Feb. 9, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Florida State senior point guard Cheetah Delgado set a school-record with 15 assists as she guided the FSU women’s basketball team to a 72-55 victory over Boston College on `Paint it Pink’ day Sunday afternoon at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Delgado’s performance was inspiring because of how much the annual breast cancer awareness game means to her. Delgado’s mother, the late Mary Ann Montes, passed away from breast cancer on March 12, 2009, after a long and courageous fight. For Delgado, it was fitting that she had a record-setting outcome in what was more than just a regular-season game for her.
“I think of my mom for every game,” Delgado said following today’s win. “She really pushed me to be here and play basketball, but today was a special day and I dedicate it to her.”
The Kissimmee, Fla., native broke a near 38-year old assists record at Florida State formerly held by Shirley Silsby on Feb. 6, 1976, against Flagler College. Delgado picked up 10 of her 15 assists in the second half, dribbling and weaving past Boston College defenders to find the easy baskets inside. Her record-setting 15th assist came in the game’s final minute when she got in the lane and found freshman Kai James on the right block with 36 seconds left.
Delgado’s 15 assists tie Duke’s Alexis Jones for the most by an ACC player this season. Jones’ performance actually came against Florida State in what was an overtime loss for the `Noles on Jan. 23. The Lieberman Watch List member added a career-high nine rebounds in the win, nearly amassing a double-double in unconventional fashion for FSU.
Delgado’s ability to penetrate and dish efficiently on Sunday afternoon helped the Seminoles (16-7, 4-6) pick up 56 points in the paint, their second-highest total of the season and their highest in conference play. It was their most points inside against an ACC opponent since registering 58 points in the paint in an 85-78 win at Georgia Tech on Jan. 3, 2013.
“I’m just so proud of the way the entire team locked in after a lot of disappointment,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “We have had a lot of adversity. As a coach, you welcome that as a young team because they need to grow. Cheetah [Delgado] and Natasha [Howard] played their hearts out today. I thought that the young players all stepped up and played significant roles. I’m just really proud of them. We definitely needed this win.”
Joining Delgado with another superb performance on Sunday afternoon was senior Natasha Howard, who posted her 10th 20-point game of the season with 26 points and 11 rebounds. She extended her school record to 36 career double-doubles, and moved into fourth all-time at FSU in scoring (1,555 points) and third all-time in rebounding (948 boards).
Playing a big role early was freshman Ivey Slaughter, who set career highs with six field goals made en route to a 13-point performance as well as four steals. Slaughter gave FSU a spark in the first half and helped break away from the Eagles.
Freshman center Kai James had her third double-figure game, chipping in with 11 points and three rebounds on 4-of-6 shooting.
The `Noles held a sizeable advantage in several areas on Sunday – FSU won in second-chance points, 18-5, and also generated 12 fast-break points while Boston College had zero. The biggest edge came in FSU’s season-best effort on the offensive glass, recording 24 offensive rebounds which were more than Boston College’s 22 total rebounds.
BC was led by the hot shooting of freshman guard Kelly Hughes, who finished 5-for-5 from long range and had 23 points for the Eagles.
FSU’s edge in the low post helped it to a 35-20 halftime lead over BC. Howard and Slaughter led FSU with 12 points apiece, while the `Noles shot 50 percent (17-of-34). FSU forced 13 turnovers by the Eagles and outscored them in the paint, 32-8. For the game, BC committed 19 turnovers.
FSU made a point to get the ball inside to Howard early in the game, as she delivered six points through the second media timeout with FSU leading 14-12. Boston College jumped ahead 12-6 on a 3-ball from Lauren Englen, but FSU went on an 8-0 run with two inside buckets apiece from Howard and Slaughter to regain the lead.
The `Noles big run continued, extending it to a 14-0 run which included holding BC scoreless on 11 straight possessions. Slaughter notched her 10th double-figure game of the season when she made good on another inside basket, her third straight, to extend FSU’s lead to 20-12. The Eagles stopped the FSU run on a three-point play in the paint from Englen, as FSU led 20-15 with 7:27 left.
Lauren Coleman gave the `Noles a nice spark when she hit the team’s first and only 3-pointer from the left wing, extending the FSU lead to 25-17 with 3:51 left. Her long-range make was FSU’s first basket outside the paint, as the `Noles held an early 22-8 lead in the category.
FSU gears up for an important road game at ACC newcomer Syracuse on Thursday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. at the Carrier Dome in Upstate New York. The `Noles return for a home game on Sunday, Feb. 16, against league rival Miami at 2 p.m.
For more information on Florida State women’s basketball, follow the Seminoles on Twitter at @FSU_WBasketball and like their official Facebook page (Facebook.com/FSUWomensBasketball).