored with a right-handed hook for a 75-63 lead, then Meyer scored on a backdoor play for a 77-65 margin.
But Thomas went on her frenzy, and the Seminoles escaped.
Iowa was guilty of 21 turnovers and gave up 19 offensive rebounds.
Davis and Sevillian added 14 points for the Hawkeyes. Doyle scored 13, Coley 10.
Wright tallied 26 for Florida State.
The Hawkeyes host Samford at 2 p.m. Sunday.
FLORIDA STATE 94, IOWA 93
At Iowa City
FLORIDA STATE (94): Shakayla Thomas 14-23 3-4 31, Ama Degbeon 5-6 2-4 12, A.J. Alix 4-10 2-2 11, Nicki Ekhomu 1-6 3-4 5, Imani Wright 8-23 3-4 26, Nausia Woolfolk 2-9 0-0 5, Savannah Wilkinson 0-0 0-0 0, Chatrice White 1-6 2-2 4. Totals 35-83 15-20 94.
IOWA (93): Chase Coley 5-9 0-0 10, Megan Gustafson 15-18 4-4 34, Makenzie Meyer 2-3 1-2 6, Tania Davis 5-13 2-2 14, Kathleen Doyle 4-4 4-4 13, Alexis Sevillian 4-7 3-3 14, Hannah Stewart 1-3 0-0 2, Carly Mohns 0-0 0-0 0, Amanda Ollinger 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 36-59 14-15 93.
Halftime: Iowa 48, Florida State 44. 3-point goals: Florida State 9-27 (Alix 1-4, Wright 7-17, Woolfolk 1-4, White 0-2), Iowa 7-16 (Coley 0-1, Meyer 1-2, Davis 2-6, Doyle 1-1, Sevillian 3-5, Ollinger 0-1). Team fouls: Florida State 18, Iowa 12. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Florida State 38 (Thomas 10), Iowa 36 (Gustafson 9). Assists: Florida State 22 (Alix 8), Iowa 28 (Meyer, Doyle 6). Steals: Florida State 14 (Woolfolk 5), Iowa 3 (Meyer 2). Turnovers: Florida State 7, Iowa 21.
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