Jan. 6, 2005
TALLAHASEE, Fla. – Senior Roneeka Hodges scored 19 points and sophomore Alicia Gladden added 17, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a hot shooting Georgia Tech (10-2, 1-0 ACC) squad as the Yellow Jackets handed the Seminoles (13-2, 0-1) their first home loss of the season, 59-58, in the final four seconds of the game at the Donald L. Tucker Center Thursday night.
Freshman Chioma Nnamaka scored 30 of Tech’s 59 total points to pace the Yellow Jackets.
The final 1:25 left in the game were a seesaw battle that saw the lead change or tie up on six occasions. Hodges dished Gladden the ball on a backside cut and the lay up was good to put the Garnet and Gold up by one point, 55-54, with 55 seconds left. With the clock winding down, the Jackets raced the length of the court and Nnamaka put up a desperation 3-pointer at the :38 mark that went in for a two-point Tech gain, 57-55, before Gladden answered back with a lay up to make the score 57-all. She was fouled on the play with 12 seconds remaining. She sunk the free throw for the 58-57 FSU advantage, but after eight seconds ticked away, Tech’s Jill Ingram drove the lane and finished a lay up. The Seminoles had 4.5 seconds to try to win the game but Holly Johnson’s desperation shot was short.
“It was a heartbreaker,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “We left everything out on the floor and that’s all you can ask a team to do. We put ourselves in a position to win. I thought they drew up a great play at the end of the game. Unfortunately, we got caught half a step behind and she got that lay up in the lane. We thought we had something drawn up that we’ve practiced over and over (on the final play of the game) and we went to the wrong side of the floor, so I think we weren’t on the same page in that.”
Florida State shot 44.4 percent (24-54), while Georgia Tech managed a 46.2 percent (24-of-52) mark. The Seminoles had held its previous 14 opponents to an average of 36.0 percent shooting.
“I thought they came out shooting well,” Semrau said. “We knew they were a really good rebounding team but we didn’t expect them to shoot the ball as well as they did. You’ve got to credit them. Our adjustment going to a zone really helped. They only scored 23 points in the second half.”
The Tribe forced 20 turnovers, but the Yellow Jackets outrebounded FSU 34-22.
Seminole senior Linnea Liljestrand was a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, and she surpassed her single season 3-point record after earning her 29th trey tonight. Her previous high was 28 total during the 2001-02 campaign.
Georgia Tech led 36-30 at halftime and extended it by as much as eight points (42-34) with 15:51 left in the game, before FSU went on a 15-6 run and took a one-point (49-48) gain with 8:17 remaining. From there, neither team owned more than a 3-point advantage.
Liljestrand totaled nine points, and junior Ganiyat Adeduntan pitched in nine points and eight boards, respectively. Gladden enjoyed an all-around outstanding performance consisting of six rebounds, including five offensive boards, four assists, two blocks and four steals in 38 minutes of action. Johnson accounted for five assists.
“Again, we put ourselves in a position to win and that’s where we want to be night in and night out,” Semrau said. “I am just proud of our kids. There’s a lot of fight and a lot of heart and we’re going to continue to put ourselves in those situations and hopefully come out on the winning side.
“We’ll really look forward to having Quint (Neely) back. Our depth is a tough thing to handle right now. I was really proud of our effort tonight and really feel we can take a big step from this and learn something but it’s not like we didn’t have an opportunity to win.”
Tonight marked the second straight year that FSU fell to Tech in its Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) season opener.
Florida State will look to bounce back on Sunday, January 9, against Miami at 1:00 p.m.