Nov. 13, 2011
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – A three-point basket by Arkansas forward Sarah Watkins with 23 seconds left gave Arkansas a 55-52 lead and handed the No. 13/14-ranked Florida State women’s basketball team its first loss of the season on Sunday during final day action at the WBI Classic.
The Seminoles finished 2-1 at the preseason event held at the Ocean Center. Junior forward Chasity Clayton led FSU with 15 points, while senior post Cierra Bravard scored 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting.
Clayton and Alexa Deluzio were named to the All-Tournament Team along with Watkins, who finished with 15 points and nine boards for the Razorbacks (2-1).
Florida State held Arkansas to just 32.1 percent shooting, but was outrebounded 44-26.
“It really came down to the defensive end,” Seminoles’ head coach Sue Semrau said. “I thought we got the looks we wanted. (Cierra) Bravard went 6-for-7. She played well, but there’s no question it comes down to the defensive end.”
Bravard, who picked up her fourth foul with 4:23 remaining in the game, tied the game 52-52 on a basket with 43 seconds remaining in the game, but Watkins answered with a three at the top of the key to give the Razorbacks a three-point lead.
The Noles tried to find an open three-point look on the ensuing possession, but sophomore point guard Tay’ler Mingo was forced to attempt a layup in the lane where she was stripped of the ball. After a fight for the loose ball, a jump ball was called with two seconds left with the possession arrow pointing towards Florida State.
After one FSU timeout and two Arkansas timeouts, Florida State took the ball out of bounds under its own basket for one last chance. Mingo’s inbounds pass was intercepted by Arkansas’ Calli Berna, however.
The Noles defense clamped down midway through the first half, holding the Razorbacks without a field goal for nearly 11 minutes.
A three-pointer by Lyndsay Harris (10 points) gave Arkansas an 18-10 lead at the 10:50 mark of the first half, but the Razorbacks missed their next nine field goals and didn’t make a another until C’iera Ricketts (13 points) beat the halftime buzzer with layup.
Mingo’s first career three-pointer with eight minutes left in the first half sparked a 12-1 FSU run that gave the Seminoles their first lead, 22-20, on a basket by Deluzio at the 5:00 mark.
With Bravard and sophomore forward Natasha Howard in foul trouble late in the first half, freshman post Kristi Mokube came off the bench to spark the Noles to a 33-28 halftime lead. She scored six points and grabbed three boards in seven minutes before the break.
Florida State now will turn its attention to another SEC opponent, interstate rival, Florida. The Noles face the Gators (1-0) at 5:30 p.m. in Gainesville, Fla., on Thursday.
A bus will take fans to the Florida contest. It will leave from the Tennessee Street Wal-Mart at 2 p.m. Thursday and return after the game at approximately 11 p.m. Fans who want to attend should call 850-514-1793. The cost is $45 and includes travel to and from the game and a boxed meal.
For more information on the Florida State women’s basketball team follow the Seminoles on Twitter at @FSU_WBasketball.