Nov. 25, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – Down by as many as 12 points in the second half, the No. 24-ranked Florida State women’s basketball team fought back to tie the game in the final five minutes versus No. 11/12-ranked Louisville on Friday night at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
The Cardinals’ offensive output was too much in the end, however, as they captured a hard fought 85-76 victory over the Seminoles.
Senior post Cierra Bravard scored a career-best 27 points and FSU shot a season-best 48.2 percent from the field, but made 24 turnovers and allowed Louisville to make 48.4 percent of its field goals.
The Seminoles dropped to 3-3 on the year, while Louisville improved to 5-1.
“Obviously, a loss is never what we want to take,” Florida State head coach Sue Semrau said. “I think during spurts, you saw a pretty good team. Then we’d have a spurt that isn’t who we want to be. It’s early. We have a chance to continue to grow with the tough schedule we’ve put in front of us. We could’ve scheduled a lot lighter and been 6-0 right now, but that wouldn’t have done us any good later on. We fought back, but we didn’t bear down when we had opportunities. Louisville is a great team.”
Florida State began the season playing its first four games away from home and will have played six of its first seven contests against opponents from the “Big Six” conferences after hosting Nebraska at 2 p.m. ET this Sunday.
The Cardinals led by 12 points two minutes into the second half and still were in front by 10 after a layup by freshman guard Bria Smith put Louisville ahead, 66-56, with 7:35 remaining.
Florida State refused to give up on their home floor, though, and got back in the game with a 10-0 run capped by a difficult leaner from junior guard Alexa Deluzio and a three-pointer from sophomore forward Natasha Howard. Howard’s bomb made the score 66-66 with 4:52 left, but Louisville point guard Shoni Schimmel answered with a trey of her own 30 seconds later to give the Cardinals the lead for good.
The Noles came as close as a point, 71-70, with 3:38 left, on a pair free throws from Bravard, who was a perfect 11-of-11 from the line.
Schimmel led Louisville with 25 points and seven assists, while senior forward Monique Reid added 23 points off the bench.
“They’re a great basketball team,” said Deluzio, who finished with 12 points. “We had every opportunity to close that game out. We need to learn how to make those runs and capitalize on their turnovers, get rebounds and score in transition. When we made that run, we needed to nail them, and we didn’t do that.”
In her second career start, sophomore guard Leo Rodriguez dished a career-high seven assists – in the first half alone. She finished with eight helpers and three points, while playing a career-best 25 minutes for the second straight game.
Rodriguez and Deluzio got the Noles’ offense humming to the tune of a season-best 53.3 percent shooting before the break, but Louisville was also red hot in the first half, shooting 52.9 percent.
The Cardinals scored the game’s first seven points and led by as many as 11 points in the first half. Reid was the catalyst, scoring 12 points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 shooting at the charity stripe.
Back-to-back Reid buckets put the Cardinals ahead, 27-16, midway through the first half.
Florida State closed the gap before the break, though. Rodriguez fed Bravard and sophomore Olivia Bresnahan on back-to-back baskets to tie the score, 39-39, with 1:43 remaining before halftime.
Just like it would later in the game, Louisville answered the Seminoles’ run by scoring the first half’s final seven points, including a near buzzer-beater from Schimmel, to take a 46-39 lead into the break.
Bravard finished the game 8-of-12 from the field for her career-best 27-point performance. Howard (13 points) and junior Chasity Clayton (11) also scored in double figures.
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