Nov. 11, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
While it may not have been the crisp game the coaching staff was looking for, at the end of the day, the Florida State women’s basketball team got the result it wanted. The Seminoles jumped out to an early lead and never looked back as they beat North Florida, 75-48, on Sunday (November 11) at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
With the victory, Florida State improved to 2-0 on the year. It’s FSU’s ninth-straight home-opening win. North Florida dropped to 0-1 in its season opener.
“It was a good test in that I thought we were exposed in a lot of ways on things that we need to work on,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “We are getting to know one another, understanding who it is we’re going to play in rotations and we were able to take a look at combinations.”
Notching her first double-double of the season was forward Jacinta Monroe (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) as she dropped in 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Topping all scorers was guard Shante Williams (Jacksonville, Fla.) with 19 points to go along with 13 more from rookie guard Courtney Ward (Montgomery, Ala.).
Right behind Monroe in the rebounding column was sophomore Cayla Moore (Albany, Ga.) as she grabbed a career-high eight boards to help FSU out-rebounded the Ospreys 40-33. Every player on the roster grabbed at least one board. Ward and Mara Freshour (Nashville, Ind.) led the way with three assists while guard Tanae Davis-Cain (Dawson, Ga.) matched a career-high with four steals and Monroe had a pair of blocks.
“The fact that Shante is able to play more minutes – she played 16 on Friday night and 21 today – that’s encouraging that she’s feeling as good as she is,” Semrau added. “As soon as we can get her in game shape I think she’s going to be a factor for us. In the meantime, the kids we have, have to learn to play hard every possession and play together every possession.”
Neither team held onto the ball particularly well as FSU had 20 turnovers to UNF’s 25, but the Seminoles did a better job of taking advantage of the their opportunities with a 29-to-11 advantage in points off turnovers. Florida State was also more accurate from the floor, hitting 28-of-53 (52.8 percent) to 15-of-50 (30.0 percent). The Seminoles were also able to work the ball inside more, holding a 32-to-14 margin in points in the paint.
The Seminoles wasted no time in establishing that they were in control of the game as the hosts got out to a 15-0 lead to start the game. Five different players scored during the run, including five from Ward. North Florida did not score until after the first media time out on a jumper by Willonda Windham to make it a 15-2 contest at the 15:17 mark
A Williams’ three-pointer at the 9:13 mark staked FSU its largest lead of the half at 25-8. To the Osprey’s credit, they did not back down and even went on a 6-0 run over the next two minutes to slice the lead to 11 (25-14). Florida State would bump the margin back up by a few points, but UNF would reduce it to 10 (35-25) with 3:38 left in the stanza. The Seminoles would take the momentum back going into the locker room as they went on a 6-0 run, including four points from Williams in the final 30 seconds, to take a 41-25 lead at the half.
Florida Stated took advantage of numerous North Florida miscues to the tune of 18 points off Osprey turnovers. The Seminoles also held a 58.6 percent (17-of-29) to 31.8 percent (7-of-22) lead in field goal percentage. FSU also won the battle inside with an 18 to four margin in points in the paint. One place where North Florida made up some ground was the free throw line where it 9-of-12 compared to 3-of-8 for the Seminoles.
Leading the way in double figures was Williams as she scored 10. Davis-Cain was next at eight and Ward added seven. No player had more than two boards, but nine of the 10 players had at least one. Freshour and Ward dished out two assists and Monroe added a pair of blocks.
Taking the steam it had picked up from the end of the first half, FSU built on its lead very quickly in the second half and erased any thoughts of a North Florida comeback. The lead got to 20 (49-29) on a Ward lay-up before the Ospreys would make a run to get the margin back to 14 (53-49). However, the Seminoles regrouped and put the game away with the lead never going below 20 for the last 8:54 of the game and growing to as many as 30 (73-43) on a Williams’ lay-up.
Florida State is back on the road for its next two games as it travels to the DePaul Invitational. FSU takes on No. 25 DePaul Friday at 8 p.m. (EST). The game can be heard live on 1270 AM and at www.semioles.com.