March 23, 2008
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) –Ohio State is going home early yet again – and this time, it wasn’t even close.
Tanae Davis-Cain scored 27 points, one shy of her career high, and Mara Freshour added 14 points and 12 rebounds to help 11th-seeded Florida State upset sixth-seeded Ohio State 60-49 on Saturday night in the first round of the New Orleans Regional.
The Seminoles, a somewhat surprising at-large pick after losing seven of their last 11 games, sure looked as though they belonged against the listless Buckeyes. Florida State (19-13) extended its streak of first-round victories to six dating to 1991.
“It’s a rule,” Florida State coach Sue Semrau said of her team’s first-round success. “I think it’s our conference, the way our conference prepares us for this.”
The Seminoles advanced to play third-seeded Oklahoma State on Monday night. The Cowgirls beat East Tennessee State 85-73 on Saturday for their first NCAA tournament win in 12 years.
This was the third straight NCAA tournament trip that the Buckeyes (22-9) would just as soon forget. Ohio State lost in the second round to Boston College as a No. 1 seed in 2006 and was stunned by 13th-seeded Marist 67-63 last season.
Ohio State held Florida State to just 32.8 percent from the field, but the Seminoles grabbed 19 offensive rebounds and went 9-of-16 from 3-point range.
“Our decision making in transition wasn’t really good,” Ohio State coach Jim Foster said. “I think we played hard and made some good decisions at the end, but you have to control the glass and not have those second-chance opportunities.”
Ohio State fell behind by 12 early and never really recovered. The Seminoles then pounced on the Buckeyes at the start of the second half, reeling off an 18-8 run to push their lead to 48-30. Davis-Cain keyed that stretch with three 3s, and she scored 15 points in the second half.
“I thought they were going to be in my grill, but they were playing off and sagging back so I just decided to shoot. They were going in, so I continued,” Davis-Cain said.
Freshman Jantel Lavender led Ohio State with 21 points and nine rebounds, and Marscilla Packer added 13 points.
The Seminoles went up by as much as 53-33 before Ohio State woke up. The Buckeyes reeled off 11 quick points, capped by a 3 from Packer, to get within nine with 5:32 left. But Packer misfired on a 3 and was called for charging, and Jacinta Monroe hit a turnaround in the paint with 2:32 left that essentially ended the drama.
Florida State jumped ahead 16-4 on 3s by Alysha Harvin and Davis-Cain. Lavender was the only Ohio State player to score in the opening 10 minutes, as the Buckeyes trailed 30-22 at the break.
“We came in with the mind-set that we were going to take this game away from them and show the world that we deserve to be in the tournament and that’s what we did,” Monroe said.
Florida State reserve forward Cayla Moore left the game late in the first half because of an apparent leg injury. She didn’t return.