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Thomas leads third-seeded Florida State over Little Rock

By JOE REEDY, Associated Press

This article was published March 17, 2018 at 12:48 p.m.

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Florida State's Shakayla Thomas gets around the defense of Arkansas Little Rock's Ronjanae Degray to score in a first-round game of the NCAA women's college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 17, 2018, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

Shakayla Thomas scored 26 points and third-seeded Florida State defeated No. 14 seed Little Rock 91-49 in a women's NCAA Tournament Albany Region first-round game on Saturday.

It is a tournament high for Thomas, eclipsing the 23 she scored against Western Illinois in the first round last year. Thomas, a 5-foot-11 senior forward who was playing in her 12th NCAA Tournament game, was 11 of 15 from the field in 19 minutes. She scored Florida State's first six points and had 16 in the first half as the host team was ahead 53-30 at halftime.

The Seminoles (26-6), who were 35 of 60 from the field, put the game out of reach by going on a 23-0 run during an 8-minute span in the second and third quarters.

Chatrice White and Nikki Ekhomu each scored 13 points and AJ Alix added 12 for Florida State. White also had 10 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season.

Florida State made only two of its first nine from the field and fell behind 8-4 with 6:30 remaining in the first quarter. The Seminoles then shook off the slow start by making eight of their last 11 shots in the first quarter, which included an 11-0 run, to take a 22-15 lead at the end of the quarter.

Little Rock allowed a season high in points. They came into the game sixth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 52.6 points per game.

Tori Lasker led the Trojans (23-10) with 13 points and Keanna Keys added 11.

BIG PICTURE

Little Rock: The Trojans were making their fifth tournament appearance and have a 2-5 record. They will lose two starters due to graduation but Ronjanae DeGray, who is the team's leading scorer and rebounder, still has one more year of eligibility.

Florida State: The Seminoles, who are looking to reach the Sweet 16 for the fourth straight season, have won 15 straight games in the first round dating back to 1991. It is the second-longest active streak among ACC teams, only trailing Duke, who has won 24 straight opening games.

UP NEXT

Florida State faces the winner of sixth-seeded South Florida and No. 11 seed Buffalo in the second round on Monday.

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