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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP and seminoles.com) – Adut Bulgak scored 18, Leticia Romero added 17 and Florida State built a big lead early and held on for a 74-56 win over Texas A&M on Monday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The victory puts the Seminoles in the round of 16 for the second straight season and fourth time overall where they'll meet Baylor on Saturday in the Dallas Regional.
Florida State (25-7) led by just three points at halftime before pulling away for a 72-55 win over Middle Tennessee State in the first round on Saturday. Things were much different on Monday when the Seminoles raced out to a 21-point lead by halftime thanks to six early 3-pointers and withstood a late run to eliminate the Aggies (22-10) on their home court.
The Aggies trailed by 21 entering the fourth before using a 13-2 run over the first eight minutes of the quarter to get within 66-56. But Florida state scored the next four points to thwart the rally and keep the Aggies from replicating the epic comeback their men's team had over Northern Iowa on Sunday night when they trailed by 12 points with 44 seconds remaining before winning in double overtime.
Courtney Walker had 18 points to lead A&M and Anriel Howard, who set an NCAA Tournament record with 27 rebounds in the first-round game, had eight points with 13 rebounds. The Aggies were without starter Courtney Williams and Shlonte Allen for the second straight game after the pair were suspended for a violation of team rules on Saturday.
The Seminoles jumped out to a 14-6 lead, powered by five early points by Romero. They were up by nine early in the second quarter before scoring the next seven points, with the first five from Bulgak, to make it 34-18 about seven minutes before halftime.
Walker made a layup after that and Texas A&M had several defensive stops, but the Aggies missed their next five shots, including three layups to remain in a big hole.
They finally got going soon after that, scoring four points in a row to get within 36-24.
But Bulgak, who had 13 rebounds, stopped A&M's run by scoring the first five points of an 11-2 spurt that extended the lead to 47-26 at halftime. Ivey Slaughter had a 3-point play with 12 seconds left in the second half and Brittany Brown capped the first-half scoring with a 3-pointer with one second remaining.
Texas A&M opened the second half with a 7-2 run, with five points from Chelsea Jennings, to cut the lead to 49-33. But Florida State used a 6-2 spurt after that to push it back to 20 points.
The Aggies got within 17 with another run later in the third quarter, but the Seminoles answered again, scoring the last four points of the third quarter to make it 64-43 entering the fourth.
POST-GAME NOTES COMPILED BY FSU SPORTS INFORMATION:
• Senior center Adut Bulgak registered her 19th career double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds, putting her in sole possession of eighth place in program history in just two seasons.
• Bulgak’s 13 rebounds tie an FSU NCAA postseason record, which she has a part of. In last year’s NCAA Second Round win over FGCU, Bulgak also pulled down 13 rebounds.
• For the second straight NCAA postseason game, FSU had four players score in double figures – Bulgak (18), Leticia Romero (17), Brittany Brown (16) and Ivey Slaughter (10).
• FSU is making its fourth trip to the NCAA Sweet 16, including its first in consecutive seasons. This is the second time FSU has advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 by way of an opponent’s home court, defeating second-seeded Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2007.
• The win by FSU over Texas A&M improves its record to 2-1 vs. the Aggies. FSU’s other win over Texas A&M was also significant, defeating the Aggies when they were ranked third on Jan. 5, 2009, in Tallahassee (W, 60-53).
• The Seminoles shot 16-of-18 (88.9 percent) from the free throw line, the eighth time it has shot above 80 percent from the charity stripe this year.
• FSU improves to 19-14 all-time in NCAA postseason play, including 18-11 under Semrau.
• Leticia Romero has a positive assist/turnover ratio in nine of her last 10 games. She had six assists and four turnovers.
• FSU out-rebounded a Texas A&M team with good size by a 44-35 margin.
• Junior guard Brittany Brown added four more steals and now has 95 for the season. Her total is now the third-most in single-season program history.
• Florida State’s 27-16 lead through the first period was its highest point total in the first since leading Wake Forest 27-9 on Jan. 28.
• The Seminoles held a 47-26 lead at halftime, their biggest halftime lead since leading Boston College 39-15 on Jan. 7.
• Junior Ivey Slaughter nearly had her 19th career double-double as well with 10 points and nine rebounds.