Jan. 23, 2009
Charlottesville, Va. – The No. 22 Florida State women’s basketball team defeated No. 16 Virginia 80-75 Friday night in Charlottesville, Va. and by doing so achieved the first 5-0 start to Atlantic Coast Conference play in program history.
Not only have the Seminoles (17-4, 5-0 ACC) won their first five conference ballgames but they have also now won eight-straight contests and have defeated back-to-back top-25-ranked teams.
Five players scored in double figures against the Cavaliers (15-4, 2-2) in a game that was a seesaw battle from start to finish.
Junior forward Jacinta Monroe continued her torrid pace through conference play as she achieved her fourth-straight double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Senior guard Mara Freshour scored 11 points to go along with three assists and four rebounds.
Alysha Harvin, who missed the second half of FSU’s victory over Georgia Tech after sustaining a mild concussion in that contest, showed no ill signs of her injury against Virginia. The Dania, Fla. finished the game with 14 points despite playing the majority of the second half with four fouls.
Tanae Davis-Cain didn’t miss any time for the Seminoles against Georgia Tech but instead struggled with her shot against the Yellow Jackets and scored just five points. Against the Cavaliers that wasn’t a problem as she scored 16 points before fouling out of the ballgame with under two minutes to play in regulation.
Like Davis-Cain, Ward also fouled out in the final moments of the game but not before leaving a big mark in the box score. Ward finished the evening with a new-career high in points with 18 on 6-for-10 shooting – including a 4-for-5 mark from 3-point range. She also added a game-high five assists.
“I like the balance that we have,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “It makes us difficult to guard, and I think it gives our kids confidence to know that any one of them can step up at any time.”
Florida State unknotted a halftime tie by benefitting from a 21-8 run that built a 59-46 lead with just under 12 minutes left to play in the second.
But the Cavaliers dug their heels in on the defensive end and answered with an 8-0 run to cut the Seminole lead to just 59-54. But Freshour scored six-straight points and Cierra Bravard hit a lay-up to put the Seminoles more comfortably ahead at 67-54 with 7:18 left in regulation.
The good feelings on the FSU bench wouldn’t last for long, however, as Virginia’s Britney Edwards hit a 3-pointer to end FSU’s 8-0 run at the game’s 6:47 mark. Edwards’ triple sparked a 12-0 run by the Cavaliers that whittled the FSU lead to 67-66 with 4:34 to play in the game.
Monroe then put in a missed Angel Gray free throw to push FSU’s lead to 69-66. After baskets by both teams, Ward hit a 3-pointer with 2:42 on the game clock to give the Seminoles a 74-70 lead.
After two free throws by Wright and one more by Cavaliers forward Chelsea Shine moved the score to 74-73, Monroe nailed two free throws of her own with just 20 seconds left to push the FSU advantage to 76-73. Once again Wright answered as her converted lay-up off an offensive rebound on the opposite end put Virginia down just one at 76-75. With just over 10 seconds left.
Freshour then hit two free throws after a foul and Wright’s ensuing 3-pointer was off the mark. Monroe then hit two free throws after another foul and FSU escaped with the 80-75 win and consequent school record.
“It was intense, but we stayed focused,” Monroe said.
The whistle of the referee was a common sound Friday night. In addition to Ward and Davis-Cain, Bravard also fouled out. The Seminoles finished the night with 26 team fouls.
For the game, FSU shot 45.5 percent from the field and 47.6 percent from 3-point range. After several games of poor free-throw shooting, the Seminoles made it count from the charity stripe against Virginia as they finished with a 74.1-percent mark.
All-America candidate Wright finished the game with 24 points for the Cavaliers while Lyndra Littles added 21 and Aisha Mohammed had 15. Virginia shot 38.6 percent from the field, though.
FSU closed out the first period with an 8-3 run and Ward’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer tied the game at 38-38 at the break.
FSU shot 40 percent from the floor in the opening half. Harvin led the Seminoles with 12 in that same period.
Florida State will now return home to face off against yet another ranked opponent as the No. 4/8 Duke Blue Devils come to the Donald L. Tucker Center Jan. 29. Tip-off for that game is set for 7 p.m.